Let’s talk social etiquette. This is one of my pet peeves in FL and I can see that it will be an annoyance in SL as well.
We’ll start with the Prime Directive: Remember that there is a real-live human being with feelings and thoughts behind each avatar. I heard one of the official NCI welcome crew say this to a Newbie the other night. You would think this piece of advice wouldn’t be necessary. After all – aren’t YOU a real-live human being with feelings? Unfortunately, people can be as stupid in SL as anywhere else. Let’s go back to 30 BCE-10 CE and Hillel who said: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” Do you really enjoy strangers walking up to you and propositioning you in vulgar terms? Do you enjoy being shut out of conversations, ignored? Do you like being dropped because someone else more interesting has walked by? Do you like having people question your life choices? Do you like someone standing in your face?
Perhaps you can tell that I find the above behavior distasteful. As I mentioned in a previous blog, two dear friends of mine got married in SL. As it happens, they are both women. Maybe that upsets you, maybe it doesn’t. But guess what – it’s NOT your business, it’s NOT your problem. Anyway, as we all sat about laughing and chatting and celebrating and being happy together, a Newbie (only a few hours old) came and joined us. He saw the labels above their heads and heard the conversation. He said to one: “But you’re a woman.” And she said to him “yes, and so is my partner.” And he said “can you do that thing?” Okay, part of me is laughing out loud even as I type it. But part of me is still very annoyed. Would that person REALLy walk up to a group of strangers, listen to the conversation, and then ask one of them about how she has sex???? Please tell me that is NOT what happens. That is the first thing he wants to know about SecondLife – Can they do “that thing”??? On the other hand, as a very wise friend keeps telling me – “It’s all about sex”. I disagree with her. I DON’T think it’s “all” about sex and I think it’s incredibly rude to come inworld and approach strangers and start asking about their sex lives. So there.
Now let’s go to a gathering inworld. You’re hanging about with your friends, chatting, making plans to go and do something together. Suddenly another person TP’s into the room. One of the friends spins about and takes off to join the new person. “Bye, see you, gotta run.” Poof. Gone. The rest of you all look at each other. Again – you ARE all laughing. But you also are all a bit annoyed. “Excuse us, what are we? Chopped liver?” Yes – you DO get a pass for being newly in-love or for needing to touch base with the other person or probably for some other reasons as well. But you can only do that so many times to your friends before they get annoyed. No matter how in love you are, no matter how pressing the reason. There are real people behind those avatars. If you want it to be all about you, you are ultimately going to be very lonely.
Making Friends. This one is tricky. My first few weeks I never asked anyone if they cared to be friends. I felt as if I were pressuring them – that they would feel obligated to help the newbie. Even now I find I am somewhat hesitant to initiate the offer. I’m getting better. I did meet a lovely person back when Kate Linden was rescuing me. That person started the conversation, read my groups list, offered me land marks. We talked about many topics. I offered her friendship and she accepted. That is a bit sudden for me. But I’ve had people come up to me and say “Take Friendship”. Um, thanks, but maybe I don’t want to. So I changed my profile to say “I’m looking for friends but we need to know each other first.” Which I suppose is not strictly true, as I’ve made some snap judgments. But telling someone to “take friendship” is bad form.
My next one is probably silly. And way too picky. I don’t care. I’m allowed to be silly in my blog. 🙂 I really disliked people standing too close to me. Like everyone in FL, I’m very aware of the boundaries of “my” space. If you cross that line, I will try to back away and fix the distance, But if you persist,I become irritable and edgy and mean. 🙂 Some acquaintances simply have not figured this out yet. This carries over into SL. I understand when someone moves too close to me. No question that I still have difficulty on occasion moving myself about. I’ve bumped into people. Sort of sat on people. Even walked through people I believe. It happens. But once you are standing and chatting with someone – hey! back up a bit. You really CAN’T look down my shirt in SL no matter HOW close you get. I feel cornered and pressured. Yes – I am well aware that this is my problem and I take full ownership. LOL. But maybe next time you stand too close to someone, you’ll remember poor neurotic Ahuva and you’ll back up a little!!! 🙂
And lastly, the most obvious one. Big sigh. Do you REALLY walk up to strangers on the street and ask them to participate in sex acts with you? For most of us, that is not part of our job description. Go away. Leave me alone. Trust me. If I want to have sex with you, I’ll let you know. But otherwise – why don’t you think about WHY you have to ask strangers for intimacy? Perhaps it has something to do with your social graces or lack thereof.