What do I look like? Do you have any clue? Ever seen a picture of me, seen me on webcam, or cruised through the pics on my Facebook or MySpace pages? If you only know me from this blog it’s possible you have no idea what I look like.
That’s one of the pitfalls and joys of this cyber life we live. The internet lets us shrink the planet and have “friends” all over the world. But unless you can afford to drive cross-country or take a plane somewhere, what are the odds of actually meeting these people?
Don’t get me wrong. I love my internet friends. I could see most of the contiguous 48 states and at least three other countries if I took a road trip to find and meet them all. It would be one helluva fun trip. But, alas, it’s not very feasible for me to travel to meet everyone. At least not all at once.
So how do you know who you’re talking to? The truth of it is, you don’t. I could be anything at all on my side of this screen. Short, tall, blonde, bald, warted, purple, anorexic, 600 pounds, tattooed, pale, color blind, prosthetic leg, brunette, pudgy, male…. Do you get the point? It’s hard to know someone without meeting them in person.
That brings the next question: how do you build trust over the internet? It takes time, yes. And lots of conversations. Not just emails, but conversations on a messenger site or in a chat room. You have to ask a lot of questions and give a lot of answers. I call it 20 Questions even though I usually ask more like 100 or so. But I do afford most people the benefit of the doubt that they are going to answer honestly.
I’ve said before that you can ask me anything. But you have to be willing to answer the same questions yourself. That means you have to be sure you’re ready to answer before you ask me. I’ve been called The Queen of Brutally Honest. It’s true. I want to know how people tick and how they make decisions and why they do some of the things they do. I won’t ask you a question I’m not willing to answer. Chances are that I’ve already asked myself the question so I can find out what my answer will be.
Just for the record I am female, short, overweight like most of the nation, brunette, hazel eyes, with some tan left from this past summer. If you ask me I’ll tell you that I’m happily divorced, looking to meet new friends, hoping to find a new relationship of the romantic variety.
If we’ve talked online more than a couple of times then I have at least interest in you as a friend, possibly more. By the time we’ve talked a few times each week for a month, I would hope we would be starting to know each other better and have a certain amount of trust between us. Maybe we’ve traded pictures of each other, a major feat if you have some of my pics.
After 2 or 3 months we should be pretty good friends. Trust should be automatic. Even online. I have made a few romantic connections on the internet, met in person. The few I met a second time are now good friends. I think it is possible to find a partner online and to have a healthy relationship. But it takes a lot of communication on both sides of the screen.
At the very least be trusting enough after a month or so of conversation to tell me your last name. I’m not a stalker. To be honest, I don’t have the time to be a stalker even if I was so inclined. I think it would be much more fun to get to know you, plan a meeting for coffee maybe.
So the last question for now: how much do you trust me?