Technology and Social Isolation

This blog may not seem relevant for BPD, however for me it is. I have had bouts of depression and lost friend because of the internet and text messaging.  It may seem silly, but let me explain why…

I went to see Blueman Group the other night.  While I didn’t care for it, after I began thinking of some messages in this theatre production I related to.  First, the characters are dressed in blue all look alike, earless, voiceless, hairless.  It reminded me a lot of my world.  No one speaks, no one listens and everyone seems to be acting exactly the same except for me.  I am the antithesis of the Blueman,  I cannot stop talking in a city where you are lucky if a person even looks your way.  I cannot stop listening to people’s stories in a city where people will stroll right along as they see tears streaming down your face.  I am different.  But, anyway the point of the blog is not this but about technology and how I feel it has contributed to more social isolation for people, especially those who already isolate themselves out of fear.  There was a line in the production on the screen.  A  character was sitting at a computer at an internet cafe chatting away, voiceless of course.  The line that flashed on the screen: You sit at the computer chatting with those who are not there, ignoring those who are there…

This line hit me hard.   Believe it or not on one hand, I abhor the internet.   While some feel it has brought the world closer together, and in a sense, that is true, I feel it has made me at times feel more isolated and lonely than I already innately feel as someone with BPD.  I love people.  I love being around people.  I love hearing people laugh, I love to talk, I love to hug, kiss, be in the actual Presence of Another Human Being.  Today, people are more apt to sit behind a computer screen then make the effort to go out and meet people, and even when you meet first question are you on Facebook Because, God forbid I should call you and actually let you hear my voice.

The internet has been revloutionary, yes.  According to a study at the Stanford Institute for the Quantatative Study of Society, Kenneth M. Dixon found that 31 percent of the US  poulation spend 70 minutes less daily interacting with family and three hours online every day.  This didn’t shock me.  I remember a different time, when people would come to your house and visit, call you on the phone to say Happy Birthday instead of sending an email or a text message or even just to talk…I actually ended a relationship with a good friend. It may have been radical but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Her birthday came.  I called to wish her a Happy Birthday, no facebook message, no text.  I also visited her and brought her a small token.  My birthday came.  I recieved hundreds of facebook Happy B-day’s and text messages, after specifically telling her that I hated text messaging because it was so impersonal, she texted me Happy B-day.  I have never felt so alone.  I did not get ONE phone call that day.  The messages meant nothing, a warm phone call to say hey I’m actually taking time out to call you on your b-day would’ve meant something to me.  I cried the whole day.

Laughter has been replaced with LOL’s, shock with OMG, voices with words on a screen or words on a phone…  As someone who yearns for relationships, this to me is not the foundation for a true relationship. I also had another friend who refused to talk on the phone, he would only text.  Needless to say that relationship has ended.  I’m sorry but in order to be truly “intimate” with a person, I feel I need to be in their presence and hear them.. see them, but maybe that is just  my illness talking…


11 Responses

  1. I can understand this– it’s nice to be able to get out of the house and go do something. But at the same time, I can understand that it’s more comfortable for some people to connect with others via text or online…I have social anxiety, and talking on the phone is hard for me, unless it’s with a member of my family, my boyfriend, or a very close friend. Social anxiety also makes it difficult for me to go out sometimes, especially if I’m not sure of where I’m going or if I don’t know the person that I’m going to be with very well. I am working on overcoming the social anxiety, and things have gotten easier for me, but I can definitely understand how it might be easier for some people to find other ways to communicate, instead of face-to-face.

    • I agree with the main article and Lauren’s comment – in a way I hate that none of my friends will call up, or answer their phones, or take time out to see me and yet I am much too anxious to go out into the wide, wide world (unless I am certain my friends will be there, and even then it’s very hard and can’t be with too many people or for too long).

      Both lead to the other (spending less time with friends = more time on net. More time on net = less time with friends).
      It’s sad. 😦

  2. Yes, I did not talk about those who suffer from social anxiety, and I am sorry for leaving this out. I do not mean this for oyu who suffer from this…..

  3. I completely get it. We’ve become a society of texting and emailing and Facebook messages. I cannot imagine texting my boyfriend; we talk on the phone several times a day and see each other several times a week (if I’m not working too much). I see so many people with relationships based on text messages and I just don’t get it. I don’t get how you can get to know someone solely by texting them.

    I’m with you; I have to have conversation by voice — or even better, face to face. I do text occasionally but I’d rather dial a number than go back and forth with the keypad.

    Of course, sometimes it’s nice to have the option to not have to be face to face. I’ve made a lot of friends over the internet, and some of them I’ve never heard speak or have seen in person. Without the internet, I wouldn’t know many people — including you guys! And, as Lauren said, it can really help people with social anxiety.

    There are ups and downs to both forms of communication, but in most situations I’d rather be face to face or at least on the phone.

  4. A lot of people go through this, especially around birthdays and especially those who don’t have many offline friendships — not just those with “disorders.”

    On first reading, it looks like you have high standards for your friendships — if anything that’s normal and not a disorder.

    It’s this world that’s messed up. Remember that. And always forgive.

    • Thing is I had more “offline” friendships, before there was an online, and yes i agree many go through it, but the way I react was different. At one point I shut down the computer and would never use it. I have even had thoughts of throwing it out the window. And, I experience a great deal of pain now more than ever when good friends would rather chat than talk, friendships have disintegrated because of it. I don’t know if that would be considered “normal.?”

  5. You know, I understand what you are saying and I truly believe that authentic communication, heart to heart is good. Yet, I am VERY susceptible to animosity or anger and sarcasm being directed at me in the context of working out emotional issues. What a person says to me can devestate me as I can obsess about the pain caused and internalize it for agreat deal of time.
    I’ve had to deal with a few relationship lately only via email. My friend, whom I’m having major problems with, HATES it. THere is nothing i can do about it. I”ve lost enough of my energy and sleep over her intensity. I’ve tried EVERY THING to reconcile in various ways. PHone calls, walks, conversations…and it comes down to me needing to not feel like I”m going to die inside.

    For me, that’s what’s happening. My veil is not thick when dealing with this. Perhaps it gets stronger. I long for really close friendships, and love shared from those. I can only trust certain people and it’s a resolution that my coach even supports.
    Yet, I do get what you’re saying. It is more isolating. Yet it is also safe. why ignore your surroundings? all the time. I get mad when Isee people texting as they walk. This pisses me off, cuz they’re missing the opportunity to embrace the moment not to mention to be a little safer.
    That’s my submission

  6. voice communication is decreasing and text/SMS/AIM/facebook/twitter/ etc… are on the rise , it’s evolving, things are changing ,it is inevitable … i think some people have to try to adapt or not it’s up to you

  7. Just because we are getting more advanced, and things are changing doesn’t mean that it is for the good of society. I prefer a simpler society where human contact was valued….

  8. It’s not your illness, I feel the same way about connecting with people in person.

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