My friend wants to move in with a man she hasn’t met

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-time worker in my 20s. I’d like some advice regarding one of my friends who recently told me she plans to start living with a man she came to know through online live streaming.

I learned she will move in a couple of years when I talked with her for the first time in a long while. I asked her in detail to find that she will move to live with the man, whom she came to know on the internet. Surprisingly, she also said she had never met him in person.

In my opinion the internet is heartless. I told her it’s dangerous to live with him, but she just said it’s all right since she talks with him every day. I told her what I think, carefully choosing my words. But in the end she said, “Don’t speak ill of this.” She also said, “I want you to watch over us.”

She must have other chances to meet someone. She does not have to rely on the internet to find a boyfriend. Do you think I can just leave her alone?

O, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Dear Ms. O:

There are people who coaxingly cheat people out of money or force others into illicit relations online. But there are also cases where you are deceived by people you meet in person.

Can we put all the blame on the internet?

I went to Singapore on business recently. Since I had no lunch date, I invited people to join me for lunch by posting this message on Facebook: “Is there anyone who wants to have lunch with me?”

More than 10 people joined me. I knew only one of them in person, but they were all joyful people. I learned many things from them.

You can get an idea of what kind of person someone is even online by reading some of their past posts or messages. I personally don’t think meeting someone on the internet is always a bad thing.

More importantly, your friend has a different character from you.

I can truly see that you care about your friend. But I suggest you just say something like, “Why don’t you meet him once before moving in?” After telling her that you care about her, you can watch over her with care, as she wants.

What you said might have sounded to her like a unilateral imposition of values — the internet is cold like stone. No one likes to have values imposed on them. Please consider that, too.

Haruaki Deguchi, university president

(from May 21, 2019, issue)Speech

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