Finally meeting in real life; the disappointment will be palpable
December 11, 2013 5:10 AM Subscribe
There are several people I've been chatting to online for various periods of time, who I'm likely to meet on my next journey around the USA. In the case of a few, they are asking to meet up. Nothing romantic and more than friendship with any, though the level of friendship differs; in some cases it's quite strong or complex. Problem is, the prospect of finally meeting IRL repeatedly terrifies me to the point of making me feel ill. Is this kind of feeling normal or common, or not? How can I subdue it and not make myself hide, literally?
posted by Wordshore to Human Relations (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Trying to look at it rationally, the fear is that:
- I come over as different from my online persona. While I can write in e.g. Facebook chats like the devil on fire, in real life, am usually much quieter, wondering what to talk about that the person sitting or standing opposite will find interesting. Problem is, many minutes can pass while I think of something, by which time they've often wandered off.
- I look a bit distractingly ferocious in real life. 6' 3'', a bit heavy, startling beard and long hair, a weird combination of nerd and viking god. I can and do frighten children and small animals in the street just by walking past them.
- I'm sometimes okay in a one-to-one meeting. However, if there's a group of people it shuts down for me if I want to chat with one person, as I become extremely conscious of the other people and cannot focus on the one.
- Concerned I'll be found out as boring, dull and uninteresting in real life conversation and meeting, and then the online friendship and chats with that person afterwards will dry up or stop, and I'll wish I'd kept it to online only.
I've used alcohol previously as a, dunno, feel-at-ease-in-a-group situation, but completely gave up alcohol earlier this year for several reasons, and that's probably going to be a life thing.
As an example of all this, a few years ago someone I'd been chatting to online on and off for a long time was in the same airport as me; discovered this through their tweets. Suddenly absolutely terrified, I had a bit of a panic attack and stayed in the restroom until my flight was called so as not to bump into them. Then lied some time later and said "Gosh, wow, we were in the airport at the same time, what a coincidence, a shame we didn't meet. Next time!" While quietly kicking myself for bottling out and hiding and not meeting that person.
I'd rather not have that failure again. Side-point: because of a few things I am on for physical stuff, I don't want to take yet more meds for this, if meds seem appropriate.