As kids, most people were taught not to talk to strangers. Growing up this means that many people were afraid to make friends online because they don’t know who is on the other side. But talking to strangers is how you can make friends online, and possibly, for life. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
1. Use social media to find friends
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to find friends who share your interests. Join groups or follow people who post about things you’re interested in, and you’ll quickly build a network of friends.
Of course, online friends are different from the ones you created in person, but this doesn’t mean they’re not real friendships. The internet allows you to find people who share your interests, no matter where they are in the world.
2. Connect with new friends on forums and chatrooms
There are many websites where you can connect with people from all over the world who share your interests. Forums and chatrooms are a great way to meet new people and make friends without ever leaving your home.
If you have a specific interest that you want to focus on, you can find a virtual community platform that will allow you to meet like-minded people who share your love for a game, art, TV show, or anything else. This way, you’ll already have conversation starters with your new friends.
3. Don’t be shy to send friend requests
If you see someone on social media or forums who you think would make a good friend, don’t be afraid to send them a friend request or write to ask them if they’d like to chat. You might be nervous about sounding like a creep, but most people will be flattered by the request and happy to keep in touch with you.
Of course, there are certain unspoken rules that you’ll need to follow when trying to make friends online, such as not getting too personal too quickly and not sending messages that are just spam. Follow these rules to give people the chance to get to know the real you.
4. Use dating websites to find friends-of-friends
If you’re looking for friends who live nearby, dating websites can be a good place to start. Many people use the site to meet friends of friends, and some even make long-term friendships from online dating sites. You may not find friends immediately, but it’s worth a shot if you’re looking for people nearby to meet up with.
Besides, it’s not like you’ll be losing anything if you get rejected. And it’s not like you’ll be rejected after putting so much effort into your profile anyway, right? So, don’t be afraid — give it a try!
5. Be a friend when you’re asked for one
It can be difficult to know what to do when someone asks if you want to be friends, especially if you’re not sure whether the person is only asking because they need something. But even if that’s the case, it doesn’t hurt to be nice and accept their friend request.
You never know how it can go, and you’ll make new friends for life if you’re a good one. So, go ahead and be that kind person that everybody wants as a friend. You can’t lose anything — you’ll gain a friend if you’re nice and caring, and lose nothing if you don’t like that person.
6. Stay positive and be friendly
When you’re making friends online, it can be easy to forget that people behind the screen are actual human beings with feelings and emotions. But a friendly tone and positive attitude will help you get along with anyone, even if they’re in a different time zone.
The internet can be a harsh place, especially forums and chatrooms where people are freer with their opinions. But that doesn’t mean everyone will be like this — most people will be friendly and welcoming if you are the same. Just remember that they’re a real person, no matter how much you may not like what they’re saying.
7. The golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated
Even if it’s difficult, try to remember that other people online are also real and deserve respect. Treat them like you would want to be treated if you were in their position, and not like how you think they deserve.
For example, if you wouldn’t call your best friend a ‘retard’ to their face, don’t do it online either. Not everyone is alike, so remember to treat each person on their own merits, not based on what you think about their opinions.
Don’t be afraid to say hi! These are just a few tips for making friends online, but if you put a bit of work in you can make some wonderful friends with people from all over the world. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll meet your new best friend in person at one of your local meetups.