Admittedly, I should be sleeping, but my sleep schedule is all sorts of thrown off this week thanks to staying up late trying to finish stuff I, unfortunately, put off. Tomorrow will be no different and while I could be sleeping now, I feel too awake. I'll go to sleep before one, though, swear it. But my mind is working and I jsut have to get my thoughts out and there and all that good stuff.
I know I'm nothing more than a small, insignificant person amongst the many people around, and that I am far from a special snowflake; I'm just me, I'm just here. Yet I also know I have had an impact in some people's lives, small and big. Big in a way like with one of my RL met friends and how back in seventh grade, I think, I stayed a week at her house over the summer because she hadn't wanted to be dealing with her mother over that time for certain reasons. Yes, I'm that kind of friend as strange as that may be. And then the small impacts that are with both my RL and SL friends with the fact I've just simply interacted with them, and the smallest interaction can change things drastically. Hell, I know that the few days I get compliments on how I look, from friends or otherwise, it boosts my confidence for the day, so even strangers can make some sort of impact on people.
Now, it's hard to say if I have had a big impact on some of my SL met friends, since it's harder to tell simply because I don't see them in the sense I can gauge reactions and the ripples things may or may not send through the rest of their lives. I like to think I've had a decently sized impact on some people simply by being there for them to talk to, if nothing else. I won't go around saying I've changed lives or anything, with any of my friends, but I know that is a possibility, even though I highly doubt I've managed that. I like to help people I care about, and I like to know that help has mattered. Of course I like to help people in general, which is why I aim to be a psychologist, but it means more to me when I can help people I care about; hence saying yes nearly immediately to staying at someone's house for a week.
Every interaction, no matter how small, can cause ripples across someone's life, whether temporary or not, it has some sort of effect. That's one of the things that amazes me about human interaction; small things still matter. Of course closer relations and different situations cause for these ripples to be bigger and clearer, but that is something else all together. I know that people who wander about SL know to some degree this to be true, but the thing is if they ignore it or not. Some are assholes, like in RL, and don't' think twice about it simply because of the anonymity granted by the virtual. But there are also some truly wonderful people around, it's just a matter of finding them. I think I'm lucky enough to have a decent 'compass' that tells me if someone is worth my time or not, or if they'll screw me over or not, so I haven't really had the issue of people 'tricking' me in SL. I wouldn't say I'm too trusting, since it takes a while for me to trust someone, but who I give thought to even trusting to a slight degree is small, even as open as I can be, there's only so much I'll let people know until I feel something just click into place. I know, maybe this all sounds naive, but I don't care if it does.
People have different values and lines they're willing to cross, of course, but, I think, that even with those things, there's still the possibility of a real, true connection in both worlds. People create boundaries because of being hurt or however in the past or simply to prevent things form ever happening to them, and while I'm all for breaking one's own set of rules every once in a while, it is understandable how certain things never are. I can't say I could describe whatever boundaries I have for either world, but I know I have some I would be uncomfortable breaking myself, even without me knowing what they are. And, I also know, my boundaries come from wanting to prevent things from happening. I want to prevent things that haven't happened yet because I am an emotional person as much as logical, so I would rather avoid hurt. Of course I also know that if I don't move pass whatever lines I have drawn for myself, I'll miss out on things. Probably it's easier for those who know their lines to decide if better to cross over or not in whatever situation, but I can't say if it is or not from experience, I fear.
Boundaries, though, are another of those ripples people cause. In either the case of preemptive ones or ones that come from something having happened before, they are ripples. Pretty much everything comes from social interaction, and, as said, the virtual interactions cause just as big ripples as the ones in the so-called real world. If only people remembered how much they affected others, maybe there would be less hurt in the world. Well, maybe not less since there is still caring for others, and with caring comes worry and the wan to help, even if it would be impossible. And with worry comes inevitable hurt if things go badly for one or another reason. Or, if you're like me, hurt comes simply from clearly upsetting someone rather much who you care about. I've had times where I've done that, in both lives, and even thinking about it sends a pang through my heart, but it's those sorts of things you learn and grow from, those sorts of things that can make connections grow deeper if gotten passed, if not it can break them, too. But, so far, I've been lucky enough to only have things grow stronger.
I could so very easily go into so much else about the interactions, the connections, the friends we make in both worlds and how one affects the other, but it's one and if I want to be up in five hours, best I get to sleep before it shrinks to less hours.