They desire the kind of intimacy where they are known for who they are — warts and all — and are still loved.Intimacy of that kind requires a tremendous amount of face-to-face interaction.A Picture Can Negate a Thousand Words But this camouflaging technique is also the drawback of online relationships — it gives people the temptation to hide all their weaknesses while exaggerating their strengths."Without a full picture of who someone really is, it's easy to use your imagination to fill in the gaps," says Jonathan Bolton. When Jonathan was a freshman at Colorado State University, he plugged in to his dorm's Internet service to explore the chat room scene.Within a few minutes, Jonathan received an instant message from a girl in California. Then Jonathan asked his new friend what she looked like.The two started chatting and found themselves typing away until in the morning. "I'm a blonde — an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10," she said. "I just told my friends that her picture never came.
A college student in Colorado (let's call her Jen) recently visited a chat room to blow off steam after being dumped by her boyfriend.She told her online friend that their correspondence was simply consuming her.Since having his online fling, Jonathan encourages his friends to invest their time in face-to-face relationships.But the real surprise came when her guest arrived and turned out to be ... In the brave new online world, strangers can have (something like) sex without even meeting each other.If people can get close without getting real, dramatic surprises are inevitable.