Thursday, March 11, 2010

Honesty and friendship

This week a blogpost has started a minor plurk meme. The idea, in case you're too lazy to follow links, is that every day for a week you share a truth about yourself.

Now there has been all sorts of debate and drama and to-ing and fro-ing about the motives behind the idea but I'm not going to get into that. I'll leave it to the llamas. But for what it is worth, I like the idea. I am enjoying reading what people decide to share each day.

Myself, I haven't participated. I might, but haven't yet. The reason for this post though is my whole thought process and stuff after hearing about the challenge. It is stuff that's been on my mind this week. So where better to spurt forth drivel than here, eh?

For various reasons I don't share much about my RL self, either on here, inworld, or in plurk. Some stuff I do, on plurk at least, but nothing of great significance. Superficial nothingness really. Yes, I have two kittens. Yes, I work at a desk making pretty tables and charts. Yes, I am married, English, live in New Zealand and play football a bit.

But I wondered to myself, if I did participate in the great honesty challenge, what would I share? The fact I like banana icecream, or that I am left-handed, or that I once broke a finger catching a ball? Hardly life-changing revelations are they? But anything deeper than that I struggle to feel comfortable sharing.

So then that led me to wonder, if I don't actually share anything about my RL self, can I really claim to have friends here? Sure, I have acquaintances. Plenty of those. Plurk is ripe with pretty ladies and nice blokes and it is a real joy to pass my working day with them. But friends? Like real friends? I don't know.

After I had been inworld a little while I drew myself a line. I knew I needed one. This line would be the line I would not cross with RL information. Basically I wanted to ensure that my SL self was so divorced from my RL self that I would be untraceable. Should I ever encounter someone with malevolent intentions I wanted to ensure I could not be found.

However, I now realise that this line, rather than giving me the freedom that was its intent, has actually enslaved me. I cannot open up and develop true friendships because I cannot let people through my monitor and into the part of my life that isn't pixellated. Sure, you get snapshots. You get to look through the keyhole as I bare my dazzlingly dry sense of humour and rapier-wit. (Oh and my tongue-in-cheek attitude to most stuff, including faux arrogance and indignation. Plurk friends will know what I mean.) But you don't see me. You don't know me. In so many ways I regret that. I regret that the line was necessary. Or at least is necessary now. I have done things that I cannot risk coming to light in RL. I think it is kinda obvious what I mean. If you have been reading for the blog for a while you should be able to pick up what I mean.

But through all of this there are bright spots. There are a few that have crossed the boundary. A small few. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people that I am comfortable enough with to entrust with significant aspects of my RL. And I wouldn't need all the fingers to count them. But they are there. They know who they are. Some people do know me and I am so very glad I have let them into my life. It just took time.


  1. I'm flattered that you like me in IceCream.

    I hear what youre saying. I have a line. Its big and bold. However, I let people past it, every now and again. People have to earn certain info... like knowing my fave ice-cream. That stuff doesnt just get blurted out willy-nilly...

  2. nice post, Marnix. I understand how you feel. Sometimes you think of how perfect these friends are, how good they are at being there when you need them, how good they are at understanding your needs and help you feel better, just like 'normal' RL friends would be. But then the conclusion is... they don't know you anyway because they don't know WHO you are. Are RL details really important at some stage? I'd say yes. It depends on your own perspective and interpretation of SL. Some people say SL doesn't need RL info at all, 'cause that would be considered as cheating. They just don't know how good it feels to show your true self to someone, while still being able to play the game the same way you did before.
    And 'things that may come to light in RL', they 're a risk, i know, but it's worth taking it once you really trust the person. Just keep yourself away from psychos, lol.

    (and yes Banana, WTF is your fave ice-cream? it's driving me crazy. How come I don't know ittttttt)

  3. I can't believe you never told me that you're left handed.

    I thought we were friends! *weeps*


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