I am kind of a hermit. I didn't use to be. Anyway, I don't have any friends where I was transferred to three years ago (which is a pretty urban, cosmopolitan place, as long as you stay well within the city limits), unless you consider the Internet a land mass, nor do I feel like meeting or dating anybody or even having much sex even though I am gay and have quite an active libido. I am quite old, but I am fine with that too, much finer than I was with being young, in fact. Nonetheless, I'm conflicted about the fact that I think I'm fine with not having any friends, a mate or even anonymous sex, because I think that's weird or maybe I think that other people think that's weird. Does the fact that I occasionally think I am weird about this actually mean I'm weird about this, or am I just giving into the societal pressure exerted on me by my non-existent peer group and I'm really fine with it? Did I just answer my own question? Maybe I think I'm weird because at heart I know I'm damaged goods, and I just don't feel like discussing that 2 to 3 times per week, via Manhunt or in the Local Volleyball League? But what's wrong with that?
Bewildered (Or Not)?
My first thought on reading your question was, "Live however you want. Who am I to tell you how to live?" But this is not a tenable stance for an advice columnist to take, I guess.
And that is what I am: an advice columnist. Not a therapist. So I wish you had saved the whole 'you have to read between the lines and figure out my real problem because I won't actually come out and say I have one, I'm fine with how I am' schtick for your therapist! He gets to sit there and ask leading questions and draw you out, and also he gets paid. Sussing out the subtext of a question like this is above my pay grade (an expression Alex Balk taught me, perhaps not surprisingly).
So I am just going to be super literal and answer the question that you supposedly want an answer to, which is "What's wrong with [being a hermit with Internet friends and no 'real' ones]?"
There are two possible answers to this question and they are both kind of stupid.
Answer one is: "It is both illogical and pathetically old-fashioned to privilege meatspace socializing over online friendships. The attitude that things that happen online don't 'really' happen isn't just passe, it's dangerous, because it leads people live by different rules in this world that they merely imagine to be imaginary. Better that we all acknowledge the Internet as, for all intents, a real
place. The reason you don't miss having a social life is because you *do* have one — it just takes place on the Internet. Nothing wrong with that. Carry on."
Answer two is, "Unplug yourself from the fakely controllable world that you are using as a substitute for the much scarier vagaries of social contact in the physical world. Certainly in-person interaction
is full of potential for humiliation and rejection and worst of all BOREDOM, but it is only via live, face to face human interaction that you can find the kind of connection with another human being that's
the only thing that makes our lives meaningful. Seriously, think about it: will the people who you "know" and "talk to" online miss you when you die? I don't think they will, because what memories of you will they cherish? This is what they'll remember when they think about you: the experience of looking at a screen and typing. And, you know, that memory might get jumbled up with some four million other memories of that same experience. They won't be able to recall your inflection as you said a specific thing, the expression on your face or the way you walked or laughed, and so they won't even be *able* to remember you. If that sounds okay, carry on."
Both answers are stupid, Bewildered, but they're also kind of both right.
Bonus third answer! Your mileage, as they say, may vary. I put your question to a friend who had experienced a long hermit-ish period that he is still shaking off. He thought about it for a minute. He takes more time to collect his thoughts than most people do, he looks down and lets a silence build while he actually thinks about what you said, then looks up with this endearing serious crease between his eyebrows.
Anyway, what he eventually said was, "He should start going to a church. It doesn't matter what church. It doesn't matter if he believes in it at all. A lot of the people who go don't."