I 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.