5 Sure-Fire Ways To Talk To People Online
By: Samantha Dewitt
Updated November 20, 2019
Medically Reviewed By: Nicole J. Johnson
Social media is something that just about everyone gets involved with, but that doesn't mean that it's something you're always comfortable with. Talking to people and sharing information online can be difficult for some. And the more personal you get, the harder it can be, especially when you're trying to meet strangers and form friendships. That's why it's important to learn the best ways to talk to people online.
In fact, some people just don't know how to talk to anyone online, not even to those people they already know. For example, what do you say to those people you knew in high school but haven't seen in 20 years? Sometimes, it can be easier to talk to strangers than it is to talk to people you know. Here are five tips on how to talk to people online:
- Understand different types of online communication
- Know what you want to talk about
- Find the right site
- Be safe
- Use common sense
We'll go over each of these a little bit more as we work through the rest of this article, so take a look below to find out even more.
The Basic Rules (Netiquette)
Do not write in all CAPS. That's a big no-no because people consider that yelling.
Let people know you are there so it doesn't seem like you're lurking. Say hello and tell them you are new to chatting and just want to observe and feel the format out for a while.
Before you write something, try to read it back to yourself the way a stranger would read it. Remember that we lose tone, body language, and context when communicating online. Sometimes, we may write something that seems nice, but that others find offensive. For example, a joke or a sarcastic comment that you think is funny may not seem funny to anyone else when it's shared over the internet.
Chat Room, Public Forum, Instant Messaging (IM), or Social Media
If you're new to talking to strangers online, you probably aren't very familiar with social media. That's totally fine. Basically, a chat room is a "room" where people "talk" in real-time, back and forth conversations. A forum, on the other hand, is more like leaving a message for someone to answer hours, days, or even weeks later. Instant messaging is a private chat between two or more people in a chatroom. Nobody else can read the messages in a private chat unless they are part of the conversation (i.e. a group chat). Social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. They are places where you can share pictures, videos, music, and art. You can also talk to people on their profile, your profile wall or feed, and through private messages.
What Do You Want to Talk About?
Are you looking for friendship, love, advice, or therapy? There are specific sites that are best for each of these. For example, there are dating sites for love, social media and chatrooms for friendship, forums and chatrooms for advice, and online therapy sites for, well, therapy.
Find the Right Site
If you're looking for people who like boating and other outdoor activities, there are chatrooms for those specific topics. If you would rather find a professional who can give you advice on a legal matter, there are sites for that as well. You just have to search for what you want by typing it into the search bar on your computer or other electronic devices. For therapy, there are websites with therapists who can help you right now. All you have to do is sign up and they will find the best therapist for you. On BetterHelp, there are over 4,000 licensed professionals available to talk to you right now.
Be Safe Online
Above all else, be safe online. There are always people out there trying to get your personal information so they can steal from you. Also, do not ever meet anyone that you talked to online in a private place or give them your home address. You should meet them in a public place in separate cars. You can even bring a friend if you want and if nothing else, be sure to let someone know when, where, and who you plan to meet.
Use Common Sense
Basically, you just need to use common sense. If you would not say or do something in person, then don't say or do it online. Once you share something, it is public and everyone can see it. Even if you post it in a private room, there is no guarantee that the person or people you are talking to won't later share that information. So, be careful and thoughtful about what you share with others.
Solutions Available for You
If you're looking for different solutions and ways that you can improve your communication with other people then you'll want to look at support groups or confidence building exercises. These can help you to work on the skills you need to better interact with others.
Support groups could be for people that are also struggling to interact with other people and they could give you tips and ideas for how to connect and talk with others. Not only that but also you're actually going to be in a group with people who struggle talking to people as well, so you can learn more together.
Confidence building exercises could be something you find in books or something that you do through online courses. You don't even have to meet with someone face-to-face in order to do this. You could learn different things about yourself this way. It's important to know that the more you understand yourself, the more likely you are to push yourself in other ways, like reaching out to new people.
Talking with your current friends is another option because you can get a better understanding of how you interact with people. You want to be able to enjoy your life and meet new people. So, you can learn a lot by examining how you currently interact with those in your life. Talking to people online isn't going to be any different except you have to type out your words instead of saying them out loud.
Struggling to make new friends and talk to people online is difficult for everyone. Humans are social creatures and we want to talk to new people. We want someone that we can share our lives and our stories with and if you struggle with that it can be difficult. But you're not alone. That's why it's important to know where you can turn to for help, and that's just a click of your mouse away.
BetterHelp is an online service that allows you to connect with a mental health professional without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. Know that when you log on, you can feel comfortable and safe due to the anonymous nature of it. BetterHelp's licensed counselors have years of experiencing helping others strengthen their communication skills. Below you can read some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"I don't open up easy. In the past I have had a really hard time in counseling because I am guarded. Philip has a way to support me and understanding me that helps me to let my guard down so I can get the help I need."
"Jillian has helped me build confidence in my ability to communicate my needs and emotions. Her guidance has significantly improved my stress and anxiety management and has overall increased my quality of life."
Your life is waiting for you and all those new friends that you want to meet are waiting for you as well. You don't want to make them wait around for too long! Fulfilling relationships are within reach - all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.