Making Friends Online

Making Friends Online

When’s the last time you met someone awesome online? I’d guess, yesterday? Or early this morning? Meeting awesome people online is what afforded me the opportunity to write this post and share it with you! The internet is a fantastic connector of people, but sometimes it can get a little...awkward. So how do you go about making friends online in the best possible way?

With trending hashtags, community-centered businesses and tell-all Instagram accounts, all types of people are only a click away. And with a wealth of information at your fingertips - the opportunity to curate your interactions from the safety of your keyboard seems simpler than having to go outside and meet someone. But is it really?

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when making friends online:

  • Take your time: It might be easy to get swept up in the idea of someone after seeing two Instagram posts and a YouTube video, but there’s a lot more to a person than a well-photographed social media presence. Take the time to engage with people online, in public forums. Read their captions, even if the pictures are prettier to look at. Observe how they respond to others, listen to the things they care about. Ask questions that will give you a glimmer into their personality and character. Now, this is not speed dating or a job interview - but it’s definitely worth your while to get to know someone before you punch out that “we should meet for coffee” message! How many times have you followed someone because their Instagram account looked beautiful, only to find that you have nothing in common?
  • Friends in your head: Back to meeting awesome people online, sometimes that is exactly what happens. You meet great, inspirational guys and gals who are taking the same course as you or working in the field you’d like to work in one day. But even though you’d love to be lunch buddies or connect over email, your friendship may be limited to emojis and one-word comments. People join social media for various reasons, and to some, building friendships just isn’t a part of it. That doesn’t mean your favorite Facebooker can’t be a friend in your head! Learn from them, enjoy their content, and call it a day.
  • Get some fresh air: Social media has become a great way to share about communal gatherings and in-person events. If you’d like to see what your Twitter pal is like IRL, this is a great way to do it without being creepy or putting yourself at risk. Do the local meetups and join in the offline action - you might just meet some new friends too! This is a smarter, safer step to take before reaching out for a solo breakfast or lunch. Making small talk can be awkward, but when you’re in a group, you can leave at any time if it’s just not your vibe.
  • Put yourself out there: If you’ve been talking to someone online for a minute, and feel like the two of you would be great friends, it might be time to put caution to the wind. While some people just hit it off and become best friends forever without having a single conversation on the matter, you might need to speak up! Social media can be a safe haven for introverted, socially awkward or conservative people! If you’re unsure if you’re friends-friends or FRIENDS, maybe reach out with a sweet compliment and see where that takes you. There’s nothing worse than sitting with unmet expectations when the other party would have been interested in a friendship too.
  • All in all, the internet is a fantastic spot to engage with people from all walks of life and every corner of the earth. If you’re ready to make friends online, stay safe and do regular check-ins with yourself to make sure any wishes you have are healthy, uplifting, and in the best interest of all parties involved.

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