Thank you, Peapod, that was a very gratifying thing to read. I admire your frankness. It was brave of you to tell.
My assumption is: you are a young woman.
I have had only one experience of instant-messaging. I brought to it an emotional development commensurate with my age, but I found myself lost at sea, because I could not see her face, her eyes, the inflection in her voice, her smile, her scent, and so on. When I expressed a desire to meet her, my casual expression of desire was misinterpreted as an intention to travel. I made the mistake of conversing as I would have done on a date with a woman I had met at a party. I assumed--and wrongly--that there was a person of more or less equal emotional sophistication at the other end. Two problems: the internet as barrier, rather than as bridge; compounding a rather large difference in age.
Honestly, now I have this oddly compelling desire to make the same mistake with you. I lived in a college dorm for a year, and I know the kind of a hothouse atmosphere that can be, socially. It was co-ed by room. All those beds, all those doors, no parents and no brothers around--some things are inevitable. Is that the way it is here? I'm not saying that internet friendships are not legitimate, but they are distinctly different from conventional ones.
Haggis, you've hit another homerun with this thread.