All my life, I had tried reaching out for friendship, throwing my hand out there on the internet and in real life. Each time, I was either stabbed, hit, and bitten in the hand that I offered. I was really starting to believe that there was either something wrong with me or that the world had nothing to offer but mean people. :-(

So... I had attempted one LAST time to reach out and it was on EP. I stood on the edge of darkness and extended a hand, closed my eyes tight, and hoped like hell that I didn't lose fingers! :-o 

And then, the most amazing thing happened... Hands grabbed mine! And attached to the hands were kind people, with smiles, and support! OMG! I was so shocked and I began typing wildly back to these people, my heart racing! I just was beside myself... someone had actually took the time to read my stories? And they understood them? And they wanted to be my friend??? WOW!

It was the first time in my life that people were nice and kind to me. And even now, I still giggle over it and have moments of amazement. :-D

So to me, internet friends are VERY real to me. I don't believe that a person on the other side of a computer is an robot. Even though it's text mostly and hardly a face or voice (unless I see them on Skype, then it's both a face and voice!), I know that there are real emotions there... a real person, living a real life. And no one can tell me any different! =p

My therapist tries to... She says the term "EP" as if it's some fake place and not important. And she sees my internet friends as temporary people, for me to bide my time on. WHAT??? She also says that I need "real friends" soon, ones I can see and talk to off the computer. I had tried to explain about my "real friends" I had off the net... they mainly didn't care about me and took me into dangerous places, where I was almost shot, because they thought hanging in bad neighborhoods was cool. Yes... these were adults, btw... :-/

So, I think I finally shut her up, by explaining that my two closest friends may be visiting me soon, in 2009. And I admit it, I sort of had a smirk of, "real enough for you?" on my face. XD

But whatever... I know my friends are real. And I'm real too! So now I'd like to stand by that edge of darkness, from the EP side, and wait for others to reach out... and when they do, they'll get my hand this time and my smile, letting them know that they're not alone! :-)

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10 Responses Dec 19, 2008

Hi shadow, thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I have often felt that way, having come across some really awful people in my life who took advantage of me and never returned my friendship. <br />
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I do want to say though that even though you have a wonderful support community online, I think it may give you the confidence to attract better people to you as friends in the "real world". I know your ep friends are real as mine are and I wouldn't trade them for anything. It took me a long time to force myself to meet people other than online after being burned many times, but I have connected with a few people and am going to make an effort to keep the friendships, because sometimes you need someone to come to your home and give you a hug or laugh over a cup of coffee. Please don't take this the wrong way, I just think that since you made some wonderful friends here, your confidence and self esteem shows so maybe you will find a few people who will return the friendship you warmly extended.

You are right. I'll tell you that I used to be quite the skeptic regarding the internet as a social medium. I had always used it for work, but now I see a change in my beliefs. I feel that now more than ever mankind is closer and more unified because of it. I regularly maintain friendships with people I would of never otherwise met because they live in far away lands. A pessimist would ridicule and reject, an opportunist would talke full advantage of this. Have a nice day..<br />

Great great story! Put a smile on my face.

ok<br />

I know how you feel though because I was told the same thing.<br />
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Just as long as you know that I understand that's just where you are with social stuff atm, and I wasn't trying to say anything negative. <br />
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And don't forget, I'm socially stupid too.;)

I'm not real though, I am a robot?! <BR><BR>I just figured that out, so be careful. LOL<BR><BR>The sad thing is that I understand where both you and your therapist stand.<BR><BR>Your situation is idea, and I mean that your friends may come to see you is what makes it ideal, and let's face it we're gonna pry you outta there for the anime convention. >:) <BR><BR>But, before I came to EP I played FFXI, and met some people on there. I wanted to stay, talk to them, play with them, and whatever. The thing is, I wanted to STAY in that world and never come out, and I had no real chance of meeting these people. <BR><BR>I did and do consider those people real friends, but the fact is that I couldn't live my life by relying on that filter. It depressed me, and was a big cause as to why I didn't want to leave my house for a while. <BR><BR>I figured through that experience, we as humans must touch*cough*(momo), see, hear*cough*(shadow), taste, and smell all parts of life to be happy. I mean we need it, just as much as we need food, to be healthy. That is impossible through the filter that the net puts in front of you. <BR><BR>This just the way I feel about it.(no imposing beliefs here)

Hi Shadow28,<br />
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I've only just joined this site but I've loved what I've seen so far. I think it's fabulous that people can find community and acceptance - even if it is anonymously. Of course the people who type the comments and posts are 'real people'!. <br />
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The sentiments and ex<x>pressions of concern and care come from real people who read what you say and who empathise with you.<br />
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Okay - maybe it's not ideal to relate to people online instead of face to face, but let's 'face' it (excuse the pun!), sometimes it's good to have the option to back away if things get a bit 'hairy' and 'scary'. That's hard to do if you have a real live face to face relationship.<br />
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Maybe the internet is a good place where you can develop more confidence - so that when you're ready, you'll be better able to relate to people in 'real life'. All the best Shadow28!

I agree Shadow. I think you are awesome! So glad to know you : )

EP people were there for me when I reached out in my darkness, not knowing who to talk with, how to deal with my emotions. I had both public and private messages within minutes, offering help, offering advice, offering their experience... offering friendship! I know what you mean!

What a beautiful story! I don't mind reading long *** posts when they're done this well :) And the conclusion sums it all up perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing!