Social Media and Real Life Friends:
Introduction of The Story:
How many people find themselves having more social media friends then in face to face real life friends?
I find this one rather interesting myself. I’ll raise my hand lol. I think that the hardest question to explain or answer is “How many friends do you have”. That would be easy, right? 😉 MANY!
However then you find yourself thinking about the question and ask a question back, “Do you mean friends I actually see or do you mean friends in general?” Now that throws a monkey wrench into the original question! But many times that question does not get asked and the buck stops at the response of “many”.
Never fails, if you did ask a do you mean…” question back, there is a long pause for thinking time of how to respond to that. Normally the response back goes something along the lines of, “Um, well friends that you actually do things with. Spend time with.”
Oh wait then, that answer of many just drastically changed!
I have noticed that when your life includes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) (a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event), the “how many friends do you have” question becomes a difficult twist of how to answer. “Well I have many people I communicate with through social media, but I don’t see ‘friends’ very often, I really don’t have any friends anymore since my PTSD. People just don’t come around anymore really.”
What if it were a medical professional asking this question, then left it with your original answer of “many friends”? Their first reaction, rather they say it or not, will probably be “oh that is great you are doing really good then.” It becomes kind of twisted thing again, doesn’t it?
I am actually bringing this up because I have had many come to me and complain on how their doctor put it in a medical report that they have many friends and good social standing when actually they rarely see anyone. If that fits your situation, the example above is probably why. 😉
Social Media Friends and Examples:
Social media becomes your outlet for friends over the physical outings or get together. Your mind starts recognizing those you communicate with as your friends, even people you have never met face to face. And trust me, social media does build some strong friendships rather you have met the person or not.
Craig and I are great examples of that! I mean look at how many of YOU I (or he) private message with, some on a regular basis. Look at mine and Craig’s “friendship” with Jeff and Shannon of PTSD And Me… that’s a great example!! We have all 4 become “friends” through social media, we have talked on the phone, video chatted. We message each other… but as of today… the 4 of us have never met face to face. But we feel like we have known each other forever and value our “friendship”! It Is a real friendship, but as of right now it’s not a physically social one. We have never met, we don’t get together, we don’t even live near each other.
Kind of puts a huge “why” to why many professionals get the wrong appearance of what your social circle really is.
It’s happened to us! We have seen reports and wondered why a doctor could write that, and it caused an upset feeling because they are not in our shoes, they are not here to see everyday life and what it is like. But in reality, many times it goes back to mixing up the view of how the word friends is defined or what another person considers as friends.
Real Life Friends:
People who live life with PTSD don’t have as many “face to face” friends in most cases. It’s not your fault, it’s not other people’s faults, it’s just what happens when PTSD is a part of life. You don’t go out as much, to area social gatherings, many times having people over is not easy, or others understanding your situation is not easy and it just simply gets to the point where your life doesn’t fit well with theirs. Many times people might want to drop by for a visit, but it may be a time when PTSD can just simply not handle it. There’s really no one to blame for it, it’s just what can or does come with PTSD.
I thought about it, if there were a report written today, just for example purposes, and it stated Craig has good social skills (and I’m not throwing Craig under the bus here), I would be highly upset. I had to really think to use this as an example lol. 😉 We did have a neighbor stop this past week to talk to Craig for just a few minutes when he saw Craig out at the mailbox, besides that, the last time we had face to face friends get together with us was JULY! When my old high school buddy came to visit us. This is November! It’s not that a few have not offered to come by, it was just the timing with PTSD was not good for it.
“Timing with PTSD was not good for it”, that says a lot doesn’t it? So many get so upset at lost friendships, people not understanding, friends walking away, etc. I learned a long time ago to stop being mad at people for their reactions. Yes, it’s upsetting at times, that’s only human! But in reality it’s just NO ONE’s fault. It’s what happens when PTSD is a part of real life (for many people).
So, back to the professional questions… Many will also be asked questions such as “How many people could you confide in before PTSD?” Then “How many now?” Those questions right there come with huge reasons and insight. Yet again, doesn’t “friends” and social media come into play? Sure does! Many with PTSD or those who live beside PTSD find themselves being able to “talk”, actually chat, with others that have the same things in common. People on pages, in groups or support groups, etc. Again, there comes a twist… real face to face vs social media.
It’s very difficult to face reality of what PTSD causes, especially when it comes to friendships. Social media makes it easier to cope with! There is no other way to say it! You do form friendships and bonds with other people through social media, why wouldn’t you? You have things in common therefore understand each other!
I find even myself mentioning things at times referring to something so and so said/posted or we “talked” about, at times it brings additional conversation between Craig and I, and the realization that others go through the same things we do, it brings a sense of normal.
One day my daughter said to me, “Mom, I have never seen [name] who is she? How do you know her?” Boy lol, that made me stop and think. It made me realize that I view this person as a very close friend actually, someone I can honestly confide in with my deepest thoughts and conversation, but you know what? She doesn’t even live in this same country!
I have never met her face to face! It shows how social media does become a very real part of our lives. I had to think on how to answer my daughter. I told her that this lady’s husband and dad both have PTSD, so it’s easy for her and I to talk to each other and I do consider her my friend even though I have never met her. Of course I had to back that with keeping my daughter’s age in mind with “But you do not need to be talking to strangers on the inter net at your age…”
Well, luckily she took that well lol. Her response, “Mom I’m glad you have so many people you can talk to… will we ever meet her?” Darling I sure hope so!! 🙂 My daughter’s thing now when she hears a name of someone she has never seen is, “Mom, is that one of your Angels?” Yes darling, it sure is! A friend that is a friend but I have not met. 😉
But when it comes to facing the reality questions of how many friends you have, you have to stop and think. Who is asking the question and the reason the question is being asked. Be honest with a full answer… “This is how many face to face friends I have and this is how many social media friends I have that I have not physically met.” 😉
Wording your answers fully and separating “types” of friends can help the professionals get a better understanding of your everyday true life without confusion or misunderstandings. It also helps show that it’s not that you don’t want friends, or that you don’t try to make new friends, but the situation may be where social media is your way of communicating with others when PTSD at times can’t manage the face to face interaction and socializing.
Just something to think about. 😉
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