One thing most young people understand is that the friendships you have online can be just as fun, important and meaningful as ones you have in real life. But if you don't have the opportunity to see those friends at school or work, it can feel a bit hard to figure out how to really connect. Sure, it can be easy to play games and chat online, but how do you build those real friendships - you know, the kind where you'll be there for each other when life gets you down – when all of your socialising is happening online?
On top of this, it can be harder to tell if there's something up with a mate if you're not hanging out with them in person. How can you make sure your friends are safe and happy if you're just chatting online?
Over the years, Loserfruit has always kept close friendships with her mates like Crayator, Fasffy, LazarBeam and Lachlan, even though they mostly just hang out on the internet. That's why we teamed up with her for this instructional VHS tape.
Here are a few of Kath's tips for strong online friendships:
- Have a private place online to chat and hang out, outside of gaming. If you don't have one of these setup with your friends yet, don't be afraid to take the initiative and make one yourself! Some options include Messenger, Houseparty, or Discord.
- If you're looking to create a friendly social atmosphere, not all games are going to be a great fit. For example, if you play a lot of competitive games, you and your friends might have more fun playing a co-op game like Knockout City or Overcooked.
- Make sure to schedule in time now and then just to chat. Even when you spend heaps of time with people online, it's hard to tell what's really going on for them unless you're checking up on them and having open conversations.
- If it feels like things aren't going your way, it might help to realise that online friendships take a bit of work, just like ones in real life. You might need to go out on a limb and organise a new activity to do with people. Just like lots of things in life, you won't get that sweet payoff unless you put a little effort in first, so try to remember that it might take time.
The fact is, great relationships don’t happen overnight. Just like our family, work, and love life, your social life needs time, care, and investment.
What can I do now?
- If you want more connections IRL, take a look at some of our tips for meeting people around you.
- If you're worried about some of your online friends and want to hear how you can check up on them, How to ask a friend if theyre okay.
- Check out ReachOut's online community to hear how other young people maintain their online friendships.