The only way to make friends online

by Jack Smith

Today everyone uses some form of social media. While Facebook has reigned supreme for years now, younger generations are increasingly moving to apps like Instagram and TikTok. Whatever your preference is, social media is a great way to meet new people. Follow our guidelines to ensure you are doing it in the right way.

The days when your mum told you not to talk to strangers are long gone. Today she is likely engaging in a YouTube comment war about people who eat Tide pods. Meeting people online is now totally normal and socially accepted. While there are many applications specifically designed to meet new people for friendships (bumble), hobbies (meetup), or romance (too many to mention) people are also becoming closer on the standard social media platforms as well.

On Facebook for example while no one really posts anything on their own wall any more people increasingly use the group functions. There are more and more groups that are being set up about a shared passion whether it is listening to The National or ax throwing. Here people are finding kindred spirits and it doesn’t take long before friendships start to blossom. While this is fantastic you should still be cautious. 

The online community is still full of hustlers and cheats. Catfish are people who pretend to be someone they are not. The best way to approach friendships that begin on social media is with an open and warm heart but also skepticism. You can be trusting and untrusting at the same time. Be trusting enough that you tell someone what your favorite National song really is, but don’t be trusting enough to tell anyone your address. The reality is that that 43-year-old woman with four children could also be a 29-year-old male how is not interested in how you braided your daughter’s hair.

A common way people find themselves in a difficult spot is that they invite someone from one platform to another. If you are chatting to someone on Tinder and they ask for your Instagram handle it can seem harmless. However, be careful. The majority of my posts on Instagram have a location tag. The industry I work in is quite niche and there are only a number of companies in my town who could employ me. From being an unknown entity on the world wide web, I could now be tracked down easily and a strange person could be outside my place of work and following me by tomorrow if I am not careful.

This post is not to scare you but just to tell you to be careful with what content you put online. Once you put anything online, even if you delete it, you should treat it as still out there. Once it has been put on the internet it is there forever. With all that caution said, it is still a great place to meet new people.

Consider the old way of making friends. Whoever your teacher sat you next to in school likely became your best friend, most of us didn’t get new best friends until university or work. Now you have the opportunity to be friends with people who actually have the same weird interests as you. There has never been a better moment in history for making new friends or strong bonds, yet there has never been a more dangerous time either. 

If you approach making friends on social media with a little skepticism then it can go really well. If you ever decide to take an online friendship into the real world, always make sure someone you know in the real world is there too. Other than that, enjoy it!

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