If one was to use social media, not only could they see what their ‘friends’ have been doing; they could also see what certain celebrities have been doing. What this comes down to is that their news feed is going to be filled with updates from people they now and from people they don’t know.
However, even though this is the case, it doesn’t mean that one will also see it this way. Instead, they feel as close to their ‘friends’ as they do to the celebrities that they are following.
One of the primary differences here is that one is more likely to hear from their ‘friends’ than they are from celebrities. For example, if one was to leave a comment on something a ‘friend’ has shared, there is a strong chance that they will get a reply.
Whereas if they were to leave a comment on something that a celebrity has shared, it is highly unlikely that they will get a response. Now, this is not to say that they are not exceptions, but this is going to be what generally takes place.
It might then be hard for someone to understand how one can feel close to someone who doesn’t even talk to them. What this comes down to is that it is not always necessary for one to know someone in order to feel as though they know them.
The only thing they may need is to find out about someone’s life, and through doing this, they can end up feeling close to them. In the past, one could have this experience as a result of seeing a celebrity on TV, seeing them in a magazine and or meeting them in person.
Nowadays, the only thing they need to do is to use social media and this is because it is easy for a celebrity to share their life online. One can then read about what they have to say and they can see what they have been doing through looking at their pictures; they may even get the chance to see them in videos.
Through being exposed to what they share, they can feel as though they have a relationship with them. One can then come to believe that the relationships they have with these celebrities are as important as the relationships that they have with their ‘friends’.
However, regardless of how close one might feel to a celebrity, it could be said that the relationships that they have with their ‘friends’ online are going to be more important. This comes down to the fact that they should know them and as they know them, they should hear back from them.
To receive a message or a comment from one of their ‘friends’ is likely to be far more fulfilling than if they were just to leave a comment on a celebrities status and not hear back, for instance. Also, if they are ‘friends’ with the person that they are talking to, they are likely to know who they are.
On one hand, the kind of relationship one has with a celebrity is not going to be real, and on the other hand, the idea that they have of them might not match up with who they are. So although they can feel as though they know them, this could be nothing more than an illusion.
Therefore, although this kind of relationship might make them feel good, for instance, it is not going to be enough replace the kind of interactions that they would have with their ‘friends’. It could be said that this is pretty obvious, but what is not as obvious is how the kind of connection one has with their ‘friends’ online is also not a replacement for real life relationships.
When this happens, one could find that their primary relationships are with people that they talk to online. These could be people they know form the real world and at the same time, they could be people who they have not even met before.
This is not to say that they won’t have people in the real world who they talk to, but what it can mean is that the kind of relationships they do have are not very fulfilling. They could find that they don’t open up to them and that they only talk about trivial matters.
A lot of time and attention is then going to be going towards the people that they talk to online and while they may talk to these people without opening up, this might not be the case. They could find that they talk about what has been going on in their life and how they feel about certain things.
In this sense, they are opening up about their feelings and it could then be said that they are being intimate with their online ‘friends’. But regardless of what they say, they are still behind a screen and as a result of this; they are not going to be experiencing true intimacy.
When one is with another person and they open up about what is going on in their life and about how they feel, they are going to have the chance to experience intimacy. They will be in the other person’s presence and through being in their presence; they are likely to feel better.
Along with this, they will be able to experience eye contact and human touch, and this is going to be far fulfilling that it would be if they were stuck behind a screen. What this comes down to is that human beings are interdependent; they need other people to survive and thrive.
It can feel a lot safer being behind a screen, but what it won’t allow one to do is to fulfil their need to connect to another people. So if one is in this position, it is going to be important for them to spend less time taking to their ‘friends’ on social media and more time talking to people in the real world.
This is not to say that one needs to do this by themselves, as it might be necessary for them to reach out for support. They might need to learn about relationships and it may be important for them to work with a therapist; it can all depend on their circumstances.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.