Sometimes it seems that SL relationships are easier than RL and other times having meaningful friendships is so much harder than when you can look someone in the eye, listen to the inflection in their voice...really really see them. I rely so much on the visual cues. Does the person look away when I talk? Are they fidgety? Do they look uncomfortable? Are they smiling? Gawd I miss those cues in SL so much.
I have noticed a trend and I wonder if it is something other people have noticed too. It is so easy to tp away, hide your feelings, log out or pretend to crash when things are uncomfortable. And because we can hide often people do. I will admit that I am guilty of this for sure. Sometimes rather than talk about the issue at hand people get all passive aggressive on their blog, or plurk or twitter or whatever. I make a point of not doing this although there have been times when I may possibly have in a round about way.....never mind. Moving on.
While I am no fan of conflict it certainly exists even in the most perfect relationships. Believe me I have tried many methods of dealing with conflict and most of them don't work for me. Letting the hurt or anger fester gives me ulcers and it destroys relationships. However difficult, I think talking directly, openly and honestly is the way to go. We all know this and yet it is hard as hell to do, no?
I started out by saying I miss body language in SL but now that I think about it maybe the lack of non-verbal cues is a good thing -- stay with me a second on this one, ok?
In RL I might glance at someone or a use a gesture as a form of communication. But those non verbal cues can be easily misinterpreted or missed entirely. So, I may think I have communicated a feeling but the other person may not have a clue as to my meaning. I have been known to get angry with people for not understanding feelings I believe I have communicated non-verbally. My husband calls this a "set up" and he may be right. After all, it is unfair to expect another person to know what you are feeling unless you tell them. Even if you give them the hairy eyeball across the room and couple that with an Olympic gold medal quality hair toss.
So one advantage SL has for me is I can't pretend my glances or gestures or silences are packed with meaning. Since we don't have easy, natural body language I can't engage in the "set up."
In both worlds if we want to resolve conflicts with people we have to talk. We have to dig deep, listen to our own inner voices, find the words and say them. Don't tp away, don't hide and please for the love of puppies and rainbows don't bitch about it on your blog or on plurk. Express yourself. Talk. Please.