How to turn online friends into IRL friends


In 2018 Friendship studiesJeffrey Hall, an associate professor of communications at the University of Kansas, found that it takes about 50 hours to change from an acquaintance to a regular friend, 90 hours to call someone a friend, and more than 200 hours to be a close friend. It takes time to make friends, but the combination of technology and old-school methods makes it feasible.

When my children were young, it was easy to meet other parents. My children asked if any friends could come over, I arranged a game date, and usually, my parents and I became friends. Even after our children grow up, we still often stay close.

A year after our divorce, my current husband and I began a long-distance relationship, and he still lives in my hometown. Some of my childhood friends stayed in Kansas City, but it was challenging to coordinate our schedule due to work, family and personal responsibilities. I must think of a new and more deliberate way to make friends.

I usually don’t use punches and feet to meet people, but I always want to learn self-defense, so I decided to combine my efforts. Within a week of Krav Maga, I made some friends. In addition, I also learned a skill that may save lives. Even two years after leaving the gym in my hometown, I still count a few classmates as my closest friends.

Many of my long-term friendships are intact, but one day I feel the need to broaden my horizons and meet new friends. Out of curiosity about the way to make new friends, I asked the relationship experts for their suggestions.

Determine what is holding you back

Think about what prevents you from expanding your friendship. If you have bad memories of a failed platonic relationship, or worry about not being able to integrate into it, then you are not alone. “We can give it different names, such as fear of not being liked, fear of doing something wrong, or fear of being judged,” said Shasta Nelson, a friendship expert, speaker and author. Friendship career: make the most of the relationship we spend most of our time on“Under all this, we are afraid of rejection. We dare not reach out because we are afraid.”

Nelson pointed out that as the pandemic continues, everyone feels more socially anxious, even those of us who were able to get by a year and a half ago. “Due to health reasons, more and more people are feeling anxious, but we have not practiced either.” After spending so much time alone or with smaller groups during the pandemic, it is difficult to become witty and charming. On the contrary, it is easier and less risky to rely on others to put yourself there first.

When you are sure what is holding you back, you can take steps to open up to new friends. If you are looking for someone who loves hiking, games or frugality as much as you do, reunion May be your perfect solution. Since its launch about 20 years ago, this online and app-based service has helped connect more than 50 million people with similar interests online and face-to-face.

Recognize that making friends can be challenging

“People generally think that friendship should be easy,” said Danielle Bayard Jackson, the friendship coach and club owner. Friend forward. This digital community provides counseling and activities for women to cultivate platonic friendships. For some people, the thought of becoming vulnerable in front of a newcomer can be numb. “I think people were a little scared or even afraid to ask for help at first because they were afraid of what it would be like,” she said. There is nothing wrong with asking others for help, especially those who are more outgoing than you.

From your start Facebook friends. You can set up Facebook groups based on similar interests, such as parenting or cycling. Then ask your current friends to invite their contacts to join. Or you can join an existing group that encourages meeting in person. Grow and fly Is an online resource Facebook community More than 194,000 members, of which parents created groups to meet with others in the same city.

Understand the difference between acquaintances and friends

You can have many acquaintances, and you will meet once or twice a year when you interact with others. Then there are meaningful friendships, which require more important time commitments. “What we don’t want to do is invest all our emotional energy in superficial relationships,” the psychotherapist and ” Making Friends: Build meaningful and lasting adult friendships. These are the places where you discuss the latest football scores or the weather. Handley emphasized the importance of having friends with him in difficult times. “When you are depressed, you want people who show up with chocolate and wine to sit with you,” she said.The apps most cited by experts for women seeking friendship are Hey vina and Bumblebee.

Consider health advantages

Research, such as This is published in Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Showing that adults with social connections are healthier and have a longer life expectancy than their peers who spend more time alone. “Friendship is necessary, not just relationship and emotional help, but also physical help,” Handley said. “They can avoid anxiety and depression.”

Don’t underestimate the psychological advantages of close friends. They help us feel seen and understood. “Having someone you can trust, someone you believe in accepting you, someone who will support you is great for our ability to not feel alone,” Nelson said.

Know what to look for when turning to technology to find friends

We are used to hearing about online dating, but seeking deeper friendships through online resources is still a shame. “I think we are only now starting to think about the need for technology to make friends,” Bayard Jackson said. “It won’t make us lame, incompetent, or lacking in any way.” On the contrary, she thinks it is wise to let friends use technology comfortably.

Nelson judges the value of any application or service based on the degree to which it generates positive emotions when encouraging her to interact online. She is looking for a game element and a way to express gratitude to each other. Apps can help find friendships, but Nelson said that we still need to be responsible for proactive contact, our behavior, and follow-up with friends.

Leap from the Internet to real life

When you plan to get together in person, there is always a risk of rejection. “We want to know that we are cute, funny, and funny,” Bayard Jackson said. Putting yourself in front of a new person and hoping that they will receive you well is a bit daunting.

Nevertheless, someone needs to take the first step. Coffee or lunch is a good start. Instead of watching a movie or a drama, where you have almost no chance to interact, consider your common interests, go hiking or participate in an exhibition in an art gallery. If you all have pets, meet at the dog park. You can also invite other friends to have dinner or drink with you to make your first meeting less awkward.


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