This week’s prompt is about strangers and it got me thinking about how you can get to know someone online, when you can’t hear their intonation, nuances and subtleties and it’s easy to miss context.
Sure, you can tell a lot about a person from a message – their use of language and vocabulary, how they spell or abbreviate, whether they send big long passages in one blurt or split it out like sentences, whether they use emoticons. Over time and/or with enough messages, you can learn their level of snark or sarcasm, and recognise whether they’re tired or in a bad mood.
And that idle wondering led me to ask when the messaging with FLG turned from us circling around each other flirtatiously for fun, to something with more serious intention.
Looking back there’s a couple of late nights, normally with one or other of us drunk, trying to work life stuff out. The other person was just there for company. For me, I think that’s when I realised there was a stronger connection and wanted to know him more. And because I’m me, that’s when I suggested we meet up and get to know each other better face to face.
Had we just messaged and never met, I think it would have tailed off. I think we’d have had fun for a while but without physical contact, it wouldn’t be sustainable in its current form and we’d end up as friends (no bad thing at all), occasionally messaging. Meeting him in person stopped him from being a stranger. That first lunch, he changed from being an abstract online entity to a real person.
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