Do We Still Need Human Contact? 

I remember a good while back Tim aka Thatcham Dad wrote this post asking. Who needs real friends when you have online ones?

Then today I got involved in a Twitter discussion about the loneliness of being a stay at home Mum and was it the same for stay at home Dad’s.

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It got me thinking. I’m certainly not lonely as a SAHD and Carer. I’ve always been happy with my own company. With the exception of school runs, popping to the shops and the “Well” Irish people say as a form of greeting to passers by I’m quite happy at home with the kids. As and when required, Birthday Parties, Christenings, Weddings etc I’m well able to mingle making small talk and pretending to be the social butterfly that I’m not, for a limited amount of time. Then I use the have to get home to the kids and leave.

Social Media is a different story. I have a few followers I interact with almost daily, many others that I chat to every now and then and many, many others that I have water cooler conversations with when they tweet something interesting or they respond to a tweet of mine.

The teen spends most of his time alone in his room. When we mention he should be out there meeting the lads he says I’ve loads of friends on Snapchat.

A long time ago when I was a young adult I did what my friends did, went out and got drunk. I’ve talked about my feelings on alcohol before. I’m not comfortable in large social settings, so I end up drinking quickly and drinking way more than I should. This has the effect of making me slightly more sociable than I’d ordinarily be, but obviously leaves the after effects the next day. I’m also someone who can’t say no. So when shots are offered I’ll end up drinking it. When I say I’m leaving and people say “Ah go on have one more!” I stay for another and another and another!

We are constantly told, humans are sociable,we need human contact and other people. Being honest I don’t. The internet was just in it’s infancy back then. There was no Twitter, Facebook even the mighty Google was only a small player compared to the likes of AOL and Yahoo. There were chatrooms, full of horny men looking for sex. Never my thing.  Then there was MSN for instant chatting.

I bumbled through the next 15 or so years. Going to the pub to be sociable with work colleagues. Being a call centre shift worker there was always someone finishing their shift and stopping in for a quick pint. I was there to drink with them all.

These weren’t deep friendships though. We didn’t go to BBQ’s at each other’s houses, no invites to weddings or Christenings. I wouldn’t have gone anyway.

Fast forward to now. Mrs OMG says I’m anti social. She has been out a few times with her friends and I’m happy to stay home with the kids.

The difference now is I have Twitter. A world of friends. Always someone there no matter the time of day or night. I class people in Jersey, Australia, The USA, Malta and many other countries as friends. They probably know more about me than my neighbours!

But am I setting a bad example for my children? Should I have a group of friends? A photography club? Tennis, cookery or anyone of a dozen other things I have an interest in?

There have been conversations about attending a blogging conference or just a blogger meet up. Deep down I’m not sure I want to do this. Am I strange for wanting to keep my online friends online?

Is this all an effect of my abandonment and adoption? Do I not want to meet these people I call my friends as that then means there is a duty to keep in touch?

I really don’t know. As for the teen. He’s not in his room the whole time. He has friends on his hurling team and from school. Perhaps he’s like me and doesn’t need the company of others, or perhaps he does but is afraid of getting hurt like he was when his father walked out.

What do you think? Do we need offline friends?


photo credit: MTSOfan My Beach Comber via photopin (license)

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