There’s one advantage to having mostly online friends, and it’s one that nobody ever talks about. They demand less from you.
Sure, you emotionally support them, comfort them after a breakup, maybe even talk them out of a suicide. But knowing someone in meatspace adds a whole long list of annoying demands. Wasting your whole afternoon helping them fix their computer. Going to funerals with them. Toting them around in your car every day after theirs gets repossessed by the bank. Having them show up unannounced when you were just settling in to watch the Dirty Jobs marathon on the Discovery channel, then mentioning how hungry they are until you finally give them half your sandwich.
You have so much more control in Instant Messenger, or on a forum, or in World of Warcraft. The problem is you are hard-wired by evolution to need to do things for people. Everybody for the last five thousand years seemed to realize this and then we suddenly forgot it in the last few decades. We get suicidal teens and scramble to teach them self-esteem. Well, unfortunately, self-esteem and the ability to like yourself only come after you’ve done something that makes you likable.
You can’t bullshit yourself. If I think Todd over here is worthless for sitting in his room all day, drinking Pabst and playing video games one-handed because he’s masturbating with the other one, what will I think of myself if I do the same thing?
You want to break out of that black tar pit of self hatred? Brush the black hair out of your eyes, step away from the computer and buy a nice gift for someone you loathe. Send a card to your worst enemy. Make dinner for your mum or dad. Or just do something simple, with a tangible result. Go clean the leaves out of the gutter. Grow a damn plant.
It ain’t rocket science; you are a social animal and thus you are born with little happiness hormones that are released into your bloodstream when you see a physical benefit to your actions. Think about all those teenagers in their dark rooms, glued to their PC’s, turning every life problem into ridiculous melodrama. Why do they make those cuts on their arms? It’s because making the pain-and subsequent healing-tangible releases endorphins they don’t get otherwise. It’s pain, but at least it’s real.
That form of stress relief via mild discomfort used to be part of our daily lives, viz our routine of hunting gazelles and gathering berries and climbing rocks and fighting bears. No more. This is why office jobs make so many of us miserable; we don’t get any physical, tangible result from our work. But do construction out in the hot sun for two months, and for the rest of your life you can drive past a certain house and say, “Holy shit, I built that.” Maybe that’s why mass shootings are more common in offices than construction sites.
It’s the kind of physical, dirt-under-your-nails satisfaction that you can only get by turning off the computer, going outdoors and re-connecting wiht the real world. That feeling, that “I built that” or “I grew that” or “I fed that guy” or “I made these pants” feeling, can’t be matched by anything the internet has to offer.
Except, you know, this website.
Article taken from Cracked. I love that site.