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How to Maintain a Long-Term Internet Friendship

With Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and about a dozen other social media sites, there are endless ways to make friends through the internet. Making the connection itself can be difficult, but maintaining it can be even harder. I’ve managed to have internet friends for several years. The longest relationship has been for almost nine years. How do we do it? Well...

Find people with common interests

Do you love Harry Potter? Or maybe you’re super into make-up? Maybe you have a kick-ass cosplay game or your Overwatch game is killer. Whatever your interests may be, find people with common likes and start talking to them. This could be through commenting on posts on Instagram and then sending a message or liking and quoting them on Twitter. No matter what, someone has to initiate the connection. It can be scary to send that first message, but if it’s after leaving comments or retweets they should be able to recognize you. Avoid being creepy and just have that first message be something simple and casual - try to compliment them on their skills and introduce yourself. The worst that could happen is that they won’t reply.

Add them on other platforms

Let’s say you found them through Twitter. Ask them for their Instagram or share yours with them. It’s best to take things slowly and only do what makes you comfortable. Adding them on multiple platforms is also a good way to confirm their identity and that they’re not catfishing you or doing something that isn’t safe. Discord is an online voice and text chat service, similar to Skype, and it’s a great way to connect with your new friend.

Talk to them on a regular basis

This is important with any friendship, but it’s especially important with an internet friendship. Because you don’t see each other regularly, our entire relationship depends on you talking and giving them life updates. That can seem high-pressure, but there’s no need to talk to them every day. Just give them updates when you can. The great advantage of internet friends is that they don’t know you in real life. Is your best friend that you usually rant to being suddenly mean to you? Well, now you have someone to rant to about that best friend.

If you’re not interested in talking about your personal life just yet, or if you somehow fell out of touch, remember that you share a common interest. I met most of my internet friends through Tumblr back in the day (major yikes, I know). We ran blogs centered around Harry Potter, so we can always talk about the newest Fantastic Beasts movie or the latest J.K. Rowling tweet. But I know that I can always talk to them about literally anything without the pressure of them knowing or meeting the people I share my real life with.

It can be really challenging to make an internet friend. They might live on the other side of the country or world, and therefore timezones can make the distance seem further. However, with daily (or near daily) conversations, you can feel the benefits of a close friendship with someone miles away.

Lindsey O'Connor is a sophomore at Carthage College majoring in General Theatre and minoring in English and Secondary Education. She is from Palos Hills, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago. When she's not busy with theatre, she's usually either sleeping, playing video games, or thinking about Harry Potter.
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