Is Virtual Relationship a New Trend?

Just in case some of you have a hard time defining this “trend”, let us refer to its definition in Wikipedia. A “virtual relationship” or “Internet relationship“, refers to a relationship between people who have met online, and in many cases know each other only via the Internet.[1] Online relationships are similar in many ways to pen pal relationships. This relationship can be romantic, platonic, or even based on business affairs. On this ground, I’d like to review this kind of relationship as follows.

Photo by Jayden Sim on Unsplash

Virtual Romance

Have you happened to have a crush on someone when you meet her or him in real life? Then, you stay connected with her or him online. Or you find him or her online first and eventually interested in her or him. Of course, you may know (about) some distant couples who keep in touch this way. In most cases, this kind of relationship leads to separation, largely attributed to lack of physical touch (if not sexual!). As the saying goes, “far from sight, far from mind”! I admit that this situation can happen to many such couples. Yet, have they made enough efforts or commitments to stay in physical touch, from time to time? Of course, when they are apart, online chats should bridge their emotional gaps. Yet, once together, how much/quality time do they invest in each other? If the answer to this question is “little”. Then, no longer wonder why they become romantically separated. Trust me: I have gone through this experience myself. The greatest challenge that tried me was “doubt”. Yet, over time, with my close circle’s support, like Mastermind Club Cambodia, I have learned to embrace the reality. Then, I have not expected too much from my partner while away.

Virtual Friendship

Do I need to mention social media covers “virtually” all our online territories? In Cambodia, Telegram is following Facebook Messenger very close, when it comes to instant chats. Hangouts, appointments, or merely personal updates, have been widely communicated through myriads of such chat groups. Even I have been added to over 100 so far just to stay in touch with my friends from high school, university or even in the same sector. Yet, the problem here is, we are plugged to too many online groups to stay focused on closer or more intimate ones. This trade-off includes our own families. Luckily, we have been given the option to mute those group notifications we find annoying to us! My habit would be to ask my friends for occasional meetups, instead of relying on hiding my emotions behind the screen all the time.

Virtual Work

If you agree that technology helps you get more jobs done faster, then, welcome to the virtual work circle! Yet, what I find funny is, when you and your colleagues simply sit side by side and you text her about such and such tasks! Although I find it very efficient to work from distance, even without on-shoulder supervision, short commutation within the office premises would do us no harm. One, this helps you build more personal rapport with your colleagues. Second, it avoids miscommunication mostly covered in mere texts, although some emojis or stickers might relieve our online tensions! Third, your muscles need some exercise at daytime so your bones will not get numb sitting at your desk all day long.

In a nutshell, I am not opposing “virtual relationship”. Yet, I believe we should spare some time for “actual relationship” as to enhance each other’s understanding and feelings for common growth. Ultimately, what matters between these types of relationship remains “trust, empathy and compassion”, without which we would get emotionally lost in this fast-growing world!