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#1 2020-12-02 20:01:48

miths
Member
Registered: 2020-10-18
Posts: 18

Online friendships

We want to start this topic off with a question for you: Do you have an online friend? How did you meet them and how long have you been friends? And were you met with resistance when you told your family or friends about them?

Surely, we have all heard our parents tell stories of little girls making friends with older men under the pretense of being the same age, only to end up deceived or, even worse, hurt. We've probably come across situations where the personality online does not match the one in real life, however small or big the difference might be. But is that not the case for everyone on social media? We all, in some capacity, pick and choose what we show to the world through our accounts. Not everything is meant for everyone.

Of course, this is might not make that big of a difference if we’re talking about someone we already know, but if it’s a person we’re meeting for the first time and getting to know through the information they’ve chosen to put out, we might get the wrong impression or feel lied to.
Here is an article which offers some tips as to how to make online friends safely: https://www.getsafeonline.org/blog/maki … -safe-way/
Do you agree with these tips? Are there any you'd add? And are there any steps you take when meeting someone online?

We are of the belief that you can make very genuine and long-lasting friendships through online communication. Though most people agree that there is no stronger bond than the one which is accompanied by physical presence and contact, we believe that online friendships shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed. For instance, sometimes it’s easier to confide in someone who is not sitting right in front of you. What is more, if your online friend lives in a different country, you are provided with so many wonderful opportunities to get to know the world (e.g. learn their language, become familiar with their culture etc.). What do you think? Can online friendships last and be meaningful?

https://www.abc.net.au/life/how-online- … s/11456856

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#2 2020-12-07 10:04:03

pamda
Member
Registered: 2020-11-27
Posts: 12

Re: Online friendships

I believe that social networks and other communication platforms have raised the level of communication to a higher level. There are so many people who have met their life partners or friends through these platforms, which is one of the indicators that these networks are actually a good thing if we use them in the right way. I say this because I have personally met a few friends over the internet, and today I have a very good relationship with some of these people, I even met some of them in real life after a while. In fact, the way I met all of them is actually via video games. Of course, as any other parent would tell their child, my parents always advised me to be careful when engaging in that type of communication with someone online, but in the end it turned out that there was no danger whatsoever even for a brief moment. There is one key thing I always do when I meet someone over the internet, it’s simple, and that is that I don’t believe in a single word that person writes, but of course, on the other hand, I believe that the friendships made online can last really long and be really strong.

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#3 2020-12-08 13:59:23

maverick
Member
Registered: 2020-11-17
Posts: 2

Re: Online friendships

This topic is quite interesting. I personally don't have friends that I met online, only some whom I befriended through social networks, but who belonged to some of the social circles I was in. So I might not be the biggest expert on online friendships. However, I do feel that meeting someone on the Internet is completely natural today, and while there still are cases off so-called catfishing, it feels as if it is much safer that it was back when social networks first started to rise. I know a lot of people who regularly use apps like Tinder and Bumble BFF, and I feel that the fear of meeting a stranger we met online in real life is not as scary as it was before. After all, virtual communities are developing more and more, and there are great places to meet people who are similar to you. You can use platforms to get to know people who share the same interests and values as you, and therefore the answer to your question about whether online friendships can last and become meaningful is definitely - yes. I also read the article you posted about tips for when you finally meet your virtual friends in person. Those tips generally seem reasonable, but I noticed that they mostly apply to those cases where we meet someone whom we met on the apps designed especially for meeting new people, which do not provide additional information about them. However, I noticed in most cases, whenever we refer to the case of meeting someone online, it is often implied that we have followed or friended them on some of the platforms we usually use for communication, such as Instagram or Facebook. I think that that is the best way to do a 'research' about someone who used to be a complete stranger but is a potential friend. If they use those apps for maintaining their personal relationships, those apps can be quite useful for us to do the 'background check' on them. I think the tip given in the article about trusting our instincts is especially important here. I think most of the people do that, first thing when they meet someone somewhere else on the web, and I think this step is crucial before deciding to meet in person. Of course, it still does not necessarily mean that it is completely safe. Additionally, I would like to recommend bringing your other friends with you for this meet up. Therefore, you will feel safer. Do you agree?
But I also think there is another interesting aspect of online friendships, that has nothing to do with safety. It is the fact that we often create our online persona, that might be different from our real life selves. That does not mean we are being fake, it is simply the fact that we are choosing to show only one aspect of ourselves online, which is perfectly normal, since we will never share everything. Therefore, when we meet someone online, we might have one idea about them, while they might turn out to be completely different in person. What do you think? Has this ever happened to you? Do you tend to form an opinion about someone's personality traits based solely on their online activity? And if so, when you met that person, did they confirm your expectations, or were you surprised?

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#4 2020-12-17 22:12:17

mmmpast
Member
Registered: 2020-10-18
Posts: 13

Re: Online friendships

Social networks give you opportunities to meet new people from all around the world. In the 21st century, the most popular apps for connecting are Instagram, Facebook, Discord, Tinder, etc, but also it is possible via playing video games. Yet, is that kind of a friendship a healthy one?
The perplexed fact about making friends online is the great expectation we create in our head of people we didn’t even meet yet. Most people introduce the best parts of themselves to us, so that we could admire or envy them. Via social networks every person presents themselves as they wish, starting from their physical appearance, financial state, attitudes, etc. All that feed forms an avatar which is not trustworthy. The mask falls down after you meet in person. One of the biggest problems is catfishing, meaning that a person creates a fake profile with fake identity on a social network service, which could be just for trolling, but also for targeting victims. Someone could try to take advantage of you. You are not sure how good you know a certain person online, maybe that kind of person wants you to believe that he/she is a great friend. It’s a fact that meeting in person is much different because of someone’s body language, or because of their way of talking. Additionally, the emojis became the part of a discourse where they became stronger than words. The main problem is the subjectivity in understanding. For instance, if somebody sends to you “I’m fine. ” , you cannot be sure that a person is actually fine or not, because this emoji is more frequently used in a sarcastic than in a positive way. Of course, all of this doesn’t apply to all people.
However, the real advantage of online friendship is the immediacy. There are people who are introverted and have no self-confidence when it comes to making friendship, and they see it as the icebreaker. It’s much easier to remove or block somebody if you don’t wish to talk to them or don’t like the way they treat you.
Personally, I would recommend everyone to listen to this TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2IhN2iLuu8

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#5 2020-12-25 13:29:42

Dallas
Member
Registered: 2020-10-17
Posts: 10

Re: Online friendships

Social media represents a great way of keeping in touch with existing friends, distant relatives and acquaintances. Making online friends really refreshes our minds and gives us so many new experiences. However, when it comes to real friendships, social media is very poor at making and keeping friends since friendship requires face to face interaction.

mmmpast wrote:

The perplexed fact about making friends online is the great expectation we create in our head of people we didn’t even meet yet. Most people introduce the best parts of themselves to us, so that we could admire or envy them. Via social networks every person presents themselves as they wish, starting from their physical appearance, financial state, attitudes, etc. All that feed forms an avatar which is not trustworthy. The mask falls down after you meet in person. One of the biggest problems is catfishing, meaning that a person creates a fake profile with fake identity on a social network service, which could be just for trolling, but also for targeting victims. Someone could try to take advantage of you. You are not sure how good you know a certain person online, maybe that kind of person wants you to believe that he/she is a great friend.

I totally agree with this comment. In my personal opinion, I do not believe in making online friendships, although there are always some exceptions. As mmmpast has already mentioned, I am of opinion that internet is a place where you can easily fool people and pretend to be something that you're not and there are many catfish, especially nowadays. This world is full of strangers and that’s why people find it hard to fully trust most of the people out there. The question I always keep asking myself is; how do I know that I want someone to be my friend if I’ve never met him/her face to face. But one thing is for sure, you can’t wisely decide based on a photograph or a piece of text whether you can or cannot put trust in that person. 
At the end of the day, I know it’s really fun to interact with new people but making friends online is always risky business and they sometimes could take a turn for the worst.

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