Aloha Friday: Online Versus Offline Socialization
This week, NHL had swim lessons. Usually, we all go and I play with JSL while NHL learns how to swim. This time, though, NHL’s Hebrew school had an open house at the same time. So we divided the chores. B went to the open house, JSL went to stay with B’s parents and I went with NHL to his swim class.
While watching NHL go in and out of the pool, I looked around me. I was surrounded by parents of kids around NHL’s age. This was my peer group. I always complain of not having any offline friends to hang out with, so why not make some friends here?
Yet, there I sat. I was tweeting effortlessly with people online, but offline I barely managed a two sentence small-talk with someone who I overheard was sending his child to the same child care center that NHL went to.
I had a similar experience in BlogHer. There were plenty of decent conversations that I engaged in, but when I was outside of my comfort zone, I just sat there and kept quiet. I wanted to join in the conversations, but it was like my brain froze up and could offer nothing to converse about.
At least partially as a result of the bullying I suffered through, I’ve always struggled with face-to-face communications. I’ll be paralyzed in fear that something I say will be completely wrong, inappropriate, unfunny, etc. I’ve worked hard to suppress and surmount that fear, but parts of it will always be with me. It’s just one of the ways that bullying has made me weaker, not stronger.
Meanwhile, the Internet has been a godsend. By removing the face-to-face aspect, I become a much more confident and social individual. If I send out a tweet and realize it was a bad joke, I shrug my shoulders and send out another tweet.
My Aloha Friday question for today is: Do you find that you are much more social online than offline?
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.