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  1. #1
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Default How Do I Stop the Online Forums From Taking Over My Life?

    How do I stop the online forums from taking over my life?
    Don't get me wrong, I love posting here and reading all your posts but I feel like lately that online forums are dominating my life. If forum addiction was a disorder, I think I have it. Lately I'm averaging several hours a day on online forums. This one is the main one I read and post to but I am moderately active on a socionics and an enneagram forum as well. Plus there are a few smaller forums I check every now and then. When at work, I'm thinking about how I can't wait until I get home so I can check my favorite forums. When driving the car, I'll think or see something interesting and think "I can't wait to get home and make a post about it!"

    I'm not planning to quit forums or anything. Far from it. But I do feel like my life is lacking balance, with online forums partly to blame for it. I'd like to get out more. I've got a big pile of books I'd like to read that I never get around to. I have friends I haven't contacted in a while. I have my own personal projects that I'd like to get done. I should be spending more time trying to find a better job. Etc.

    So I'm starting to make some rules to make myself less forum obsessed and more balanced in life. One thing I'm finding helpful is not feeling like I have to read every word in every post. Skimming is okay. Mousing over the titles of threads is helpful in deciding if a thread is likely to be worth my time. I'd like to read more of the peoples' blogs on here but I just can't read them all. There's too many of them. So I've limited it to a few.

    Another thing is I've limited myself to reading the forum once per day. This is challenging because I'll be doing something else and will be tempted to log into the forum again to check replies to a thread I made or post that new insight. If I could do just that only, it wouldn't be such a problem but once I'm logged in again, I'm reading a whole bunch of other posts and replying. It saves time in the long run to limit myself to one session a day (although some sessions can still take a few hours.)

    I have mixed feelings about setting a specific time limit. Ideally I'd like to get down to one hour a day maximum on forums. Yet, setting limits like that feels restrictive. What if the forums posts are particularly interesting? I'll likely spend more time. What if I get a sudden inspiration to post things?

    I'd like to hear your ideas on how you balance forum usage with the rest of the things on your life?
    INtp
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  2. #2
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    Get out, get your hands dirty, find real-life stuff that you enjoy.
    Go here for relaxation and discussion, but look to real life for action.
    If you sit away a few years, you'll realize how little you got done.
    What a waste of time it was.

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  3. #3
    Ginkgo
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    What about forums do you like? Maybe you could find something that has similar desirable aspects and devote some time/thought into that. That way the forums aren't all consuming.

    I like forums because you provide a social outlet. My real life friends aren't always present or willing to hang out. There are other things that I enjoy as well.

  4. #4
    The Duchess of Oddity Queen Kat's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Tater. Guess why I started forumming years ago? I didn't get the love and attention I wanted in the real world and I realized that forums were the perfect way to escape from everyday life. There I felt like people actually listened to me (well, not all the time, but a lot more than in the real world). My peers hated me, my teachers disliked me too, my family members only cared about themselves and I had way too many issues I couldn't solve on my own. When I had problems, I couldn't ask anyone for help. At least not in the real world. When I put down one of my problems in a forum, there was a chance someone actually gave me a solution for my problems. Even better, multiple people could give me multiple solutions for my problems. Online I felt like people actually cared, even though I didn't know them at all.

    Nowadays I don't have that much problems anymore. My family has turned less egocentric, I discovered that there are actually nice people in this world and if I have a problem I can drop it anywhere. But there's still a part of me that I have to hide. Well, have to is a big word, but I feel uncomfortable showing that side of me. You know, the worries, the things that annoy me, the embarrassing tales my totally handicapped love life, the things I'm ashamed of, the big mistakes I make frequently that I'll never tell my parents about. Forums are like secret diaries, but secret diaries that talk back, comfort you and give advice. Okay, most things I also tell a few friends about, but they're too nice to me and they're not all that objective. So, that's it for me.


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  5. #5
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    What about forums do you like? Maybe you could find something that has similar desirable aspects and devote some time/thought into that. That way the forums aren't all consuming.

    I like forums because you provide a social outlet. My real life friends aren't always present or willing to hang out. There are other things that I enjoy as well.

    I like forums for many reasons including the social outlet you mention.

    I'm one of those paradoxical enneagram 5's that's a social subtype. So I do crave the social contact, yet I'm very reserved. Online forums are one way I can have my cake and eat it too. When I don't feel like socializing, I can just log out. If there's someone on the forum I'm not comfortable with, I can choose to ignore them. It's harder to do that in real life.

    Sometimes with real social interactions people talk about things that don't interest me. Here on the forum, I can choose what topics to read and which to ignore. Here, everyone shares a common interest, the one I'm most passionate about: personality typology. The majority of people in the real world do not have that interest.

    I also want to add that sometimes in real-time social interactions, I feel like its hard to get a word in edgewise. I don't think as quickly on my feet to come up with a good response and its often until well after the social interaction has ended that I've come up with what I've should have said. With online forums, I'm in my element because I communicate best in writing. I can wait to formulate my response and have time to think things through.

    I also get music suggestions, funny videos, and pictures to view. So there's the entertainment aspect of it as well.
    INtp
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  6. #6
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Ride a bike. It's hard to post when you have to look where you're going. lol

  7. #7
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Playing WoW has worked helped keep the forum from taking over my life, but that doesn't sound like the kind of solution you're looking for.

    Do you have any kind of routine already in place that you could build off of? For example, if you already go to school or work, you could make yourself stay out for awhile longer afterward -- I know once I get home it's hard to make myself leave my nice, comfy internet connected cave.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  8. #8
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Develop some self-discipline?

    Failing that, cancel your broadband.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Trentham's Avatar
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    It can be difficult in most real life settings to find the variety of ideas, viewpoints, knowlege and shared interests that you'll find in any given forum. That's the main draw for me. The relative anonymity also makes it easier for introverts to express themselves without so much reserve as they'd probably experience in a live conversation. A forum can indeed be a very important social outlet because it creates a real sense of belonging for people who aren't accustomed to feeling that way.

    The best way to break from that pattern, then, would be to seek out and find individuals in real life who share the ideas and interests that draw you to the forum. In all likelihood this will not be so easy as bumping into a kindred spirit in the grocery checkout line. Look for groups who share a common interest of yours, and attend one of their real-life meetings. You might be surprised at how refreshing real-life interaction can be when the right people are involved.
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