Stop referring to it as “in real life”. Or: Yes, I want to see pictures of your lunch.

I’d sincerely like for people to stop referring to the “offline” world as “real life”. For me, both online and offline worlds are “real life”.

I know there are people who say things like, “No one care what you had for lunch. Stop posting pictures from it.” But I do. I do in the same way that I enjoy when my friends in the offline tell me, “I had the BEST meal yesterday…” and proceed to describe it. I care because I care about my friends.

And, yes, I do consider the people I know online to be my friends. Not everyone, of course, in the same way that you do not consider every person you know face-to-face a friend. But I have a several friends who I have known online for over a decade and have watched their pets grow old and die, children grow up, jobs change, move across the country or, even, across the world, marriages flourish… or not, and have even, sadly, watched from afar as people I cherished passed away – and I’ve missed their voices.

One friend, I met in junior high/high school online and then, because we lived nearish to each other, we became friends in person. I’m still her friend even though she’s lived all over the world.

Another friend, I find myself texting quite a bit – I met her online and sincerely hope to meet her in person – but even if I don’t, I feel like we’re close. I care about her struggles, about the things that make her happy.

I’ve also known people in the offline world who’ve moved to being mainly online friends. Two of my best friends from school grew up and moved away. We’ve kept in touch online.

So, please believe me when I say that, yes, I want all the pictures, all the updates, all the “shares”. I want to hear that you’re doing well. I want to hear that you’re happy. (Conversely, I want to hear when you’re not. I want to whole package, not just the happy stuff.)  I want to hear about – or even see – that fantastic meal you had this morning or the fabulous cake you made. I want the pictures of your kids, the ones of your cats, your dog, your spouse, your food, your vacation, your life.

Please DO share.

Because I want it.

I want it all.

This was all inspired by a post from tumblr that I found on Facebook via a friend from back-in-the-day on LiveJournal. If I could find the original post, I’d share it.

4 thoughts on “Stop referring to it as “in real life”. Or: Yes, I want to see pictures of your lunch.

  1. ashleigh825

    Good post. I use the term IRL (or in real life) a lot just because it’s widely used and people know exactly what I’m talking about when I use the phrase, but I definitely agree that online friends are just as important as offline ones. Sometimes I feel like my online friends care about me more than my offline ones do. I’ve had many online friends for years now and have gone through a lot with some of them so it makes me angry when people (particularly my parents and other older relatives who didn’t grow up with the Internet) tell me to go out and interact more with “real people.”

    Last I checked, we were all real people. Just because I can’t reach out and touch them, that doesn’t make them ‘not real.’ What an ignorant mindset to have.

    Reply
    1. Misa Knight Post author

      I have to admit that I, too, sometimes use “in real life” – I’m trying to excise it from my vocabulary, though. It’s what we all have always used, so it’s hard.

      Reply
  2. Cyn

    I tend to use IRL to distinguish my other life from my online gaming life. Friends are friends no matter where they are though. One of my oldest and dearest friends I have known for almost 21 years. We met face to face for the first time just 4 years ago. I have had more trust and faith in him than many local friends because we have had to work through so much to keep our friendship strong. We cannot just argue and then hope we’ll bump into one another one day and fix things over coffee. We have to really talk and work things out to keep our friendship strong and vibrant.
    During my pregnancy & infant losses my strongest and best source of support were friends I met online and a few of them continue contact with after many years. I hope to visit a few of them.
    I tend to believe online friends can be closer and truer friends than local because locally it is easy to be distracted by things and places without ever really having a proper conversation. Online there isn’t that distraction. There is just connection. I love my local friends, but friends who have never shared my space are often my dearest. And my very best friend on this planet lives a few hours from me. The distance has created such strength between us because we have to really communicate and make effort.

    Reply

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