How to make friends online and not seem weird
Should I post this? Will I get likes or comments? Maybe I should wait, oh just do it! No, don’t do it! Aaargh. Posted.
Now what? I closed my computer and walked away, still unsure as to what would happen next. To my surprise, I instantly received positive, encouraging responses. Other people also shared that they wanted to connect. People were sharing their experiences as online students, asking questions and being very welcoming and supportive.
Daunting, as it can first seem, the value of having friends there by your side supporting and guiding you through thick and thin can’t be underestimated. And forming friendships online will have a positive impact on your overall online learning experience. As well as better prepare you for when it’s time to graduate, as you’ll already know some people in your field, which is always helpful.
Turn usernames into friends
Making friends online is easier than it seems. All you need is enthusiasm and a dash of bravery. Be ‘in the know’ about all the resources available to you. For instance, when I first began studying online, I wasn’t aware of Yammer groups targeted at students studying specific degrees.
Here are some simple ideas to make connecting with peers easier:
- Make a post on the discussion board telling people a little about yourself. Give your social media or email to take the conversation to a different platform, rather than talking on a learning platform such as the discussion board.
- Reach out to people on Yammer by making posts and asking questions in your group.
- Remember seeing someone’s name in a different subject you previously completed? Ask them how they went.
- Get involved in university life, by connecting with peer mentors, joining clubs, applying for internships and work experience. These are great places to meet new people.
The art of digital communication
Communicating online is different to what you might think. My generation is meant to be the masters at it, although I find that it is rarely taught.
These are some simple tips and tricks to get you on the right track:
- Don’t time your responses, reply when you can.
- Don’t send too many messages, as if the other person is not replying. They may be busy!
- Find common interests and hobbies and talk about them, but remember to set boundaries.
- Don’t ask generic questions. Be sincere and show that you care.
Make sure your ‘online self’ is a true reflection of you
We all know the saying be yourself because everyone else is taken, so make sure your ‘online self’ is actually you. Forming a genuine and sincere friendship with someone who is going through the same thing is truly special, as you will always know that you’re not alone.
Here are some ideas to think about when creating your ‘online self’:
- Have a look at your username, does it fit your personality or is it just weird or random?
- Have a look at your social media accounts. Are they a reflection of you?
- Have a look at the way you’re talking online, do you talk or text like this in real life?
- Are you trying to be cooler than you are in real life? Don’t think you have to impress anyone, just be you.
So now I’ve completed my degree and will graduate soon. There are many things I’ll take from my time at Griffith. The growth and knowledge, the resilience, the lessons in time management and juggling study with being a mum, and also a group of connections that played a part in this journey, that contributed, big and small, to who I am today, and the successes I enjoy tomorrow.
By Sophia Dmitrichenko