Yesterday afternoon I walked out of the house, intending to go and run, to discover that someone had driven into the car for the third time in two months. This however was not an incident I either heard or was involved in. The person drove off and has left me with damage that, if I chose to claim on via insurance, has the potential to significantly increase cover. It is hardly considerable, but there is a principle at play that ended up making last night depressing and uncomfortable. It would have been great to have been cheered up by my husband, but he went out on a Company jolly and has yet to come home.
Instead, I asked the Internet for a hug.
Lots of people maintain that Social media is, by definition, an attention seeking device. Whilst that is undoubtedly true to a point, it also serves an important function as support network by proxy. Take the various ‘friends’ I know who have loved ones or are themselves undergoing cancer treatments right now: none of them could ever be accused of using communication as anything else except as means of helping them cope with the most frightening thing that is ever likely to happen in their lives. When the ‘rules’ of your space are clearly defined, you should be able to ask for whatever you want and get it, no questions asked.
The problem comes with those people for whom attention really is the whole point of the exercise. I follow a number of individuals like this, watching them pontificate and pronounce with a detached sense of interest. In all cases this comes from being told truths about them from other people I trust and have far better relationships with, which make the actions of these media evangelicals inherently false. It reinfoces the point that sometimes, the truth of actions is inescapable. Cry wolf too many times and ultimately, people will find out the real truth.
Then there are the people who suddenly vanish: this ultimately goes one of two ways. Either the person is able to escape the issues they’ve had and become stronger, or they’ll just be back as if nothing has changed. I will admit there’s a sadness when the latter happens, because I know only too well how it feels to be trapped by your own inability. If you choose to leave, don’t look back. I’ll also freely admit this has happened to me on many occasions virtually, and in reality, simply walking away was the best course of action for everybody concerned.
I asked for a hug last night because I felt alone. It wasn’t gratification that drove the request, but genuine unhappiness. I’ve done this from time to time when emotional stability has been in question, and it always has a positive effect. This time, I also made a significant realisation on the back of it. Asking for help is not bad or wrong. Where you do this matters as much as the action itself, and being reassured by strangers is, and was, an extremely powerful tool, especially when the people we hope will do the job are not around.
I wish my husband had not gone out last night, but this was possibly the most important social event of his work calendar, and on reflection I would have felt bad if I’d have asked it of him. What I can do however is tell him this, in the hope he understands that right now is a difficult emotional and mental period for me. That’s all anyone should reasonably expect of anybody else. Communication really matters, far more than most people will ever grasp or understand.
When I look at those who neither care or think about the consequences of their demands, it gives considerable pause for thought. However, it is those for whom these platforms have become means of self gratification that are more concerning. Gaining relief and reassurance from interaction is a quite different thing than making others beholden to you, or somehow part of a cult of personality. Those are the individuals for whom Social media’s usefulness can only be measured in numbers, and for whom the concept of success is maintained until someone finds them out and exposes the con for what it is.
If that is what is termed as achievement, I want no part of it.