Social Question

Zen_Again's avatar

Is talking about your pain or feelings online the same as talking about them to someone in real life? Why might the internet replace talking in person or why not?

Asked by Zen_Again (9901points) April 19th, 2010

When you’re down, and troubled, and you… oops, didn’t meant to break into that old song…

In the Poison Tree, Blake writes about talking about your emotions – getting things off your chest – especially when angry with a friend. But does is feel the same, and have the same emotional release when it’s here in fluther? Know what I mean?

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23 Answers

slick44's avatar

Not the same, but it still helps.

MissAnthrope's avatar

In my experience, yes. The only difference is that when talking online, I can’t be hugged by the person, but it’s just as cathartic and useful as talking to someone in person.

Haleth's avatar

It can feel the same if you build a close relationship with someone online. Trying to talk to the whole forum about feelings is nowhere near the same. Your friend will always support you, but people online are just as likely to misunderstand or chastise you if you ask for advice. You can find support and understanding online, but there are also plenty of people who will make you feel bad.

Your_Majesty's avatar

May I ask what ‘irl’ means? Could it be ‘irrelevant’? I don’t find what it means in any dictionary.Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

To answer the original question then I’ll say that it will depend on the people that you ask your question. If that is the right and really understandable plus a compassionate person the yes,it’ll be better than online communication. But sometime when people around you aren’t good problem solver then online friend could replace them. We naturally feel even more safe and relax if we talk to ‘real’ person. One or two Internet words are always good but not as good as the ‘real’ people.

Mariah's avatar

Honestly? Depending on who I’m discussing it with, it can be more fulfilling to talk about it online. Because IRL, unless I’m very comfortable with the person I’m talking to (and I can only think of two people who would qualify), I get flustered and red and start stuttering and I don’t get my point across well. And I don’t feel completely fulfilled by that because I don’t feel that I’ve explained myself thoroughly. At least online I can say exactly what I want to say and get everything off my chest.

Vunessuh's avatar

I can talk about my feelings rather openly (depending on what they are and who I’m speaking with) online about the same as I can express them to someone in person. However, when it comes to expressing pain, I find that I can emotionally release more with someone in person. I find myself more reserved and held back when talking about painful topics to someone online or over the phone. It may be because I am frightened of the judgment or what they think of me and what I’m saying at that particular moment in time. I can’t see the expression on their face or read any body language. All I have is text or a voice so I become paranoid and start filling my head with ideas that it’s a possibility that they aren’t accepting or don’t understand why I’m hurting. When I’m physically in the same room with someone, I can visually see certain responses from them regarding certain things I’m saying and it’s more comforting that way than to be totally clueless to how someone is reacting when I can’t see them. Although, I may just be expressing my own insecurities. It’s just easier to open up and let my guard down about serious, painful topics when I’m speaking with someone in person.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Talking to friends one to one whether in person or electronically can be of equal quality and value. Some of us live far from any old friends and may have been making new friendships with those we have met online. I have no illusion that everyone who reads what I type on fluther are my friends. I know a few people hear see me as a person and like the person they continue to get to know here. I certainly can think of people who I value and like based on our interaction here.

I appreciate people’s interest in the problems and concerns of others and their efforts to be empathetic and helpful to those others. That certainly lays the groundwork for friendship.

Talking to people in a one to many situation (like fluther) is different from one to one exchanges. Receiving responses in such a setting helps the individual discern who respects and cares about them and whose information is meant to be helpful and supportive.

I hope everyone is enjoying today. It’s my birthday.

Zen_Again's avatar

Keep ‘em coming. Thanks for the answers. @Doctor_D you probably now realize that irl or IRL means in real life – the mods didn’t like the textspeak either.


Edit: Happy Birthday Dr. L!!! Yom huledet sameach.

JLeslie's avatar

When my friends and family are tired of me I can still tell people on line. Cheaper than paying a shrink. LOL. It’s another place to vent and rant. Plus, I find on fluther people make me think about the situation in a different way sometimes. Many times friends want to be supportive by agreeing, and family might hit some buttons that can be upsetting, but fluther friends fill a slightly different role.

jeanmay's avatar

There is definitely something to be said for discussing things online, even if you don’t have online ‘friends’. As a relative newbie on Fluther, for example, I can still find support on the important things happening in my life right now. If I don’t seek support directly by beginning a new thread or responding to one, I have often found comfort in old threads too. Just by browsing and reading old threads I have answered certain questions I might have had, or discovered jellies expressing anxieties or feelings that match my own. This is greatly beneficial to my state of mind; just to know that there are other like-minded folk out there, with problems, ideas and thoughts just like mine.

In certain specific situations though, I don’t think the internet can replace face to face communication. There are often problems that concern a good friend or acquaintance that simply cannot be resolved without direct communication with that person. Of course, you can always use the internet as a sounding board first before you confront the problem in real life.

anartist's avatar

Whether or not it has the same release, it is far more indiscreet. You are not confiding in one person, or even several people, you are potentially confiding in the whole internet. And, unlike a conversation, it leaves a record of what you have said.

Trillian's avatar

Well, aside from the obvious lack of face to face that one gets irl, one also lacks the validation of a hug. This is simulated with ((())), and the sentiment is there, but lack of physical contact is a minus.
There is a release which is important and a validation but I think that ultimately complete closure requires human contact.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I like this! @JLeslie

…on fluther people make me think about the situation in a different way sometimes. Many times friends want to be supportive by agreeing, and family might hit some buttons that can be upsetting, but fluther friends fill a slightly different role.”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No,it doesn’t.It is so much better to talk to someone in person,or at least on the phone.The internet can never replace face to face interaction.

Coloma's avatar


Besides, I already know the answer to any question of a personal nature, soooo, I just take my own advice. lol

Pandora's avatar

Last I checked everyone on here is still a real live person except for maybe one or two. The only difference is that in talking with someone you physically personally know, they may actually have a better idea of how to deal with your problem because they truly know you and your situation.
However, the internet may provide a person with and unbiased opinion because they may not be personally involved with the person. Also you get to ask, many more people vise maybe asking only one, and you have a larger range in age in which to seek some comfort.

escapedone7's avatar

Not at all. I need the human connection I feel when I can actually be in the room with someone, look them in the eye, and be present in that moment together.

Sophief's avatar

It helps me. People will say it doesn’t help and to speak to a ‘human’, but all they do is piss me off annoy me. I feel Fluther is much more better, with better people. I’ve had more support for my problems here than I have anywhere else.

JeffVader's avatar

I think talking online can help to a degree. However I also believe it has its pitfalls. I think people can come to rely the endless stream of opinions as emotional sustenance, & consequently avoid tackling their real issues. In person it is far easier to understand peoples emotions, & to communicate effectively without misunderstandings creeping in.

JLeslie's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Glad you liked it. Thanks for saying so.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t think the sense of release is exactly the same, but both methods are legit, if it helps.

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