It's safe to say that, thanks to the Internet, a lot has changed in the past decades regarding socialization. Back in the day, the only way to meet new people was with the help of offline events. However, as years passed by, new forms of socialization were created. Various social networking services keep getting launched almost every year, each promising innovative ways to find new friends in your area and stay in touch with them in the online world. Popular services like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are household names when it comes to meeting new people or finding friends on the Internet.
Probably anyone from the young generation has at least one friend who he or she met on the Internet and kept an online friendship for a long period of time. Here are several reasons why some choose to meet friends online: to join them in various types of online activities (play online games, exchange game items, etc.), to find THE ONE (dating websites), to popularize your friends list from your social network account (to promote a product, event, etc.), and many others. If the first reason applies to you, then you should also check this article, which teaches you how to share Steam games with your online friends.
However, there are a few things you need to consider when making friends online.
Find compatible online friends
Whether you're looking for Internet friends on an online community or social network website, it's very important to do a little research to see if you and your prospective friend match. You would need to have some things in common with the person in question so that the friendship can last. For example, you could be looking at recent posts to see if you relate to his or her points of view, find out if you have similar passions or hobbies, learn if you play similar online games, and so on. If you're looking for a new friend on, let's say, a woodworking forum, the things you would need to learn would be: the types of products he or she makes, used techniques into building furniture, etc.
Once you're sure you've found a compatible new friend, send your request and wait for the reply.
Join a conversation
In the event of a positive request reply, your next step is to engage in a conversation. Find a suitable way to introduce yourself. It's best you keep it simple and avoid offering too much information about yourself and let your new friend ask the questions she or he wants. Be polite, don't cross the line with personal questions, and always keep a positive vibe in your conversation. If indeed you're compatible, you will most likely share more conversations and even become best of friends. Personally, I met many friends online and managed to stay in touch with them, even though they live abroad, all thanks to common interests (music) and, of course, the Internet.
Sadly, the Internet is also a dangerous place and not just somewhere you might meet new friends. One of the dangers you might be exposed to while making connections with strangers in the online world is the identity theft. So, it's very important to make sure you don't share private information, like social security number, credit card details, or other personal data. You might end up losing money, dealing with dangerous people in real life, and so on.
Another thing that's worth mentioning is that you have nothing to lose if you decide to leave a chat room. If the conversation makes you feel uncomfortable or simply don't connect with the person in question, you can always close the chat and / or delete your account. For example, multiple social network services offer you solutions for these types of situations: you can block certain users and even report them if they were inappropriate.
As you can see, making friends online is very simple. The tricky part is keeping the friendship going. My question for you is: can online friends become real friends? Let us know in the comments section below.