How do you stop caring so much? ...T.T ...

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    Jan 31, 2009 3:55 PM GMT

    Earlier tonight, while I was in the middle of my KFC dinner, melancholy joined me in my table. I couldn't wait to go home and check my RJ mail as I've been getting more lengthy messages than usual, and I love it! You know I don't pay so much attention to the serious topics here. Only this time, due to the glacial pace of the forums, I decided to explore other subjects. Now I find myself reaching out to some incredibly brave individuals here who wrote with the sincerity of their hearts at the risk of getting flamed, judged or ridiculed.

    What saddens me is the thought of where or who do they confide to in the absence of the internet at any given time? And then when I realize I'm spending so much time nurturing e-friendships online, is it all worth it? Which then reminded me of an old thread I created last year, re: Is it worth pursuing "friendships" online if you're not gonna meet in person in your lifetime? http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/238062/

    I just feel sad that some of the most amazing people I connected to are just so far away. Yet, I am grateful for having "met" them virtually. I don't even understand why I bother so much. I huge part of me wanted to just remain anonymous when I re-joined. But apparently, anonimity doesn't quite agree with me, as many of you were correct in guessing who I was before I "outed" myself. How do you stop caring so much?

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    Jan 31, 2009 4:01 PM GMT


    ZiMsTeR said, "How do you stop caring so much?"

    You don't, or at least, we both hope not! One of those huge little things worth lovin' about you, kid!


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    Feb 01, 2009 12:00 AM GMT
    Zim

    I have a friend I met online in 1996. We have kept in touch all these years, although we've still never met in person. But we've talked on the phone, exchanged emails, and chatted by IM and video chat.

    He and I are very like minded. I've enjoyed many good stories, many laughs, and some sad moments that we were able to share.

    When I think about it, it seems strange that we've never met because I feel like I know him so well and talk with him so often. I almost have to remind myself that we've still never seen each other in person.

    Ask me if I think pursuing this friendship was "worth it".
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    Feb 01, 2009 12:07 AM GMT
    there is a fine line between what you need and what you want...

    I've met some brilliant people in my short life... I've met people that have totally blown me away and have left me utterly speechless... both online and off.. even to this day, the feelings I have towards them are the same, I feel both honored and shocked that they would have the heart and patience to call me a friend and it is the best thing in the world that I too can call these people my friends..

    online or off, we can not stop our selfs from feeling for people and just because a computer can sit in the way of a friendly smile or a loving hug does not mean those feelings are any less..

    we as humans have a need to connect with people, to find out place of being, where we can find and feel loved and wanted.. we find that with friends.
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    Feb 01, 2009 1:15 AM GMT
    Zimmy

    Some of us are geographically isolated and some isolated by choice. What to do but celebrate the fact that you don't have to be isolated, don't choose to be, and aren't likely to be.

    Thankfully you feel to much and not too little.

    HRF
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    Feb 01, 2009 1:20 AM GMT
    ZiMsTeR said
    How do you stop caring so much?


    I've been asking myself the same question.

    I am not a social person. I pride myself on my lack of emotions. My ideal day involves little or no interaction with people. I tell myself I'm better off not being dependent on others for happiness.

    I come home from work and spend a few hours on Real Jock. I'm not sure why. I'm not a frequent poster and it only takes a few minutes to read the new articles RJ has posted. But for some reason I'm fascinated by the forum and its regulars. I refresh the home page every few minutes looking for the names of my favorite posters.

    In December, Sedative posted something about leaving RJ. Along with iguanasf and Surreallife, he is one of the reasons I love reading the forums. I e-mailed Sed to let him know I hoped he would stick around. We exchanged some e-mails and he introduced me to some other people and before I knew it I was chatting late one night with you. (I didn't tell you at the time, but I was excited, entertained, and down right terrified that night. Interaction with strangers can induce anxiety attacks. )

    So six weeks later, here I am:

    - worried about your poor eating habits and your aversion to doctors, concerned you are selling yourself short for a bucket of chicken,

    - saddened that Sedative, one of the most impressive people I've ever "met", seems to have self-esteem issues,

    - thinking of bwg77, someone I haven't had any contact with whatsoever, every time I hear Pink's song, Sober, and hoping he's okay because of what he posted here,

    - disturbed by the paternal (or is it maternal?) instinct brought out in me by the way some people treat terra22. I don't know him, why do I want to protect him???

    I ask myself, why should I feel this way? Then again, why shouldn't I? I just think I'm better off for having gotten to know the people I have on this site. Doesn't that make it worth it?

    I'll probably regret sharing this much personal info in the morning. I just wish I could blame it on being drunk.
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    Feb 01, 2009 1:58 AM GMT



    Wow, madtown, do you ever have some great qualities, especially the way you're looking at your personal opening of doors and describing the experience. Thanks!
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Feb 01, 2009 3:00 PM GMT
    The day I stop caring is the day I no longer have any reason for being alive.

    One of my best friends I met online a few years back. She lives in New Zealand, and we've yet to meet in person. We will someday, I'm sure, but whether or not we do doesn't change or lessen our great relationship. I was the first person she told she was pregnant and she knows things about me that no one else does.

    It's human nature to care for others we feel close to, and just because we've never been in physical contact with some of these people doesn't mean it's so easy for us to walk away without a thought.

    Is it worth it, you ask. Of course it is. Any friendship is worth it when you've made that special connection with someone.
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    Feb 01, 2009 3:16 PM GMT
    I move about so much that it's great having friends who are not physically present. If you see what I mean. On another board I have a few good friends who I have known for about 5 years! Bizarre but true. Hopefully there will be a few guys I click with on here
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Feb 01, 2009 4:04 PM GMT
    Well I think it can be a challenge not to care.

    But I think with online friendships, you have to be realistic as well. I've been really fortunate with some of those I have met online (and here on RJ as well). But always prudent to go in with your eyes open. I've had a couple of experiences that aren't so sweet and you wonder, "why"?

    Many here who I have had the opportunity to know, I have expanded that
    by phone conversations and certainly hope to meet as many as possible in person.... but as with Zim, who lives half a world away... will there ever be anything other than cyber? You never know.....
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    Feb 01, 2009 4:39 PM GMT
    Your meaning of life and friendship and etc. is an inner battle of social values and and your own. Some people can totally, utterly ignore society's values. Some people can ignore there own. For everyone else in between there is a struggle between the two. The victor cannot be certain.

    Online friendship is one of those things. Some parts of society will say they are totally emotionless, lacking, and will destroy the society's ability to communicate in real life. These people might also be called Bill O'Reilly and the like, but you get the point.

    Maybe its moving around a lot or just being gay that provides me independence on this but I'm in the same boat as some of you guys. I know people online who I've never met before. I see nothing wrong with it. Especially in this gay community where all of us are across the United States, some of us in conservative communities where being outed has serious consequences.

    So I think we should all be happy to have this opportunity. We, as a real-jock community, shouldn't be sad and stop caring. At the least we should be content to be here and relating to each other our experiences and doubts.
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    Feb 01, 2009 4:43 PM GMT

    Coming from an era where all we had was hand-crank adding machines, the public mail system, the telephone where half the calls had to be dialled - yep DIALLED, not keyed - by an operator, this ability to instantly connect with people you'd never have a hope in hell of meeting otherwise is a wonderful and powerful thing.
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    Feb 01, 2009 11:19 PM GMT
    I think the problem is that those who care for others are also those who can actually say they love others. But our society today seems to be lacking tremendously these individuals. Hence the reason our world is so fucked up. I think when people stop putting themselves on such a high pedestal of self-delusionment will we be that much better. It's sad that the only times people come together for a cause is when something terrible has happened.

    So how do you stop caring so much? Well you don't, for the moment you stop caring the more disaster you will let pass before coming to the aid of another soul.
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    Feb 01, 2009 11:29 PM GMT
    Remember, there is only so much you can do...

    There is a difference between caring for someone and empathizing with someone... and spending your life trying to help others who are potentially thousands of miles away from you. Online "counseling" is hard to do.. and takes a lot of time.

    You can't save everyone... care for them, yes. Pity them, yes. Help them out to a certain point, yes. But not to the point where it discourages you.

    You come first.
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    Feb 02, 2009 1:19 AM GMT
    I have met some great people online of all ages. The first guy I ever befriended online I helped out with safer sex advice, relationship advice, or just to cheer him up. He is now happily involved with a guy and he has not been online for 7 months. Am I hurt that he has not contacted me? Not at all. I feel I have been a positive influence in his life, and to me that is all that matters. If he contacts me a year from now, five years from now, or never, I will always feel he is a friend.
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    Feb 02, 2009 1:20 AM GMT
    Shoot yourself in the foot. That will distract you and you wont care so much.
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    Feb 02, 2009 2:17 AM GMT

    SurrealLife said, "Am I hurt that he has not contacted me? Not at all. I feel I have been a positive influence in his life, and to me that is all that matters. If he contacts me a year from now, five years from now, or never, I will always feel he is a friend."

    and this reminds both Bill and I of an expression we've heard,

    "Friends are like stars; you don't always see them but you know they're still there."