Technology has drastically changed society. The internet and social media has been a huge part of these changes. You meet people online who have similar interests or who deal with the same issues, lupus in my case. Communicating with them day after day and week after week, you start to care for these people you may never meet. You learn to trust one another and share your struggles and feelings.
Despite the bond you develop with these “virtual” friends, when they experience a life crisis, you can’t be by their side or help them in a tangible way. You do your best, by sending e-mail, texting, or calling. They in turn reach out by sending you an up-to-the minute play-by-play of what is occurring. But there is a huge disconnect. Does sending a virtual hug provide the same comfort a real one would?
I have a type “A” personality. If there is a problem, I jump into solve-it mode. But that is not a reality in this virtual world and that frustrates me. What can I really contribute to help their situation? Nothing? I may be 100% invested in my virtual friend’s life, but I have 0% ability to be a “real” friend.
What are the rules and guidelines for maintaining these virtual relationships? I wish someone would tell me. Until then, I will do my best to let them know I care. Caring may be the best comfort I can offer to any friend, virtual or otherwise.
Mission Accomplished: Caring for all my friends, the best way I can.