I have been suffering a bit of malaise a bit lately as it pertains to SecondLife, as I think many people have, but I do feel mine has been building for a while. I have never been one to have a large number of friends, partially because of my introverted nature, and because sometimes I tend to get a little laser focused on a project or another and tend to retreat for a while. I think it’s a hangup or some type of mental problem because it happens both in world and out and it is something that happens without me realizing it.
In Real Life I am lucky because I have some core friends that have stuck with me forever and I’m sure will forever. While I do have this core, in Real Life I even admitted to someone that the set of friends I have now is most likely the group of friends I will have forever and I think my personality has made it difficult to make new friends. I am somewhat luckier in Real Life because my friends can see that I am still around, still doing this and that and, I think, more likely to call me up and say ‘hello’ or send me something and that it is not going to bother me or upset me. They can also see my social awkwardness through my body language a bit and see that I am not the automaton that I sometimes seem to be.
This sort of carries over to Second Life: I have a core of friends that I made years ago and it has not expanded much. Heck, in Second Life I even have a group of people I watch from afar because I have been afraid to approach for years. When I first joined Second Life, there was something liberating about being someone else, but I slowly realized (or allowed it to happen, I’m not sure) that although I never told anyone my real name, thus is my mind keeping them separate people, my avatar was collecting some of my habits and predilections to solitude that I had in real life, and that was never my intention. I know that I pushed some people away in SL because of my awkwardness. I did a few things to try and overcome this, from starting this blog to joining Twitter, Flickr and Plurk. I finally realized that basically none of those tools actually worked and essentially I just did not have that ‘something’ that caused those tools to work the way I wanted, that I was still the loner that I had sort of made myself into.
Recently I tried an experiment: I just stopped. I stopped blogging for a bit (not that I have ever been a constant blogger), I had stopped posting to Flickr quite some time back, and I stopped posting to Plurk (and I have stopped checking it). I wanted to see if I was making any sort of impact on the grid. With two small exceptions, the results were about what I expected (no-IMs, PPs, etc, etc)*. I have to admit that I spent about two weeks or so being a little hurt and then a little angry (at myself).
Then I decided I had the power to change such a thing. I have to admit, it’s tough, but I think all such efforts need to be in order to be successful. Step one has to be to reconnect with why first got into SL, and it involves Roleplaying (so if you are one of 5 regular readers expect to see some more posts on that in the near future). Another step involves looking at ways to reconnect and find places to hang out with friends. I have found that I am just as afraid in SL as I am in RL of walking up to someone and saying ‘hello.’
I might also do something serious with the ‘Introverts’ group I created some time ago.
I think I’ve come to grips with what I am and am now just trying to fix it. If you are someone I know, I would thank you for your patience. If you are someone I might have caused some hurt, I apologize.
* I do not blame anyone for this, honest, I have no desire or need for drama.