A Window into the Soul?

SeleenaK_2011-10-21-14.38.17I expressed disappointment to a close friend about the online behavior of a someone I would soon be meeting at an in-person event.  “But he’s really a nice person.  You’ll see when you meet him” she said.

Without having met him, I already know how wrong her observation is.  When we’re out in public, we’re on our best behavior.  For almost everyone, it’s something that’s easy to do for a relatively short period of time.  We’re in the “make a good impression” mindset.  We can guess at how long a time we’ll spend in the presence of others and therefore know how long we’ll have to “be nice”.  We get mentally prepared.

But we rarely get mentally prepared for the time we spend online.  We’re online doing email, chatting and posting when we’re happy, sad, wide awake, very sleepy, feeling great, feeling bad, and when we’re comfortably unprepared.  And these varying states of mind allow the real “us” to appear.

Nice people shine and not-so-nice people are exposed.  Me included.

So don’t give me any of that “it’s hard to know what someone is like without hearing their voice inflections and seeing their body language” nonsense.

Read the words and watch for repetitive behaviors.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, your feeling will be correct.  And you need to be able to write off the one percent because my imperfect theory had probably kept you safe .. physically and emotionally.

Trust your eyes and your brain.  Rationalizing and wishful thinking will get you in trouble.  And we, in the transgender world, are often the most susceptible;  the most needy of attention and affection.

It’s often been said that they eyes,  the heart, or the smile is a window into the soul.  But I believe it’s really that plastic, electronics-filled box in front of you.

The online personality you see in there is a window into a person’s soul.

10 thoughts on “A Window into the Soul?”

  1. Well said Seleena, I will even add that believing that one can only judge the character of a person face to face is not only naive but extremely dangerous. If someone does or write something that makes you wonder if they are truly as nice as they appear to be, why take the chance to meet them in person and realize that your intuition was not only right but more at risk than you originally perceived. I say when it come to meet someone from online, ALWAYS be safe and trust your inner voice.

    Liz love all.

    1. maybe that’s my shortcoming Liz. My inner voice “hears” things more clearly via cumulative written communication.

      But taken to the extreme, it’s easy to be blind-sided by a monster in an intimate social setting but through online dialog over a relatively short period of time, that monster can’t remain stealth.

  2. Hi Seleena,
    I think there is another side to this. There is nothing like talking to a person face to face to enable each of the people in the discussion to get a better feel for the nature of the other party. It is said that ones eyes are a window to our souls. When having a written correspndence it is harder to determine context. Vis-a-vis the abreviations used in e.mails such as Lol. I think that one has to reserve judgement until one meets the other party face to face. However it would be great if we had control of our emotions all the time. We are all, I think, me included, jumping to early conclusions.

    1. I didn’t mean to make this sound like “judgement”, Pauline. It was more about assessment. Like or dislike; compat or non-compat.

      The point I was trying to make was that when speaking to someone face-to-face, we’re seeing them at their best behavior. Yes, body language, tone, expression and inflections help clarify the words but I think communication is always filtered, unless, of course, it’s someone we see very often.

      Take you and I, for example. Don’t you think we’ve learned much more about each other via online communication than we did through the handful of times we’ve been together?

      Attraction, on the other hand, is always confirmed face-to-face, I think.

      I dunno … maybe I’m totally wrong about this. 🙂

  3. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you were being judgemental. I can’t argue your point that we have learnt (or is it learned) a lot about each other through our e.mails etc. certainly I, and I assume you, have made character assesments a bout each other through this media.In ny case it is all good. However,In our case we have met face-to-face,The first meeting was the key to this friendship. If we hadn’t met in P-Town do you think our relationship would have grown to the same extent? This I think has aloud us to develop commonaliteis in the social media very well. Any way I am glad it happened.

    1. I understand, Pauline. And yeah .. our face-to-face was the start .. and I, too, am glad it happened.

      In hindsight, I think this whole blog post is giving the wrong message. My fault. It’s really more about watching for the warning signs that it is about analyzing character traits. Until a red flags appears, everyone is cool!

  4. Hi Seleena,
    At one time I had a cranky old Scottish Boss who would say-“untill they prove otherwise, people are no damm good.” I, on the other hand would not make those kind of judgements. I think the soft approach is much nicer

    1. Haha .. i think it would be fun to be that cranky! People tend to cut you a lot of slack as long as you’re consistent. “Don’t be offended. That’s just the way she is.”

  5. When I meet people on line for the first time I tend to be somewhat reserved with them, mostly because I am fearful of creating the wrong impression. As I get to know the person a bit more I’m able to open up more. All the time though I think they are forming an assessment of me as much as I am with them.

    Because of my location almost all of my contact is via that “plastic, electronics-filled box” but so far I have been mostly correct in my evaluations of people. I can only hope that they too form the correct opinions about me.

    1. Jane, much has been said about the loss of some human skills as we transition our communication from face-to-face to electronic. But maybe, as a civilization, our skills at character perception and making a good online impression are improving?

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