This might help if you:
- Feel like you belong online
- Find it hard to make friends face-to-face
- Don’t know anyone like you
- Feel like you don’t belong where you are
- Feel like you’re spending too much time on the internet
Why it’s easier online
The internet is an awesome place that means no matter where you live, you can find other people in the world who think, act, and talk more like you. But sometimes it can feel like it's the only place we belong. When there’s a whole physical world to explore outside, it can be problematic.
Difficulty making friends in the real world can often relate to not knowing the best way to approach new friendships. When you’re online it’s easier to be confident within yourself and not worry about what others think of you. Offline relationships are also often more formal and take a bit more maintenance.
If you’re finding it hard to find offline friends its worth checking out some strategies that might help
with finding friends, like where to go to meet people and how to start up a conversation with someone you don’t know.
I don’t have much of a choice
It can also be tough to make friends if you live in a remote or rural area
In situations where you don’t have many options, the internet can be a tempting place to spend all your time. This can be an effective way of feeling like you belong, but it’s important to consider building on your existing friendships, or even travelling around a bit to see if there’s anything cool and friend-worthy happening in other places.
Does it matter?
If you’re happy with having all your friends online, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem arises only if you are having difficulty with offline relationships as well. As awesome as the internet can be, it doesn’t take the place of real people.
If you're avoiding making friends offline, this can be a sign that there’s something a bit more serious going on. Social phobias are very real, and very treatable. If you feel like your online relationships are hiding a genuine fear of going out into the world, it might be worth having a chat to someone who knows some good strategies to counter that anxiety.