We’ve all seen the ridiculous show Catfish, and so many people watch it thinking, “how the hell can anyone get sucked into this?!”
I know I do.
I don’t completely understand how people can meet someone online and share so much of themselves. I also don’t understand how people can actually catfish other people, manipulating them and playing on their vulnerabilities. That’s as low as someone can get, in my opinion.
Watching the show, you can’t imagine something like that happening to one of your nearest and dearest’s.
Well, I’m here to quickly share a story with you, which includes three friends, a catfish, two bottles of wine, and a lot of drunken screaming.
It was Christmas Eve just gone. Naturally, everyone was hella excited. Just as naturally, I was hating on the happiness and the Christmas spirit, in bed by half eight with a cup of tea and Netflix (I realise that I mention Netflix a lot. It’s a major part of my life. I chose Netflix and bed over going out that night. Don’t judge me.)
I got a phone call from one of my friends saying that our other friend hadn’t come back from her date, and was sending ridiculous and worrying messages. She sent me the messages and told me she was panicking, so I very reluctantly (not really) got out of bed, called my mum to tell her I was going out, and arrived on her doorstep 20 minutes later holding a bottle of wine.
We read through the messages together and came to the awful conclusion that our friend may have been forced into something bad. Half a bottle of wine was knocked back by me at this point.
She sent us a message then telling us she was on her way, from Hackney. That’s about 20 minutes away, so we calmed down a little bit, and tried to talk ourselves out of this ridiculous low-point we’d ended up in.
OVER AN HOUR LATER, she turned up at the house needing a drink, which we gave, and then she went and told us the story, while I drank the remainder of the wine. I realised then that I had no idea who she went to see, so I asked, not expecting her response.
He was “some guy” she had been messaging.
She had basically been catfished.
I’ve never really been able to watch the stupid show the same way since then. Fair enough, I think that it’s scripted, but the fact is that it’s based on events that are very much happening in real life. And that terrifies me.
We were worried that she may have been raped, even though she’s always been feisty enough to take care of herself, but then suddenly that didn’t matter anymore. If someone had wanted to, they would have. Obviously that’s one of the extremes of being catfished, but the possibility is always there.
I’m still not sure about how you can trust a faceless person over the internet, and I don’t know how you can claim to fall in love with someone you haven’t actually spent time with and met. There’s a massive difference between speaking to someone face-to-face, and over messages. I am shy as hell when you actually meet me, but I’m the funniest, awesomest person you’ll ever meet online… I don’t open up to someone unless I’ve spoken to you, met you, and then messaged you. Or unless I’m really drunk. Or I like you. And even then, you won’t see the “real me” unless I’m really invested in our friendship. Very, very few people know the real me. And for the most part, I like that!
I’m not saying that meeting people online is a bad thing, and everyone knows how much I love social media and interacting with other people! Once you get past the initial annoyances, internet friendships can a great! Obviously, don’t share everything with them (duh) like your address, bank details and your personal information (bigger duh) but still, making friends online is no big deal! Just don’t go that step further and say you’re in a relationship with someone online. That’s just a bit weird.
I fail to see how you can have an online relationship. There’s no closeness there, and real feelings are developed through face-to-face contact. It’s a fact. I think online relationships provide some sort of comfort, I guess, but I very strongly disagree with the fact that real emotions can be built. I mean feelings strong enough that you fall deeply in love with that person – I’m sorry but I firmly believe love needs some genuine contact. As in “LOOK WE ARE HOLDING HANDS FOR REALSIES” kind of genuine contact. And you just don’t get that online… Obviously.
Sure, sometimes there is a happy ending at the end of it all, but WHO remembers those ones?! Everyone remembers the episode where the extremely hot guy turns out to be an overweight teen girl.
There’s a lesson to be learnt here, just in case watching the show doesn’t spell it out clearly enough for you:
DO NOT MEET PEOPLE ONLINE.
THEY PROBABLY DO NOT EXIST.
LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AND MEET AN ACTUAL REAL HUMAN, WHOM YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS CAN THEN JUDGE ACCORDINGLY.
This has been a PSA.
Just don’t go meeting people online in real life…