How to Make Friends Online

No matter what’s going on in your life, you want to have friends by your side! With the rise of technology, making friends online is becoming more and more common. This is especially true and helpful if you are someone who attends college online. That’s why knowing how to make friends online can have a big, positive impact on your online college experience and life in general.

When you attend a traditional campus school , you’ll make friends in class, study halls, and events on campus. But when you attend an online college, you’ll need to try new methods of building friendships.

Here are some helpful tips on where and how to establish, grow, and maintain friendships online.

Send messages to friends online in a chat

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Where and how to find new friends online

Finding friends online goes hand in hand with finding new friends in real life It still requires you to participate in activities within your community and be able to develop those friendships online.

Some places you can expect to find new friends both in person and online include:

1. Study groups:

Create or join a group for students at your university. You can then offer to meet for study groups or join existing study groups.

2. Do things you enjoy in your city:

One of the best ways to make friends is to participate in activities you enjoy. In this way, you will be able to meet people with similar interests with whom to continue the activity. You can take advantage of online websites to find events that interest you, either through social media or by checking an online gym’s class schedule, for example.

3. Join an online group based on your likes:

Based on your interests and hobbies, try doing an online search to find a group that shares your hobby. Then go online and schedule in-person meetings to realize the interest. For example, you can find people who like to paint online and then host a wine and paint night.

4. Connect on social media:

From Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat to Twitter, there are many social media platforms where you can make new friends.

Start an online conversation and next steps

Once you locate the digital places where you can connect with potential and like-minded friends, the next step is to say hello and make plans. This is where many people struggle because going online can feel less personal.

People don’t want to appear weird or creepy online, so here are some tips on how to start the conversation:

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1. Start a conversation that leads to a meeting:

When you join a social media group or online group, start being active in the group. Like and comment on other people’s posts and then consider posting and sharing yourself. People will start to recognize your name as you recognize theirs. Some people may communicate first, but if not, you can at least start to build a connection through constant communication. You can then take the next step to send a personal message.

2. Send a message to someone you want to meet:

Once you decide who you want to be friends with, send a message! You can reach out by sharing something you related to that they shared and ask a question, or just share your support for something they shared. Then let the conversation unfold naturally.

3. Ask questions to continue conversations:

A good way to keep a conversation going is to ask questions. Most people who want to start a conversation will ask you questions if they are interested. This will give you a signal if there is something worth growing with them.

Try a dating app with friends

Just like online dating, there are now apps designed to meet friends online. There are plenty of options to consider. Take a look at this list and see who’s calling your name!

FriendMatch: Networking that translates to in-person meetings

Bumble BFF: Networking based on geographic location and more

Friender: networking based on activities you enjoy

Hey!VINA: networking for women

Peanut: networking based on motherhood

Athlete: Sports-Based Networking

Meetup: Interest-Based Networking (and Real Life Activities)

REALU: Location-Based Networking

Nearify: networking based on nearby events

Skout: networking based on unexpected in-person encounters

Nextdoor: networking in your community

Meet My Dog: networking for You and Your Dog

Tips for Making Friends Online

Now that you know how and where to find friends online, you need to master the art of communicating virtually.This is all about creating good profiles, writing sincere messages, choosing who to contact, and having interesting conversations.

Consider the following tips and tricks!

1. Avoid mistakes that make you seem needy:

Although most people have their phones handy, they don’t always have time to respond to messages. Try to avoid sending messages multiple times in a row if you don’t get a reply. If you seem too eager and demanding for answers or ask to meet up too quickly, they may end up backing down. Follow the natural flow of the conversation and be patient.

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2. Keep the conversation flowing:

Focus on your common interests and ask honest questions.

3. Strengthen the bond:

Instead of asking generic questions, like “what are you studying in school?” ask about the person’s passions and the reasons why they are studying what they chose. Or even what they dream of doing if money didn’t matter.

4. Build Your Online Profile:

From choosing a username that explains who you are (if it should be different from your real name) to designing a profile, you need to make sure you provide enough information that can attract new friends to you. This shows up more in the About Me section of profiles. Some things to include are: your hobbies, what you’re looking to find in the app, and an invite line stating that you’re happy for people to contact you.

5. Choosing who to contact online:

When apps give you the choice, you can filter who you want to meet by location, age, gender, interests, and the like. That way, you can search for people based on what you expect to find.

Person holding phone and using Instagram

Geo uc photo on Unsplash

Choosing the right platform to make friends on online

With the wide variety of platforms for making friends online, you’ll want to choose one that aligns with your goals. To start with, there are two types of online platforms to consider: reciprocal and non-reciprocal.

These break down as follows:

  • Reciprocal: These networks require an interest mutual. That means that to become friends with someone, they must also accept you, just like on Facebook.
  • Non-reciprocal: These social networks, like Twitter and Instagram, allow you to follow others without them having to follow you back. .

When looking to benefit from deep online connections, reciprocal platforms tend to work best because they require mutual interest from the start.

Benefits of Online Friendships

Although the connection is made online, psychologists have found that the emotional and psychological benefits of these friendships are equal to those of face-to-face relationships. Online friendships are also very helpful for those who have social anxiety or are shy. Having the screen as a mediator between communication can ease the anxiety associated with verbal and in-person communication.

For students attending college online, the online atmosphere that supports friendships allows students to students connect and work together, just as they would if they were geographically in the same place.

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Speaking of not being in the same geographic location, online friendships significantly remove that barrier. This means that thanks to digital communication, you can now make friends from all over the world. In the past, it wasn’t such an easy accomplishment!

Are online friendships as meaningful as in-person relationships?

The main components of friendship include: freedom of choice, intimacy and commitment. Online friendships maintain these three things. You have the option to befriend or end friendship with whoever you want. You can be intimate through what you choose to share with others. And finally, you can continue your commitment to friendship by communicating over time.

Keep Your Choices Open

When it comes to choosing friends online and using apps, you can limit your search is very specific. You can see things you’re not looking for and swipe left instead of right on what might have become your next best friend. Sometimes it pays to keep an open mind when seeking friendship online. This is because it can reflect your experience as real life.

Think about it: When you go out in public, you never know who you’ll run into. The randomness of new connections is sometimes what makes them most valuable. As such, you should practice the same open-minded attitude when meeting people online. That way, you can broaden your opportunities to meet new people. Only once you get to know them better can you really gauge whether or not it’s a worthwhile relationship.


Making friends online is just as important as having friends in real life. Knowing how to make friends online can change your life!

Online friends can become in-person friends or stay digital. Regardless of how or where you meet them online, the depth of your relationship depends on your effort, time, and communication.

Having a strong community of friends will improve your overall quality of life. When you attend college online, it’s really beneficial to meet people in a similar situation so you can share thoughts, rely on each other for support, and develop meaningful friendships over time.

At the University of the People, one of the most precious aspects of our online university experience is that students from all over the world have the opportunity to connect with each other. If you are interested in learning more about our programs and how you can join a strong and engaged community of learners, please ask for more


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