Merriam-Webster defines relationships as “an emotional attachment between individuals” . Let me ask you a question, dear reader, does that definition say anything about the locations of the individuals? No? Well, lets try another one, shall we? The Oxford Dictionary defines this phenomenon as “The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Again, no mention of location or anything of the like. Now, at this point you may be asking yourself: “Why is this girl going off about the various definitions of the term relationship? I think I know what the definition of one simple word is.” Well, dear reader, there is one reason I am bringing this up, and that reason is this: relationships online.
Let me back up for a second. When you think of relationships, what do you think of? And I’m not just talking about the types of relationships that involve dating, I’m talking about any and all relationships. Friendships, dating, siblings even, all of those categories have their own relationship aspects. When I think of these, I think of people being in the same place interacting with each other, keywords on IN THE SAME PLACE! In today’s culture thought, people being in the same place sometimes isn’t possible, which is where online relationships come into play.
There is one relationship that I think relies on online interaction more than others, and that relationship is Long Distance Relationships, or as I like to call them: LDR. Now, this is a relationship that I actually partake in; my boyfriend Quinn goes to law school in Chicago while I’m currently finishing up my college career in the great state of Nebraska. That makes the distance between us 470 miles, making us being in the same location at any given time not exactly a likely occurrence. Due to this, online aspects (such as Facebook, Skype, and iMessage) are kind of the only way our relationship works nine out of twelve months of the year.
Speaking from experience, there are some positives and negatives when it comes to online aspects of relationships. In terms of the positives, one of them is that it allows you to feel like you are gaining insight into their day to day life through such online sights as Twitter and Facebook. Another is that it gives you another ability to communicate with them outside of simply texting or talking on the phone (specifically referring to Skype here).
Now, like in most situations, where there are positives, there most likely have to be negatives, and online relationships are no exception. The main issue with online interaction, in my opinion, is how easy it is for people to misconstrue what you mean. Let me explain what I mean: Take the simple text “K”. Now, this example is thrown around a lot, seeing as it can mean a variety of things, as illustrated by this picture.
This example may be more humorous than anything else, but the point still stands. Over text and other forms of online communication, what you say and what you actually mean can be interpreted wrong since the person you are talking to can’t see your face or hear the tone of your voice when you speak. This could potentially pose a problem when it comes to interpreting what the message itself means.
Overall, I think that online aspects are a good way of keeping a relationship going if distance plays a factor, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that you rely on. If online aspects are the only thing you use to keep your relationship going, you’re probably going to run into problems more often than not.