27 November 2012

Fake or Real Personality?

Recently I have been interviewed by a magazine for tips to avoid jerks/fakes online. I offered the advice but felt more have to be touched on this topic...

What to do when you are approached by a stranger online and he/she sounds sincere, fun and friendly. Usual thing to do is an internet search on the person, access if the information given is authentic.

Before the internet era, we probably need to hire a private investigator or break into someone’s house to find compromising photos. Now people like to upload photos and information on social media. Making a person’s background more accessible. We get to know more about a person and his activities that he may have already forgotten. But do we really know them base on these scraps of content?

You might see this person a witty gentlemen while chatting on the net, but you also discover photos of him cross dressing as a mermaid in suggestive poses. But it does not necessarily mean that he has dual or conflicting personality. It will be too rash to block him immediately.

How many of us have done crazy harmless acts during a party or celebration; especially after some alcohol, but it does not reflect our usual personality. Does it mean we are bad? Should we be rejected because of these?

I have come across people who put offensive images on their social media account, speak like a gangster on the forums, but mummy’s boy at home.

Many of you are familiar with the boss who speaks like an angel to her husband over phone, but yells like a devil over the trivial stuffs in the office. If we could wear a different mask for different environment, then it is only logical that our online persona could be slightly different from our real personality.

Online offers an avenue for people to express themselves what they wish they could be in real life. The artificiality of non face to face communication offers confidence for some people to express a part of themselves not normally possible while for others, it is an easier platform to lie and exaggerate. In life, pessimistic as it may sound, the general rule is if something is too good to be true, chances are it is not.

Real life is not like a romantic commedy. As with interactions with an unfamiliar person, taking things with a pinch of salt is generally prudent.  It is important to remember online communications are after all a convenient but incomplete substitute for real direct human communication.

Taking time to know a person is important. With extended sessions of correspondence the person’s true nature will reveal itself.  It often takes more effort to tell consistent lies than to tell the truth.

If you had chatting with this person online for long period of time, feels safe to develop the friendship further. Suggest a meet up at a public place for lunch or coffee. Communication is multi-dimension and requires multi-senses. We could only know people better through face to face interaction. Nothing beats the real thing. With time and observation of how he/she interact with others, we could access if he/she is suitable, more effectively.