When I ask myself what it means to be friends with someone on a social networking site I think of pen pals.
The interactions on social networking sites are more immediate and perhaps more emotionally complex.
But I do not think of the people I’ve met on social networking sites as friends as that is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries: A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
I bring this up because I have odd interactions with some of the people with whom I correspond.
It’s as if I’ve not pleased them in some way and it is my job to guess what that is.
I don’t play “Guess my feelings“.
To be fair, I’ve only found that kind of baggage on one social networking site, but I mention it because my experiences on that site shape my boundaries for social networking in general.
Number 1. If you wanna be friends with a guy who says he has Dissociative Identity Disorder then expect him to have it. If you expect someone with DID to “be there for you” as an internet friend then go away now. It ain’t gonna happen. Ever. When I can “be there” it is for my real family. These are the people who love me through the day-to-day confusion and frustration of living with me.
Number 2. I don’t want your pity.
I write about my illness because I believe that when people with mental illnesses are silent we yield the quality of our lives to our enemies.
I define an enemy as anyone who would spitefully compromise the quality of my life because of who I am.
Number 3. My friends can’t fix me.
There is nothing anyone can say or do to change my life and the good news is that I don’t expect you to fix me.
If you want to be my friend on the internet then understand that I don’t expect much from my friends on the internet.
If you’re stressing because we’ve exchanged email and I still have DID please know that you can stop.
Number 4. I have strong defenses and the slightest whiff of deception will send me packing.
Number 5. No covert sexual intentions. I don’t do online sex. I consider it infidelity.
I don’t need a virtual wife, girlfriend, lover, boyfriend or dog.
I use social networking sites to make my work and to get a sense from other people of what works.
I write because I have to.
I make pictures because I have to.
I blog because I have to.
I will not say that I am an artist because I don’t know that I am.
My compulsion to do these things may be another symptom of my illness.
But it is enough for me that I need to do it.