Virtual or IRL: Why Online Friendships Matter (And Are Mostly Better)

Remember the Internet in the early 90s, when the sound of dial-up haunted your dreams? For those who don’t remember what dial-up is and why the Internet was a fucked-up place to be at that time, consider yourselves lucky. You didn’t have to wait for hours, unable to use the phone, while your sister chats someone up online. You didn’t have to worry if the Nigerian prince you’re talking to is a fraud or if the little girl sending you pictures is actually a middle-aged FBI agent. You didn’t have to face the dreaded “a/s/l” question every time you go online. You didn’t have to….*breaks down*

I don’t think anyone in my age group would argue that the Internet was a scary place back then and people you met online were not to be trusted. It was no place for an impressionable teenager, and you can’t possibly foment lasting relationships through it.

But a lot has changed in the last two decades.

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The Little Things That Make You Happy

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things.”

~Robert Brault

I’m a big Calvin and Hobbes fan, and I think Bill Waterson–the man who brought to life the ADHD kid and his stuffed tiger–is a freaking genius. I’ve read every strip and collection I could get my hands on, and I think that everyone else should read it too since it reminds us to indulge our inner child once in a while and be more like Calvin, a little kid content to play with his stuffed tiger all afternoon because that’s what makes him happy. Can we say the same thing about how we go about our lives?

Life is in the details. Your whole existence shouldn’t revolve around the goal you’ve set for yourself somewhere in the distant future. As another author opined, “small gestures can mean so much more than one grand display of love. Simple pleasures throughout the day can be far more gratifying than one amazing weekend. When you connect the dots between all these little joys, life seems fuller and more satisfying.”

With this in mind, I asked the people around me what made them happy–and not the grand things like giving birth or world peace, but the small things like seeing a dog play with a ball or a kid running around without a care in the world. Below are just some of the answers I got. And yes, there are a lot since I couldn’t possibly filter what makes other people (and, perhaps, you) happy. If you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to put it in the comments or contact me here.

Here we go.

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Mamihlapinatapai: The Look of Unspoken, Shared Desire

While I’m typing away on my laptop, two people are sitting together right in front of me and they are obviously in love with each other. Everything about them says that they should be way more than friends, but here’s the catch: it’s also obvious that neither of them have told the other person how they feel. It’s all there. So what words can you use to describe this phenomenon?

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Of Gods and Men: A Discussion over Coffee

If you’ve read the post before this, which is this one, then you know that I met a really pretty and engaging girl at the coffee house. Also, you’d have a pretty clear idea of how big an idiot I was for forgetting to ask her for her name and number. Believe me, I know.

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned in that previous post, that girl and I talked for hours, and one of the things we talked about at length was the main premise of the books that we were reading at the time–Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for me, and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series for her.

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Of Kisses and Hugs: How Appropriate is PDA?

So I was at a coffee shop today. Three guesses as to which coffee shop I was in. Here’s a clue:

Anyway, I brought a book to the coffee shop because the idea was to kill time. In case you’re wondering, the book was Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It’s a good book, based on topics which I plan to discuss in some other post.

Going back to the point, there was this guy seated to my right. He only had a plastic cup of water on the table in front of him. The water in the disposable plastic cup has reached room temperature and the cup itself was covered in sweat, which meant that he’s been there a while. What he’s waiting for became apparent when a girl walked into the coffee shop, ran right up to the guy, and gave him a five-second kiss on the lips.

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