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Meeting Internet Friends IRL: A Quick Rundown and Guide

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Geneseo chapter.



Through the years I’ve collected dozens of internet friends.  Some were more casual, some disappeared and some have stuck through it with me year after year.  Sometimes we talk daily, and sometimes we go months without talking just to pick right up again the next time something exciting happens.  Internet friends can be just as close and significant as friends in real life, even if they live thousands of miles away. Many of us never get the chance to meet our internet friends in person and have to rely on video chatting and texting to communicate.  Often, my online friends and I daydream about a future time when we will be able to meet. For some of us, these dreams can come true!


I have been lucky enough to meet several internet friends in real life, despite my small budget.   And let me tell you, it’s a surreal experience, especially after years of just dreaming. As I prepare to fly to Atlanta to see an internet friend for the second time, I’ve recognized how special and unique this experience is and how many other people would like to be in my shoes.  If you happen to have internet friends that you hope to meet but feel like it’s impossible, this article is for you! I’m going to list my tips and advice on how to safely meet your internet friends on a budget, as well as describe how to make it the best visit ever!


Me and my friend at the Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, 2017


1. Be safe

You absolutely need to make sure that you know and trust the person you are planning to meet. Talk on the phone, videochat and ask for specifically posed photos that are hard to photoshop.  Hopefully, you have already been talking to this person for a while and have done all of these things, but you can never be too safe. If your friend refuses to show their face to confirm they are who they say there are, makes weird “jokes” or asks for money discontinue contact immediately. If there are ANY red flags, do NOT risk it!  Trust your gut.


2. Videochat each other

Making plans over text is seriously so hard.  It’s much better to pick specific times to video chat and create your travel plans.  Be sure to be detailed so there are no miscommunications. You want your first time meeting to be as hitch-free as possible!  Consider as many options as you can to reaching one another – bus rides, train rides, flights, etc. – so that you can save money and have a good time.


3. Arrange travel and living accommodations

Figure out exactly how you need to get to where you need to go.  Maybe if you have to buy plane or bus tickets you can front the money and your friend can pay you half when you arrive to make travel more affordable.  Be sure to research your travel method(s) so you are well prepared!


It would be good to find out if you can stay with your friend since that helps save a lot of money.  If you can stay at your friend’s house, find out where you will be sleeping. You may need to pack a pillow or sleeping bag.  If you need to stay in a hotel or AirBnB, maybe your friend can stay with you so that you can split the price and you won’t get lonely in a new place.  It could also be good to stay separate from your friend just in case you don’t click as well in person as you hoped (it’s sadly a possibility). Once my friend’s father had travel miles for an airline so I was able to fly for free!  Try to cut costs whenever you can so you can have more cash to spend on souvenirs and tourism!


4. Plan what to do!

If your friend lives near somewhere cool, take the opportunity to sight-see!  Plan lots of activities so that your experience is memorable and so that there are no awkward or dull moments.  Make sure you have enough money to eat out and buy admission to any museums or events you may want to go to together as well as shop.  Exploring a new place will also help your friend remember all the cool things about where they live!


Me and another friend in Atlanta, 2018


I hope these tips help you meet your internet bestie!  Just remember to stay safe, consider all of the possibilities and have fun!



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Victoria Cooke is a Senior History and Adolescence Education major with a Women's and Gender Studies minor at SUNY Geneseo. Apart from being an editor and the founder of Her Campus at Geneseo, she is also the co-president of Voices for Planned Parenthood and a Curator for TEDxSUNYGeneseo. Her passions include feminism, reading, advocating for social justice, and crafting. In the future, she hopes to inspire the next generation of history nerds and activists.