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Cyber Feelings

October 20, 2007

Have you ever gotten your feelings hurt by someone and tried to rationalize it?  If someone who you interact with on-line hurts your feelings, never fear!  I have a great way for you to rationalize it.  Your “cyber feelings” got hurt, not your true feelings.

If you spend a lot of time on-line trying to stay in the good graces of more than 50 people on a discussion board or blog, you are setting yourself up.  I know this from personal experience.  What I learned was to invest less in these on-line relationships.  That does not mean that my on-line friends are not important, but I think it does mean that I must re-think how much to “count on” someone understanding my point of view or being sympathetic with me.  If someone chooses to disrespect me, I’m going to get through it and the people that I interact with in my home are ultimately who I need to understand me.  If my on-line friends don’t “get” me, that’s okay.  That kind of situation shouldn’t cause me to sob hopelessly, racked by self-doubt.  I don’t need to impress them and they don’t need to impress me.  If we have some memorable interactions we will be better for it, but if we constantly misinterpret each other and emotions run high, I know I can step away.

On Duh’s blog I think some people have this down to an art form.  Funny tag lines at the end of each post allow us to separate ourselves just a little from our on-line selves.  Honestly, who would shout “Hookers!” or “Fuckers!” or “Cunts!” after saying something in real life?  I think that is just a part of on-line interactions–you have to learn not to take yourself so seriously.  Is this art imitating life?  Did I already learn this in the kindergarten sandbox (shake it off) and just need to be reminded?  In my quest for authenticity and honesty, I forgot my sense of humor and sense of perspective.

I’ve recently visited a site where the owner has completely disclosed who she is, but she keeps her distance from the critical public (she has been running this blog for a couple of years and she and her husband are stay-at-home parents because of the income from the webpage) by joking about her parenting style based on the harsh comments she receives.  For example, if she writes about her daughter using chapstick, inevitably someone writes her an email expressing concern about the possibility that her daughter doesn’t know how to correctly use chapstick and might eat the tube of it.  In a later post, she might reference that criticism in a sarcastic way, demonstrating that the critic wasn’t able to hurt her true feelings with his comments.  It’s not like she needs to take the unsolicited advice to heart.  She’s able to separate herself just enough to continue to make a living by writing frankly about her life and choosing to ignore the haters.  The site is for those who are interested.

If my husband doesn’t understand me I have to remedy that, but if someone on-line doesn’t understand me, it’s not quite as imperative.  I can choose to move on, click away, get over it.  Once I decided to separate my feelings in this way, I submitted my definition of cyber feelings to Urban Dictionary.  They have accepted my definition, so I thought I’d share the good news.

  1. Robert Hester permalink
    October 21, 2007 11:03 pm

    Hey Sarah! I have some catching up to do but just wanted to say what a beautiful website this is! Maybe I should switch mine to wordpress. I really like it!! Miss you, I’ll email more soon.


  2. October 22, 2007 9:38 am

    Hey Robert, using wordpress is so much fun. I don’t know anything about google’s blogging interface so I can’t compare them, but I’ve only been blogging for 2 weeks and I haven’t had a single problem. I highly recommend wordpress. Anyway, thanks a lot for commenting here and inflating my cyber ego. 😆 I miss you too.

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