Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On the Internet, No One Knows You're a Dog

I run into this problem frequently. Doing software development work at my job, I'm practically required to be at the computer 8 hours a day. That being said, the only way to talk to my friends is through chat programs, text messages or email. Being someone with an overactive imagination, my friends overtime seem to develop their own 'online identity' in my mind.

Have you ever noticed that? Your friend Mike can be thought of one way, but MikeIsCool55 seems to take on his own identity completely separate from his reality. Maybe the concepts discussed online are different than the ones in person, maybe the lack of body language and inflection creates a course separate identity, maybe I'm actually talking to someone else!

Regardless of what causes it, it creates a problem. The problem mainly being that over time the real person often becomes a subset of the online fantasy. So when you do then see the person face-to-face, the illusion is shattered.

This happened to me just a few days ago. I talk to one of my friends everyday online. Going to see her in person at her job, it was like the mask came off. Now, whenever I think about talking to her online all I can picture is the reality... and it bothers me. I liked the fantasy better.

Has anyone else experienced this? Any thoughts or solutions?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bird's Eye View

Often times I feel like I get sucked into a low level view of my life. It becomes a struggle to just 'get through the next day' or 'knock this task off the check list'. The bigger forest is lost from inside the trees.

This most often occurs when I spend a large amount of time talking to one person. Like a movie goer, I get sucked into their plot line and start to see life from their perspective. Often I can even become addicted to their point of view, like I want to suck every last thought out so I can map out their entire perspective and then see the world through their eyes.

In some cases I imagine this could be a good thing. If the person is positive and optimistic, it can pull me out of funk. If they are creative, passionate or motivated, it can inspire me to charge forward. In the cases when the person is negative and cynical, it can be disastrous. I start to spiral around in their negative thought pattern, seeing each task as an unbeatable challenge and crumbling further and further under the weight.

Only when I break myself away from the individual do I start to regain focus and perspective.

Often I quip about needing new friends or wanting to restart my life somewhere else. While I am mainly just joking, there is a kernel of truth in those thoughts. I seem to be effected to a large degree by the people that surround me, seemingly more than others. So going forward I need to take stock of who I surround myself with and choose with care.

Do you see these same patterns? What have you done to beat them?