Remote vs. IRL Friends

Food for Thought

Perhaps you notice this too. Some friendships work better online than they do in person. And, it’s true the other way also. So, since the pandemic, my friend-set has changed. In fact, some people are so fun in person that chatting with them online is depressing and frustrating; I’d rather not communicate with them online. I have not communicated with some of them for seven months.

One example of an online-only friend is someone who smells bad but is interesting. Since body odor cannot be transmitted over TCP/IP, it becomes a non-issue. Suddenly he is your best friend.

Another example is someone who talks nonstop and constantly interrupts you. Because they cannot stop you from typing and hitting the enter key, they became great listeners overnight.

As a matter of fact, I have a question for those of you who love to interrupt; Do you find it frustrating that you cannot interrupt me? Do you wish that there was a button that would stop me from typing as soon as you see those three dots blinking? I think my wife and daughter do. I’m not judging; I’m just wondering. So, feel safe to answer my question.

The friends with lackluster performance online are usually very charming in person. They have je ne sais quoi, which does not translate over text because what triggers the allure is not what they are saying, but something you cannot point your finger to, like how they look at you, the tone of their voice, or the way they move, or even their scent.

Interestingly, I think they know this, at least subconsciously. These charming people have never been a big fan of social media even before the pandemic because they can see that their magic is not working on Facebook. Some of them do OK on video-based social media like TikTok, but they are still frustrated because they cannot get visual feedback. A large number of Likes doesn’t cut it because they are used to seeing people getting mesmerized by their charm.

Maybe you noticed from my tone, but I actually feel good about this. Finally, they know what it’s like to have no charm.