If you’re like me and you’re into online culture — the culture of YouTube, social media, connecting with people virtually, etc. — then you probably, most likely, know or know of people that you feel like you can connect with and feel like you already know on a personal level. I am so deep in this realm of “online culture” that I’ve reached a point where I can’t even distinguish the difference between an online friend and a friend IRL (or “in real life”).
I felt compelled, nay inspired, to blog about this topic mainly because I just got off a Skype call with my friend Sam.
Meet Sam 🌸
We met through Twitter because we were both online auditioning for Pinoy Big Brother. Pinoy Big Brother, commonly known as PBB, is a Filipino reality television show aired in the Philippines. We were both auditioning and Sam reached out to me to ask me if I got in 😅 I didn’t get in, but because of that connection, we’ve been friends since.
Sam knew me long before my #FILAMFANGIRL days started. She lives in a time zone where she wakes up when I’m just about to go to bed (that is, if she woke up at 6am and I slept at 10pm). In her Belgium world, it’s snowing at this time of year and spring break is in a two weeks! In my world, we had a trickle of rain yesterday, but this whole week it has been mostly sunny.
She also speaks four languages, two of which I could communicate with: English and Tagalog. Most of our communication is through social media and messengers, and we’ve only Skyped twice in the year that we’ve known each other.
Even though it is a rare occasion when Sam and I are awake at the same time, it’s always a good time when we are able to talk to each other. I consider Sam one of my genuine friends who I’ve had the honor of meeting because of online culture.
I sincerely hope I’ll be able to meet Sam and all my other online friends someday.
Her tweet (below) is a perfect depiction of how I feel when it comes to knowing people versus knowing of people.
‼️ DISCLAIMER: STAY SAFE WHEN MEETING PEOPLE ONLINE ‼️
Before I go into my advice about making genuine friends online, please please please please keep in mind that when you do talk to and/or meet up with people, do it with caution. Don’t get catfished. Never give out your personal information (i.e. your home address). If possible, use any form of video call like Skype or FaceTime because using these forms of communication will allow you to meet your new online friend within safe proximity, and it will help you determine if the social media account you’ve been talking to is real. Just. be. safe. Okay? Okay.
How To Meet Genuine Friends Online
1. Find people you can vibe with.
In other words, find like-minded individuals who you can see yourself hanging out with. Find people who have similar interests. If you are into anime, find people who can fangirl over anime with you. If you love traveling, find others who love it just as much. There are seven billion people on this planet. There’s bound to be a handful of people who can understand you in ways your non-online friends couldn’t.
2. Support them in their life endeavors, changes, and accomplishments.
I suggest keeping up with your online friends’ lives to build that strong foundation of love and positivity. You don’t have to stalk their every post, but it’s always nice to send a comment (or snap back, or tweet back!) from time to time to let them know you’re watching and hoping the best for them.
Whenever I see a fellow small YouTuber reach their subscriber goal, I tweet them to celebrate the accomplishment with them because I know what it’s like to reach subscriber goals!
3. Say “hi!”
Don’t be a lurker, or quiet viewer! If you really want to get to know a person or want to meet a person, you will have to introduce yourself.
I never knew how to introduce myself before. I used to just fangirl from afar and talk about the YouTuber’s content, rather talking to them and realizing that they are real people. Just start with a “hi” and I promise it will get easier.
I also love introducing myself to people who take the time to comment, like, or subscribe to my social media stuff. On occasion, I start to notice my “regulars” — I call them regulars because I regularly see their name on my social media replying to me, supporting me, and connecting with me through multiple platforms. It’s through this whole process where I start to make my most genuine friends.
4. Get to know them 😃
Plain and simple. Once you introduce yourself to your new online friend, get to know them. Your friendship will grow organically as time goes by and you take the time to talk here and there.
Trust me. You don’t have to talk or hang out for hours to keep in touch with friends. Sometimes it just takes a simple, “Hi! Congrats on the new job! I’m happy for you, how is it?” and from there… the conversation goes on. The beauty of communicating online is the fact that you don’t have to reply immediately. You can still go about your busy life and just reply when you can. Likewise for them, they’ll just reply when they can.
I hope you learned a thing or two about making genuine, kind, supportive friends online.
Sometimes we can’t choose where we live, who we go to school with, or who we see on a daily basis, but we can choose our friends online… so choose well and keep your circle of people positive.
Okay, I am very tired now 😴
I just had to share this little tidbit about how I meet people online and grow this adorable little community of mine.
love, light, and lots of virtual hugs 💙
Comment below or tweet me @rachelbulosan if you have some pen pals or online friends that you’ve never met in real life. Give them a shoutout and tell them “@rachelbulosan reminded me to tell you that I appreciate having you in my life” 😉
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