You are sad and have no life

“People who spend a lot of time online are sad and have no life.”

That’s what most people will instinctively tell you. It’s the impression I’m getting from reading some of the blogs and comments in this week’s Star Blog.

Star Blog

Now, I’m not actually going to argue whether real life or virtual life is better or worse. I’m sure there are valid arguments for both camps.

What I really want to know is: Why do people automatically believe that having a virtual life equals no life?

Just because you were born living life one way doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. We must recognise and keep up with evolution and not resist change.

Resisting change

So, let’s assume that the person who spends most of his time online is actually happy. He earns a living online and does almost everything online, and he feels fulfilled because he enjoys what he does.

How is he sad?

You mean he is more sad than the bloke who lives in the “real” world but is unhappy because he’s got a crappy job, an abusive girlfriend and drinks his liver to death every night after work? Is the real-world guy’s life more meaningful because he spends more time in the real world, never mind how he spends it?

Of course, I could also compare an unhappy virtual-life guy with a happy real-world guy, in which case the sad one is the virtual-life guy.

Bad vs. Good

My point is that it’s not logical to judge the lifestyle. Living your life one way or another doesn’t make you better. It’s how you feel and how you make people feel with your actions that count.

Let’s examine some reasons people think Internet denizens are sad no-lifers:

  • They don’t go out and socialise.
  • They spend their lives engrossed in only one pursuit.
  • They don’t go to the movies.
  • They don’t go clubbing and partying.
  • They don’t play tennis or golf or basketball.
  • They don’t go out wining and dining.

Well, then, are we going to call a monk a no-lifer? Because we could superimpose those traits directly on a monk.


In fact, there are people who respect monks for exactly those traits.

So, what, society only allows monks to behave like that?

It just goes to show that people criticise without thinking.

Again, I’m not saying that a virtual life is better than real life. I think it’s useful to have a balance. Do what is necessary and do what you enjoy, without harming others. That’s more important.

What I really want to comment on is that some people criticise virtual living without actually having valid reasons to criticise it. They criticise it simply because they don’t subscribe to it. And that’s unfair.

It’s like someone criticising beef just because he doesn’t like to eat beef.

No, really, think about it.

I have three hours of free time and I’d rather spend it playing an online game than going to a disco. How does that make me a no-lifer?

Think about it

Okay, let’s say Persons A and B have 10 hours of free time.

Person A spends it on three activities: Go for a movie, have a meal at a restaurant, shop for clothes and books.

Person B also spends it on three activities, except that they’re all done online: Play an online game, chat with friends on MSN, shop for clothes and books.

Most poeple will automatically think that Person A’s time was more well-spent, while Person B has no life.

Why is that? Assuming both Person A and B feel equally fulfilled and happy from their activities and go to bed with a smile, how is either life better than the other?

Yet, online hobbies are not as socially accepted as offline hobbies. And that is what I don’t understand.


We’re not talking about Internet addicts who skip school or miss work because of online activities. We’re talking about normal people who simply prefer to engage on online rather than offline activities, when given a choice. Should these people receive the “no-life” label?

I challenge everyone to question sweeping statements until you get a logical answer.

“Spending too much time on the Internet is bad.”


“Because it makes you a no-lifer.”

“How does it make me a no-lifer?”

“Because you spend your whole life online instead of going out and experiencing the real world.”

“Why would experiencing the real world make me a better person?”

“Because the real world is what life is about. The Internet is not real.”

“Who set the rule that life is more meaningful and better in the real world?”

Ask questions

But keep in mind that discussions should be for the purpose of understanding, and not for the purpose of proving that you’re right.

Too often, when people have conflicting opinions, they believe that it’s their sworn duty to convert the other person to their opinion.

Why must that be? Why can’t we recognise that everyone is made different? We have different likes and dislikes. Different things make us happy or sad. Therefore, shouldn’t we all have differing opinions?

We should enjoy the process of learning how other people think, rather than automatically condemn people for thinking differently.

Just because you like apples and you think oranges are disgusting doesn’t mean that people who eat oranges are disgusting no-lifers who can’t tell good from bad.

Apple and orange

If you think about it, that’s exactly how some people behave.

A life is a very individual thing. People derive joy from different things and they derive meaning for their lives from different pursuits. Who is anyone to tell anyone that there is a right or wrong way to live life?

If you have a really convincing reason to support your belief, then good, go ahead and believe it.

If you cannot come up with a valid reason, then ask yourself why you’re believing something blindly.

Then tell me again why you believe that people who spend a lot of time online are sad and have no life.

23 thoughts on “You are sad and have no life

  1. Avatar

    Very lengthy post, I’d read it in detail again later.

    I suppose people who spends alot of time online, and enjoys it, are not living ‘life’ in a conventional way… to the more ‘normal’ people that is; people who are comfortable with not knowing how to utilise some of the more basic computer/web tools/functions.

    I’ll try to present my reasonings in a more comprehensive manner, but we all know I suck at that.

    The term ‘get a life’ has been thrown around too simply, and it is often used on people who spends far too much time on a certain area/hobby/interest than a ‘normal’ person would. Bear in mind the term ‘normal’ is being used very, very loosely here.

    Now, with the invention of internet and the improvement thereof, the masses are given the opportunity to explore a new ‘world’, the virtual world that is seemingly without boundaries. The concept of having the access to the rest of the world while you’re at your own home is intriguing to many people.

    The internet is relative to the advancement of technology today, as almost everything revolves around it. Transactions are being carried out online, whether they are your simple grocery shopping, pay your credit card bills and so on. I must stress here that many people are still phobic about dealing with money online because they have this unusual perception that it’s risky and dangerous, others may steal you data and what not. Well, you don’t need to look too far to find the real life counterpart of fraud *cough*ris low*cough*. Why don’t they realise it’s as easy for them to get conned in the real world as they would in the virtual world is … well … i think it’s ignorance.

    Going back to the issue, I think it’s a sub-conscious form of resistance towards where the world is heading to. The people who perceives that people who seems to be addicted to the internet needs a life… is because they do not approve of that way of life. Similarly, if you throw that person into another civilisation, for instance, amish(sp?)… people there are living their life fairly well, but the ordinary city dweller might find it hard to cope, and it’s not his version of ‘life’.

    Too often I have people telling me to ‘grow up’ and ‘get a life’ when all I see is that they smoke, drink, party all night… really, I dont’ enjoy that. If anything, I’m sorry I don’t behave according to the social norm, but I rather be an outcast than to have lived my life like how the rest of the world would rather how I live it, and I find it miserable.

    Then there is also the irony, that the less technologically informed people, who are trying to resist getting caught in the ‘change’, are dependent on ‘geeks’ because they wouldn’t want to loose out on what the latest gadgets have to offer.

  2. Avatar

    The fact that you spent hours writing this post defending someone who spends most of their time in front of a computer and comparing that type of person to a monk who is worlds above such lowly things, just goes to show that you have no idea what a monk is and you are just another lost, lonely internet slob.

    Your comparisons are nothing short of shortsightedness and ignorance. The Internet slug/Monk comparison has got to be your most ignorant you yet.

  3. Avatar

    * They don’t go out and socialise.
    What about Facebook, Twitter, Plurk?
    * They spend their lives engrossed in only one pursuit.
    One pursuit? Please. People can do wonders by multitasking between work (email, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc) and play (email, social networking, gaming, etc)
    * They don’t go to the movies.
    How about iTunes (though it’s not available in Singapore)? Else order DVDs, Blurays, etc on Amazon or eBay and watch movies at your own convenience.
    * They don’t go clubbing and partying.
    Just invite friends via MSN, Twitter, Facebook or Plurk to come over and parteey!
    * They don’t play tennis or golf or basketball.
    Uh, Wii?
    * They don’t go out wining and dining.
    Same as party. Or McDelivery.

  4. Avatar

    Actually Yoi has some pretty well thought-out reasoning for explaining why it is what it is and uses comparisons in the “hard coded” world (Amish vs city folk) to explain his reasoning.

    I can’t argue with that.

    His argument explains the reasoning behind why it is happening. Why it is what it is.

    It’s not a justification however, which Sheylara is looking for I thnk.

    On the other hand 6irard just reinforced why it’s not a good thing to be locked up behind a computer most of your life. Impracticality and no social skills.

  5. Avatar

    So, if you must have valid reasons for criticizing the virtual/online life over the active/real life, here are a few, just for starters.

    * Being outdoors and exercising is better that sitting in front of a computer most of your life. It’s good for the body and mind, which you have to live with and care for while you are here.

    * Getting out enables creativity while sitting in front of a computer most of your life encourages repetitiveness.

    * Meeting people in person requires that you have to be genuine most of the time. Sitting in front of a computer most of your life allows to you be fake, allows you to choose to be somebody else and/or have your emails and comments misinterpreted because emotions don’t transmit well electronically.

    * Being around people teaches you how to interact sociably with all of the emotions that go with it. Sitting in front of a computer most of your life teaches you how to hide behind a mouse and keyboard when things get tough or you are unable to handle a situation.

    * No one has ever made a huge impact/impression by spending most of their life in front of a computer. People like your idol Angelina Jolie, or Nelson Mandela, or Buddha or countless other people have made an impression/impact by getting out among people and doing things to serve others, not themselves.

    * To most grounded people a computer is a tool. Spending most of your life behind a computer, or anything for that matter, you see it as a lifestyle.

    * Your body actually requires that you get up and go outside. Your mind actually requires some outside stimulus to function. Sitting in front of a computer promotes complacency.

    Ever wonder why you are not getting enough sleep or not being able to sleep well? Maybe it’s your mind AND body telling you that more is needed to sustain them. They will quit on you, if you quit on them. But then again, you seem to think you know everything and have a canned answer (a product of spending too much time on line) ready to go when things get tough, so what people comment in response to your post won’t solicit a positive reaction from you unless they agree with it.

    Actually Sheylara, you are shining example of why a person SHOULD NOT spend most of their life in front of a computer. Most people who do, usually end up exactly where you are right now.

  6. Avatar

    Well Sheylara, you don’t really need to figure how to change these people think. They think they know best and so be it. At the end of the day, we live the kind of life that we’re happy living AND we can AFFORD to live. Those who need to get into a club or a KTV or hang out with friends at starbucks in order to FEEL GOOD, then let me call them NO LIFE!

  7. Avatar

    Hi Sheylara, i really like this post. Not because i’m a geek but it really does make sense. You can’t call a monk no lifer. People will always say no matter what you do. At the end of the day, it’s always up to you to decide what is right and wrong for yourself. You can never make everyone happy but you must always make yourself happy! Do things that you enjoy, not things that others tell you should enjoy :)

  8. Avatar

    Knox, that is the most insightful advice I have ever read on this blog. It doesn’t matter if anyone else agrees or disagrees with what you do. If it makes you happy and you aren’t hurting anyone, do it. Who cares what other people think? It only matters what you think.

    Sound advie, Knox.

  9. Avatar

    Jeff Lon, if it really only matters what you think, then why are you trying to care what Sheylara thinks? LOL That looked like swinging an axe into your own foot. Ouch!

  10. Avatar

    She said, and I quote “What I really want to comment on is that some people criticise virtual living without actually having valid reasons to criticise it”

    I was giving validity to the argument for people who don’t agree with virtual living.

    I didn’t say that I agree with them, now did I?

    See what I mean by “……or have your emails and comments misinterpreted because emotions don’t transmit well electronically.

    My mostly her reasoning and compairsons are ignorant.

    Knox, had the only valid argument that matters. If you like it, do it. Simple and easy.

  11. Avatar

    Jeff Lon

    And you are being ignorant here. It’s her life, let her do what she likes doing. Like wise, how you wanna mess up yours is no business of mine.

    Seems to me that you check this post for new comments very often. You have nothing more important to do?

    Hope you are happy with your life :P

  12. Avatar

    It all boils down to a matter of perspective and approving/disapproving one’s way of life by another. We all know about the pros and cons of this and that. There’s no need to explore further in that.

    Nor was I trying to justify my preferences or choices in life. I’m sure Shey doesn’t need to answer to anyone on how she decides to live her life, similarly, I don’t expect you to answer to anyone but yourself, Jeff Lon.

    … then again I do agree that ‘your’ life is not your own. If the path you’re threading is leading towards ruin and damnation (not healthy enough, spending too much time with the virtual world when you have a family and so on) then it isn’t appropriate.

    Lastly, while I have learnt how to, and know how/when to not poke my finger into someone else’s decision e.g. telling someone “GROW UP” or “GET A LIFE”, I’d just hope the rest of the world would share the same sentiment. For instance, smokers, we all there’s nothing good that comes from it, as idiotic and apparent the notion of puffing away your life may appear, I’d respect that person’s decision to not to quit and keep quiet about it even though he/she is extremely close to me.

    p/s: Jeff Lon, shey works out pretty often, I think.

  13. Avatar

    Quote of the day

    “I may disagree with how you want to live your life, but I will defend to the death your right to live it the way you want!”

  14. Avatar

    @Sheylara: “Why are you being a jerk? Because its fun.” Had me giggling right there. Truer words were never spoken, heh:) Of course, “Because I can.” works too:)

    @The Smart One: Good adaptation of the “right to free speech” quote:)

  15. Avatar

    There is no right or wrong for staying home online or going out physically, For me is depend on the mood, sometime feel staying at home chating online, playing online game or simply Watch movie is fine, or just meet friends for movie, dinner or gathering, you will not keep staying at home or keep going out all the time, i guess balancing is the key, like what sheylara said do whatever you like as long as you feel happy, as long not affecting your lifestyle, don’t need to take it too hard on what people say on you, simply because they are not you, thinking won’t be the same.

  16. Avatar

    I am reading an interesting book, “The Kids are Alright”, by a couple of baby boomer management consultants trying to explain the kids of the gamer generation to baby boomer managers. And I am enjoying it, it is explaining to me how these old farts think.

    But I find that the psychology of it all is not so much age-oriented; there are older gamers (like me) and there are younger jocks who think much like the baby boomers that raped our world dry and are leaving the rest of us to fix the problem. So there are young people who just do not, and will not, understand us, just like most people of my age don’t understand us.

    So what?
    I don’t care that they cannot understand, and I see no need to explain it to them.

    They are history.
    And the future is ours.

  17. Avatar

    Hey wheres my next Sheylara fix. Sheylara seems to be slowing down a bit. Looks like the readers are trying to make up by writing long dissertations but it doesnt work somehow.

  18. Avatar

    I have no life and im very sad now. I have only one or two friend to hang out with. I dont like to talk so much in my real life and online life. Im 19 years old now and i have no single girlfriend in my life->>>very very sad. I should listen to my parent that time they told me dont play too much computer. For me now its too late, nobody can help me, no one understand me, i feel like going to commit suicide. My real life is gone forever….i want a life : hang out with friend, have many girlfriend, go pub to flirt hot girls, know how to dress up->>i want this life before im 30 years old before i can go have a family and become rich. I know i think too much, i will never had that kind of life.

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