QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking
behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.
There's a guy who likes me over the net. He asked me to be his
girl over the net. I said yes. But I don't know if I should have done
that ... how would a relationship work over the net?
You bring up a very good point: it is often difficult to know
exactly what someone means online. A good way to approach a question
like this is to ask a few questions in your response. Try and
understand exactly what someone means when using terms that have a
meaning offline, but are difficult to enact from a geographically
different location, through the Internet.
You might enjoy the freedom of asking as many questions as occur to you, as
well as learn how the other person answers. If you follow someone's line of
thinking, you can see if they are telling the truth as well. If you find
ask about them, too. See what kind of answers you get -- open minded,
open-hearted, or closed, critical, negative responses that make you
reluctant to ask more questions.
In this case, tell your online boyfriend of your second thoughts, and
ask your questions freely. Find out what he meant, and what he thinks
your agreement means. Our ability to ask and answer questions is one of
the many advantages of the net -- it forces people to talk about things
they never would discuss f2f. If he doesn't like it and thinks you
ought to know what he meant by being his "girl over the net," he is
Dr. Maheu is an author,
speaker, and researcher. She is the lead author of
E-Health, Telehealth & Telemedicine: A Guide to Program Startup and Success
co-written with Pamela Whitten and Ace Allen, published by Jossey-Bass:
on the Internet is Dr. Maheu's second book and she's currently
working her third, tentatively titled "The Mental Health Professional
Online: New Questions and Answers."
For more information about her speaking schedule, see this page: