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Life > Experiences

Why We Should Be More Open to Meeting People Online

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

There seems to be some huge taboo about putting yourself on the internet. Everything that goes up seems to be very permanent, and you have no idea who will see any of it. There are millions of people who use the internet, but a lot of the people we see online just feel like notifications on your screen. But what happens when you get to know the people behind these numbers?

Apps upclose on a phone
Pixabay / Pexels
As an avid internet user, I was introduced to the concept of online friends during eighth grade when my friend started talking to a girl in England. They were good friends, but never would have met on Instagram if it weren’t for a shared love of One Direction. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but little did I know I’d grow to love my own internet friends in the future. Having known some of them for over 5 years now, allow me to give you some reasons you should be open to meeting people online.

Expand Your Pool of People

Let’s be real. This is the biggest reason people our age tend to use dating apps. Sometimes the person you need to meet just isn’t in the same place as you right now. This applies to platonic relationships too. Although we’re introduced to thousands of people in our regular environments, there are so many more people we can meet. With the internet comes a way for us to expand our environments, and the ability to meet people without needing to be physically close. Especially for people who are unable to go out often or who are afraid to talk to people, it can be nice to meet people through the comfort of your phone.

Meet People With Your Interests

One of the biggest perks that comes from using the internet is that you’re much more likely to meet people with the same interests as you. Think of it like an extracurricular club! This may not sound very exciting, but for people with more niche interests, this makes a world of difference. Often you might have an interest which isn’t popular amongst your in-person friends. If you aren’t able to meet people in real life with the same interests as you, it can be really nice to meet someone online with the same passions.

In my experience, I found that some of my internet friends shared my interest in Broadway musicals, so we’re able to talk about new shows and actors together. Another one of my friends was in her school’s vocal program, and I was in the school band, so we were often able to connect over concerts and pieces.

Beyonce  Clapping

Get an Outside View on Things

Online friends can be a terrific support system for the times you can’t talk in person. For instance, someone who is struggling with their identity may be able to find support online, especially if they don’t feel particularly supported in their home lives. Online forums and other internet groups allow people to find others who understand them and develop a sort of comradery. Online friends may also be a confidant and can give different perspectives. Especially with problems surrounding your in-person friends, having someone who has no relation to them may offer a good outside perspective.

Learn About Different Experiences

Finally, another fun part of meeting people online is the way that it introduces you to different experiences. The most obvious differences come from physical location. I have met people all over the world with different lives from myself, although we can still find shared hobbies and interests.

The way to the cabin
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
A lot of my friends happen to live in the United States, and although we live relatively similar lives (due to Canada’s relationship to the USA), there are lots of ways that we live differently. They have even differed from each other due to living in different states. My friends and I have had conversations comparing our school curriculums, our driving experiences, our towns and so many other things. With other scenarios, I’ve been exposed to more languages, cultural differences and time zones.

Just by being able to talk to a diverse group of people, you can be introduced to so many different experiences and become more aware of other people’s experiences. It’s eye-opening to see how different people are living, and the types of valuable insights you can gain by exposure to others.

A Quick Word on Privacy

I’d like to finish off with a reminder that you should be careful on the internet. Although I’ve listed some of the positives that come with meeting people online, there are definitely some risks when it comes to meeting strangers. To be on the safe side, do not leak personal information such as your last name or address unless you *really* trust who you’ve met. Although it’s up to your personal judgement, you should be aware of the information you’re giving out, and don’t agree to meet someone you’ve just met. Although people can be terrific, they’re not always how they seem.

Now that I’ve shared some of my experiences, I hope you begin to see online friends in a new light and might be more open to meeting people online. There are lots of people to meet, and who knows? Some of them might become your best friends.

Rebecca So

Wilfrid Laurier '23

Rebecca is a third-year Communication Studies student at Wilfrid Laurier University, also working towards a minor in Creative Writing. She's been a writer for Her Campus since Winter 2020. In her free time, Rebecca can be found listening to musicals, playing video games with friends or contemplating various ways to develop the characters she writes about.