Is there such a thing as the perfect stranger or is this the only time a person can be perfect – when you don’t know them at all. In this age of internet and social media and being able to chat to anyone anywhere in the world as and when you desire it, are we too trusting or is there not enough benefit of the doubt when someone says they are who they say they are?
When you meet someone face to face you build up a picture immediately. You can see them, hear them, touch them. Does that make them real? Can you take them at face value? Are they who and what they say they are?
The same goes for someone on line. You have to believe what they tell you until you know for certain. To instantly mistrust another seems so very wrong to me.
If our first instinct is to question, mistrust, not believe, that feels to me like a slippery slope down. Maybe I’m naive. I am open about who I am and I expect others to be the same with me and if someone tells me their name, their background and their dreams I tend to believe them. Why would I instantly mistrust?
Yes we have to be careful. Yes we must teach our children the dangers of online friendships and that their safety is paramount. Even as adults we must be aware that not everyone is who they say but don’t we all do that to a certain extent?
I used to paint on my professional face every day and hide behind the mask I created. Never showing who I really was. Never telling people my real thoughts, only what they wanted to hear. Never being true to my values and beliefs and continually lying about being fine and happy when, outside of work, I was sad and depressed. We all lie. To protect others. To protect ourselves. To save ourselves.
I love meeting and talking to new people. I’m curious about them, their lives and who they really are. My curiosity leads me to meet people I would never necessarily meet in my normal day and opens up a world I might never have known without trusting that the person I have just met is genuine, good, trustworthy. I can travel the world on a Skype call. I can discover the inner thoughts and dreams of a person who 24 hours ago was a stranger. We learn, we experience, we develop as people and sometimes as friends.
I hope with all my heart that the perfect stranger is always who they say they are and becomes my friend and we gain and grow and share life.