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Real Life vs. Reality: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 2, 2024
Real life refers to actual experiences and events in the physical world, whereas reality encompasses all that is, including abstract concepts and perceptions.

Key Differences

Real life is often considered the sum of one's personal experiences and interactions in the physical world, including work, relationships, and daily activities. Reality, in contrast, is a broader concept that includes not only the tangible aspects of the world but also abstract elements such as ideas, emotions, and perceptions.
Real life is typically associated with the practical, everyday aspects of existence, where actions have direct, observable consequences. Reality, however, can extend to philosophical and existential realms, questioning the nature of existence and the universe.
In real life, individuals navigate through a physical environment, making choices based on personal circumstances and societal norms. Reality encompasses these elements but also delves into the subjective experiences of individuals, acknowledging that different people may perceive the same situation differently.
Real life tends to focus on the concrete and the immediate, grounded in what can be seen, touched, and experienced directly. Reality, on the other hand, includes not only the physical world but also the mental and metaphysical dimensions of existence.
Real life is something people often wish to escape from or improve, while reality is a concept they seek to understand or accept. Understanding reality is crucial for philosophical and spiritual pursuits, whereas managing real life is essential for practical and day-to-day survival.

Comparison Chart


Physical, tangible experiences and events
All that exists, including abstract ideas


Practical, everyday activities
Broader existential concepts


Objective, based on direct experience
Subjective, varies with individual


Immediate, practical concerns
Philosophical, existential inquiries


Altered by actions and decisions
More constant, less influenced by actions

Real Life and Reality Definitions

Real Life

Daily experiences and interactions in a person's environment.
Real life can be more challenging than it appears in movies.


The sum of all existent phenomena, including abstract concepts.
In reality, people's behaviors are influenced by many factors.

Real Life

The practical aspects of human existence, including work and relationships.
Balancing work and family is a real life struggle for many.


The quality of being actual or true, as opposed to imaginary.
The reality of her achievement struck her only later.

Real Life

The non-digital, non-fictional aspect of one's existence.
He prefers to meet friends in real life rather than online.


A term encompassing the actual world, including all of its elements.
Virtual reality tries to simulate aspects of the real world.

Real Life

The ordinary, day-to-day happenings in a person's life.
She documents her real life journey on her blog.


The state of things as they actually exist, beyond personal perceptions.
The reality of the situation was much different than what we imagined.

Real Life

The routine existence of individuals in a physical, tangible world.
In real life, she is a teacher, not a celebrity.


The fundamental nature of existence as opposed to fantasy.
He was more interested in exploring reality than fictional worlds.

Real Life

Actually happening or having happened; not fictional
A documentary with footage of real-life police chases.


The quality or state of being actual or true.

Real Life

As happens in real life; not fictional or theoretical; actual as opposed to believed or assumed.
He was a real-life detective before playing one in the movies.


One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual
"the weight of history and political realities" (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.).


How does philosophy view reality?

Philosophy often views reality as the fundamental nature of existence and the universe.

Can reality be subjective?

Yes, reality can be subjective as it encompasses individual perceptions and interpretations.

Can real life be different for different people?

Yes, real life can vary greatly based on personal circumstances and environments.

Does everyone perceive reality in the same way?

No, individual experiences and perceptions lead to different understandings of reality.

How is reality different from real life?

Reality includes all that exists, including abstract concepts, while real life is more about tangible experiences.

Is virtual reality part of real life?

Virtual reality simulates aspects of real life but is not part of the physical, tangible world.

Is real life always practical and mundane?

Not necessarily; real life can also include extraordinary and significant experiences.

Is reality influenced by our beliefs?

While reality itself is constant, our perception of it can be influenced by our beliefs.

What defines real life?

Real life is defined by actual, tangible experiences and events in the physical world.

Is reality constant for everyone?

The basic structure of reality is constant, but perceptions of it can differ among individuals.

Does reality include the spiritual world?

Some philosophies and beliefs consider the spiritual world as part of the broader reality.

Is real life limited to human experiences?

Real life primarily refers to human experiences, though it can include interactions with the environment and other species.

How do personal experiences shape our reality?

Personal experiences play a crucial role in shaping an individual's perception and understanding of reality.

How do movies depict real life?

Movies often depict a stylized or exaggerated version of real life.

Can reality be proven?

Certain aspects of reality can be proven through empirical evidence, while others remain a matter of perception.

Can our understanding of reality change?

Yes, as we gain new information and experiences, our understanding of reality can evolve.

How do social media portray real life?

Social media often shows a curated, idealized version of real life.

Can science explain all of reality?

Science seeks to explain observable aspects of reality, but some elements may remain unexplained.

How does culture influence real life?

Culture significantly shapes the experiences, values, and norms in a person's real life.

Can real life include fictional elements?

Real life is typically separate from fiction, though imagination can play a role in personal experiences.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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