Social All By Myself

My ex is concerned that my son is not social enough. I can respect his concern. The boy was well up in his elementary school years before he could tell you names of friends. He had friends, mind you. Names just weren’t important to him.

He does better now, but his sister will always be a social butterfly next to him. She attends a good-sized public school, and can likely put a name to a high percentage of the students and teachers, whether she considers them friends or not. And of those kids, she can provide a brief synopsis on many.

My son is like many kids and adults these days. While he has in person friends, his online friends and game mates are more numerous. He probably talks to them more as well. He definitely makes time to play with them and does a better job of actually putting himself out there. He speaks. He leads groups. He initiates plans.

His father doesn’t count his online activities as social events, but I think he needs to reevaluate that. As our world incorporates more virtual meetings, work-from-home opportunities, and online group activities, such as gaming, forums, hobby groups, social media, and video conferencing, we are short-changing ourselves if we continue to think of these relationships as anything but social.

By definition, being social is about relating with other people. Nowhere does it say that interaction must be in the same room. It really is about the interaction, and that includes by letters, chat, video cam just as much as face to face.

Granted, online socialization is different than in person, but it comes with rules. It comes with the general premise of reaching out and sharing ideas. And at the rate we have become reliant on social media and electronic communication, I think it is important that we all learn to embrace it as part of the norm.

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