Are you stuck at home, or feel shy about going out on your own to meet new people? The internet is a great place to shake off your shyness, meet new people from around the world, and form friendships with people who share your interests and passions. It’s not hard to learn how to make friends online. Just like when you walk in the door of a social event, you want to get a feel for the place and how the people are interacting.
You can tell from the comment conversations if these people will be ones you can relate to or not. Identify users who share your interests. Once you’re signed up on a website, it’s time to find users you think might make good friends for you. The easiest place to start is identifying others who share your interests. If you see a comment someone left about how much they love soccer or baking, and you love that thing too, you may want to pursue friendship with that person.
Even though you’ll likely want to join more than one website—which means you’ll be setting up several user accounts—you want to be able to remember them all. Creating a username that you can use across all the websites is useful for this. You may have to tweak the name for different sites, but in general the similar name will prevent you from getting confused. Use a different password for each site to protect your identity. This way others will see your interests and may contact you first. Make intelligent, unbiased comments so that you garner favor among commenters. Some online communities have introduction message boards.
This information will provide a way for other users to connect with you. For example, someone from the same city or age group may be excited to contact you. You can also find other users with your interests by scanning this board. If you want to start relationships with users who have specific interests, but you don’t want the bias already present on other message boards, starting your own group or message board might be the way to go. You can attract other users to join this group by commenting about it on similar threads. An easy way to make friends is to play online video games. A lot of online games today have a vocal component, so that you are playing the game and talking to other users at the same time.
You can build relationships verbally rather than via text through games like Minecraft, Call of Duty, and many more. Be aware that starting your own team and recruiting people to join it might create hostility in a game, so try to wait until people are interested and agreeable before starting your new team. Maintaining the norm for typing helps people like you since this standard is widely understood, even internationally. Using all caps, or a mix of uppercase and lowercase, or fancy scripts, is difficult to read and makes you seem pretentious or needy if no one else is doing this.
In your comments, don’t be biased or rude. Although you want to be able to express yourself, jumping into a conversation with your guns blazing makes people want to get away from you, especially if they disagree. Instead, maintain a polite and kind demeanor—even when you do disagree—to avoid polarizing the conversation and losing friends before you even start. Online spaces are just as particular about this as real-life places. This fact is easy to forget on online, where you aren’t seeing people’s body language. To get to know people, you want to show interest in their lives just like in real life.
Show interest by asking pertinent questions that aren’t awkward or embarrassing to answer. You may find that they ask you questions in return. Just like in real life, listening is a key for making online friendships. Be open about your life when you are asked questions, because just like in real life, being shy will push most people away. You can’t build a friendship if there isn’t both give and take. Once you have established a solid rapport with someone and feel that they are a safe friendship, you may want to exchange email addresses.
Another option is to exchange instant messaging and social media usernames. Only do this with an online friend that you trust, however. Just like in real life, you have to communicate with people in order to stay friends with them. This means replying to messages, to posts, and asking questions and making inquiries about people before they ask you. It also keeps your name in front of them so that you don’t get forgotten. Tag others in your comments to include them, share ideas, and encourage conversation. Think about setting up phone calls.
If your friendship is going well and you have made sure that someone is safe, you may want to consider talking on the phone. Although this mode of communication is already in place for most online gaming, not so for most websites. Phone chats are fun because they make communication instant, deepening your friendship. Both phone chats and real-life meetings are normal parts of online dating sites. Conflict with online friends is inevitable, just like it is in real life. And just like real life, you want to deal with it so that your reputation doesn’t become tarnished with other users. You can often sense when an online interaction is unsafe by paying attention to the way a person phrases things.
If they keep pressuring you to give personal information, payment information, or your specific location, this is a red flag. Leave a chat if you feel uncomfortable. There is no rule that says you can’t simply close out of a chat or delete an email without any explanation. Doing so is wise if you ever feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. Even though plenty of people lie about their age in order to access particular websites or deceive people for personal gain, plenty of others are honest about their age.