I’m a Better Person on Gchat

For the longest time I avoided online chat rooms. After all, it was the place pedophiles went to lure unsuspecting girls into their web of lies and where Nigerian princes tricked people into believing they inherited millions of dollars. Sebastien’s a big fan though. But it wasn’t for me. I preferred person-to-person communications and thought that was the only way to truly develop a relationship with someone.

But then I got an office job and learned about the magical world of Gchat.

One day I was sitting at my desk wondering how to occupy my time while I waited to hear back from my boss. I had been checking my email every 10 minutes and googling random thoughts, but it wasn’t enough to keep me entertained. Then, all of a sudden, a small box appeared in the lower right corner of my screen.

‘You around?’ it read.

I could barely hold myself together. I jumped in my chair and looked around. I wanted to let everyone know that I had a friend and this friend wanted to communicate with me in real-time on Gmail. It was amazing.

Then I realized that I was in an office and not on a schoolyard playground. I pulled myself together and responded to the greeting like a normal person.

We had this fun back and forth about nothing and everything for a few hours and I felt really close to this friend.

I had questions, though. Like what does it mean when someone’s status reads busy. Is it OK to Gchat them? A friend informed me that, that happens all the time, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It seems really passive aggressive. Love me, talk to me, oh no I’m too important and too busy for you. But sometimes I even get conversation starters from people whose status is marked “busy.”

That’s my only problem.

Other than that, I love Gchat and wish I could conduct all of my business through those little white boxes in the lower right hand corner of my screen. Some days I go to work early just to sit in front of my computer and wait for someone to start a conversation with me. I believe it has made me a better person and people like me more.

On Gchat I am smarter and funnier and I am also more compassionate. For example, when I started chatting with friends I would impulsively want to keep talking about myself. But then I started proofreading what I was saying and didn’t think others would be too interested. So I would erase the self-centered comment and think about the other person instead. Ask how their day is or what they are up to, etc, etc.

Gchat has also helped me get closer to Sebastien. He’s so much easier to communicate with through email or instant chat and I feel like I can really open up and be myself around him in cyberspace.

Sometimes, I start a conversation with him while he is sitting right next to me on the couch because it’s the only time I know he is really listening to me and will take me seriously. Case in point:

 me:  Do you think I could make it to the mailbox and back in my underwear without anyone seeing me?
 Sebastien:  yes
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About JadedBride

Amy Kraft is a print and radio journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including Scientific American, Discover, Popular Science, The Week, Psychology Today, and Distillations, a podcast out of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She is currently working on a book of humor essays. View all posts by JadedBride

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