Recently after some unwanted excitement on a dog forum I'm on I've been doing a lot of thinking about the computer relationships that I have with groups or individuals. In the past I've been a member to up to four dog forums at one time. The first one I was on was about three years ago when I met Julie at Vom Banach and was purchasing a pup from her. She invited me on to this forum where the owner lives in the Netherlands. Cool!! And interesting and international place to chat with other like minded people right? Wrong!!
Within a couple weeks on that forum I started to see patterns in people's behavior. It seemed simple enough to me that this was, in fact, these people's personalities. I was caught off guard at some of the bluntness and down right mean-ness I was witnessing. I felt bad for these people's families!! :( I also noticed something about my own behavior. I was being more blunt to these strangers than I normally would have been. I didn't put much though into it at the time but now I realize I was falling into the "its-ok-to-be-blunt or rude-because-you-are-not-in front-of-these-anonymous-people" trap. Another thing to complicate the entire forum board is that we are talking about a group of dog breeders/trainers/owners. That right there should sent up red flags to the general population, my opinion is that most hard core dog people are a bit 'off'. Ha ha. So the forums are basically anonymous groups of very passionate/opinionated dog nuts. Just the kind of thing most sane people would avoid. But not me.
I've learned a lot about people in this process and also learned some about myself. Some of it not very flattering some of it good. I've learned that I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt more than I should...and then again I also like that part of my personality because I find sometimes giving that person a little "leash" is the correct thing to do. At least if I find out I'm wrong I can still feel OK because I feel good knowing I gave the person a chance. I've also learned that, while I give most people the benifit of the doubt, that I can, on occasion, make harsh snap judgements about others. I don't know why that is...just some people clash so much with my own personality that it's hard not to sometimes. The worst part is that because of the bluntness that goes on on forums is that I've been called out for some of my behavior publicly. In reality my 'behavior' was not terrible, but yes sometimes rude and uncalled for. Another thing is that because of a few posts people make judgments about you that are not true at all, but gosh to they stick!! I'm also guilty of this to a degree. The sad thing is that I know that even my worst opinion of some of these people, in the back of my mind I still save room for the idea that I don't really know them and they probably are not like this in real life, or at least I hope they are not.
There are very few people I've ever known in my entire life that I have a bad opinion of that I do not save room for the possibility that I might have them pegged wrong.
So the question stands: Who Am I and Who Are You? The internet is not the place to decide either of those. I cannot convey the whole of who I am to anyone on the intertnet. Their are far too many variables. Same thing goes for 'You" out there. I cannot find out who you really are as a person. Too many variables. Too many egos. Too many bad days, too many off days, too much venting, too much taken the wrong way, too much trying to kiss butt, too much attempting to be a different "you", too much trying to be the authentic "you" but people don't believe it. Just plain too much.
I prefer real relationships with people. I have my best friend Julie, my very good friend Gisela and others too. These people I regularly see in person or speak with on the phone. They know who I am in real life, not the unreal life of the internet.