Making friends online has become more and more common, especially over the past couple of years with lockdowns and restrictions in place. There have been more people spending time at home, missing social interactions, and looking to fill that void. A number of apps have sprung up which focus solely on the idea of making friends, but there are several other ways to make friends online. So if you’re looking for something different, why not give some of these a go?
8 Ways to Make Friends Online
#1 Join in with forums
Forums are a great way of interacting with people online who share similar interests to you, and a way to make friends online. You can literally find threads on anything. There are many general ones, funny animals, moving to the UK, fans of Game of Thrones and so on, but threads exist even for very specific topics too.
Generally the more specific the topic, the more passionate the posters, and the more likely they are to want to talk about their passion. I have a friend, for example, who has a specific motorbike. He found a forum of owners of this particular model of bike and whenever he needs any tips or advice he posts in there and always receives many suggestions from helpful people willing to share their experiences. Some good places to try are Reddit or quora.
#2 Play online games
This has actually been a life saver for me during the pandemic. I never thought of myself as the kind of person who would call themselves a “gamer”, but once lockdowns hit, and I discovered the social possibilities, I became hooked! There are countless stories of people playing games online together from across the globe and becoming friends or even forming romantic relationships!
It can be so successful as a way to make friends online because you work together with other people to reach a specific goal, and so bonds can form quite naturally and easily. It has been eye-opening, wonderful, and often hilarious, to hear about different people’s experiences and share stories with people of different cultures, ages and backgrounds, all while dressed as pirates on our way to defeat some skeleton overlords. In most games, you can choose whether you prefer to just type or to speak using a microphone, so you can choose which you feel more comfortable with. The game I personally find most enjoyable for the social aspect is Sea of Thieves, but I also know many people who have made friends online on World of Warcraft, Minecraft and others.
#3 Find friends through language exchange platforms
Learning a new language can seem daunting, but it is actually a great way to make friends online. It can also expand your horizons and open opportunities to you that you never would have considered before, career-wise, but also socially. Participating in a language exchange can be a fantastic way to learn not just about the language you choose, but also about the culture of the people who speak that language. It is a nice way to learn how people actually speak, because often learning from a textbook or even from a teacher, the language can be too formal or outdated compared to how real life people use words day to day.
People who use websites to take part in language exchanges are usually very patient and friendly, because they are learning a language too, so they know the difficulties you can face in the beginning. It’s a cool way to meet new, interesting people, and there are several websites and apps created for this exact purpose. Plus… international places to stay if you go to meet them on vacation.
#4 Find a pen pal
Can you remember when it was still exciting to receive physical post in the mail? These days it seems to be just adverts or (horror!) bills that fall onto my doormat. That’s what is so exciting about PenPal, a website that matches you with like-minded people around the world to communicate via physical postcards or online chat. Communicating through the post is somewhat of a lost art and receiving something physical, and personal from a far off land is always so wonderful. You may not think of your hometown as the most exciting place in the world, but to someone from the other side of the globe it just might be!
Finding a pen pal is a great way to make friends online and share stories or thoughts from thousands of miles away. Plus, the appreciation that you give to someone by making an effort to get to know them is priceless.
#5 Join communities as a way to find like-minded friends online
Another way to make friends online is to join online communities like those on Discord. Initially most popular among the gaming community, there are now groups for any interest, some of which are public and some which you need an invite for. Once you have joined a group, you can see that people chat together through text or also through voice or video calling. It’s a great way to stay up to date on whatever topic takes your fancy, but also a fun way to make friends through shared similar interests.
#6 Use chat websites
There are many, many chat websites which can be a nice way to make friends online. There are specific chat rooms with various themes, such as age related rooms or those for sports enthusiasts, but there are also a few that match you with a totally random stranger in a kind of private chat. Websites like Omegle are famous for pairing you up with a random stranger and dropping you into a video chat. The results can range from funny, sweet or just plain bizarre, but always interesting and potentially a cool way to make friends online.
#7 Comment and engage!
One often overlooked way to make friends online is just by being more active on social media. If you follow a chef, for example, because you like cooking, comment on their posts, ask questions or even just tell them how awesome you think their recipes are! People respond very well to positive feedback, and you can end up forming bonds with others who see your comments or even with the original poster themselves. If you want to try this, stick to smaller accounts with high engagement on their posts.
#8 Start a blog/vlog to become a way to make friends online 😉
My final suggestion for a way to make friends online is to start your own blog, vlog or podcast. Make content about things you are interested in, let people know a little about you, and you can start to attract others who are into the same kind of things. Blogging or vlogging is a good way to share your thoughts and allow people to share their experiences and opinions too. You could even invite them to cohost an episode or be interviewed. There are several websites that can make it very easy for you, so get out there and share your story!
Found your way to make friends online?
I hope you’re feeling more confident about where you can find friends online! Just remember that most people are looking for connection at the end of the day. If you’re on a site like PenPal, people are literally there to make friends – so don’t worry about putting yourself out there.