Recently I saw the movie Belle. In it we see the main character, Suzu, a shy misfit who is sad, lonely, and still can't get over her mother's death. By the end of the movie Suzu's real life is in a much better and happier place thanks to her experiences and adventures as her virtual character Belle. Being Belle teaches Suzu many things, which help her cope with and fix some of the issues in her unhappy life. It was a surprisingly good movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's kind of like a Japanese version of Beauty and the Beast, but goes to unexpected places.
Seeing Belle made me think, does living a virtual life in games, chat rooms, and simulations, help people cope with the real world?
It is an interesting question and I would love to hear people's thoughts on it. (if anyone would ACTUALLY post their thoughts. It IS the Lodestone after all. ;-) )
The question is interesting because a lot of the time you tend to hear the opposite about being online; people use it to HIDE from the real world. I am sure you have heard the trope; a person who is unhappy with life for some reason, it could be many, uses online games to live a 'better' life and hide from reality. There have been many cases of it, many articles, many posts from people who know someone who does it or admits to doing it themselves. Yes, it is out there and a REAL thing!
But what about the opposite? Can doing virtual online activities HELP you in real life with various things? Can participating in online chats, adventures in games, online matches, social gatherings, teach you any skills that transfer into your real life and help you in the real world?
If so what would they be?
Well, confidence for one.
Confidence to be social with people
Confidence to talk with people of the opposite sex.
Confidence to take charge and lead
Confidence to voice ideas and make plans with a group, to work with others.
All of this translates into the real world when one is out there interacting with people, IF you allow it. After all, it was you doing those things virtually, why cannot it be YOU doing them in reality?
Same person, same mind; you are just not a hot catboi or catgirl, you are just.....you.
A shy person makes an online avatar and ends up making friends virtually. They find that they are far more popular virtually than they ever were in real life. Can this popularity and social experience translate at all when the person is living their life away from their fake self?
As you might expect, it REALLY depends on the person themselves. Many times people's online personas are pretty much 'just acting', as in they are NOT acting like themselves at all, they are playing a 'part'. After all, WHY be yourself when you have this anonymous online avatar who looks nothing like you. You can be any kind of person you want to be. Just because you are confident and cocky as a buff hero does not mean you can be that way as your normal self. Or CAN you?
After all you are STILL talking to real people as you socialize online. Sure you don't look like yourself, but it is still YOU typing or saying those responses. There is no reason you can't learn from your experiences, especially if voice chat is involved.
Talking with people even virtually instills confidence as you go outside your comfort zone and get more comfortable socializing. Sure real life is 'eye to eye' talking, but even then, you might be surprised to learn it really is not THAT different from chatting online. You are STILL engaging in conversation, you are just looking at the other person too. ;-)
Dungeons, raids, and adventures are also ways confidence shows up. You are working with others, forming plans, working out problems, coming up with ideas for success. Hell, you might even be LEADING them, something you never would consider in real life, but as a virtual buff Hrothgar you find the courage to do so. Why not have that courage too in real life? Again, you are STILL you, but just as your plain real life self, the skills to plan and lead are still there within you.
Hell, since a lot of office work is remote these days, this can easily translate with Zoom and Team meetings. After all, you are STILL virtual, ie: not actually with people, they can just see your real self on camera. But do the same things, take initiative, take charge, plan, communicate, work out ideas. Show people what you learned from those upteen hours raiding and adventuring in whatever game you played.
Romance is another thing. Yeah yeah, I know the whole virtual woman you are talking to might not even BE a woman thing. But even so, just getting out there and making the attempt to socialize with people, to get to know them gives your mind experience talking to others. There is no reason you can't also use that experience and knowledge in real life when you try to strike up a conversation with someone you are interested in.
Shy? Introverted? Not 'hot'? Sigh, ok, yes, doing things from a romantic prospective IS a bit harder than other ways. Having feelings for the person you are trying to talk to can really mess with your head and do weird things such as completely eroding what confidence you may have built up.
All I can say for this is 'baby steps'. Take it slow, take it tentatively; see what works and what does not. Hey, you did it virtually, you CAN do it too in real life! Have confidence in yourself! Remember, SAME person!
So there you go. Yes being virtual a lot can help you in real life IF you allow it too. Just don't let all that you learned drift away thinking that is not you, you could never BE that way as yourself.
You can, just......try, you might be VERY surprised with the results. ;-)
On a side note with Belle; I found the whole romance thing with the pretty girl and the quirky odd guy very amusing, Why? Because believe it or not, this happens more in real life than you might think. I have seen it first hand with some of my beautiful female friends who liked and hung out with people like that. So if you are an odd person with odd quirks, never assume people won't like you because of them, you just may be surprised.
I love this piece Annabel, i think you raise a lot of interesting points and there is definitely some good advice.
For me though im finding it hard to exist in a virtual setting and then going back to IRL .
bayonetta allows me The freedom to live a life (albiet virtual) that i can never have IRL . Its not ever going to be about trying some things irl that i do as her in ff14 because of what it is she represents.
I often feel depressed having to stop being her and going back to my ....
...going back to hiding and repressing her to be the IRL guy that people know me as 😢
The more time i spend in ff14 it seems the more i resent going back to irl so instead of ff14 being a helpful 'tool' to help build a better self IRL its becoming problematic to being happy IRL or at least in being able to maintain the facade of happiness 🙁 real life is too complicated for various reasons to be able integrate her into my real self but i hope others will take on board your advice and TRY ❤️❤️
Also woman!! You are a hard one to catch online 😄 arturia has been a fantastic host and shown me all around her house and yours too .
You have such different styles but i love them both ❤️
Wait, you VISTED? :O Ugh, WHY didn't Aria let me know you were around? I would have come on if I could.
Oh well, maybe next time.
Yes, the enticing virtual life can be overly alluring to some as you get the illusion of the 'perfect' life for a few hours.
All I can say it try to remember it's NOT real, but try and use some of that experience to better your real life situation if you can.
Well in my case, I am mute irl and technology has made my life extensively better. From chatting with friends online to texts and other things to help keep me safe.
Socially irl I see a lot of issues where people are not even paying attention too each other however. Which is unfortunate so their are ups and downs and often it really depends on the person
Thanks for the input Leonie. I can see that aspect of technology helping people like you gain more social contact and expand your network of people without having to rely on sign language and such.
But you are certainly right about the ignore thing. Just to to a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night and look at the couples. How many of them are in their phones and ignoring one another?
Hell I have seen while FAMILIES looking at their phones ignoring each another! Pretty sad really....
I have kind of am abusive life and this game helped me coped with harsh reality. This is why I am attached with this game. A place to escape and find sanctuary, even in just in the mind.