The world essentially boils down to an internet platform. Relationships between even family members now widely take place on the internet due to the "busy-bee" lifestyles we all follow and the simplicity of online communication.
Nevertheless, when we consider going to coffee with a friend or commencing a serious relationship with someone, our first choice would never be a "virtual buddy". So, what's the issue?
The Brain Plays A Role in Rejection
Speaking from personal experience, I have never really been comfortable with the idea of meeting people over the internet due to the obvious possibilities of fraudulent identities and unexposed intentions. However, I have recently started developing an "open-mind" about the subject.
The internet is a an infinite universe. There are people in this virtual world with diverse interests, backgrounds, stories, motives, goals and characters. If you know where to look, you will probably meet individuals who can significantly add to your education, general knowledge and intellectual opinions.
What comes as a surprise is that I understand all of the advantages of internet based relationships and I truly do keep an open mind when dealing with my "virtual friends" but still, when I was asked about one of these friends earlier on today, I spontaneously answered "Oh, that person is just a name to me, I have no idea whether I would recognize them in reality". My brains' quick reaction to the question ignited multiple queries about my acceptance of virtual buddies!
Overcoming Our Natural Tendencies
Can we ever truly fully accept and equally love our virtual friends? Should we continue to discriminate against them merely because we are not physically present in the same place?
I know most of my virtual friends on a somewhat personal level. We communicate at times, more than "real" friends and we share secrets, thoughts, goals and interests, but still I found myself discriminating...Worry overtakes my emotions when I think of meeting a virtual friend in reality...Although, I'm not quite sure what exactly it is that scares me.
To sum up, I think we are witnessing a world so overwhelmed by electronic communications and virtual relationships. Thus, maintaining our natural tendencies of building a world of barriers between ourselves and virtual buddies will only result in a universe built on pillars of distrust, doubt and too much individualism. The sooner we demolish these emotionally-driven barriers, the faster our world will integrate.