5 Sure-Fire Ways To Talk To People Online

By Danni Peck

Updated December 06, 2018

Reviewer Nicole J. Johnson

In the past decade, social media has become a daily part of our lives. Well, almost everyone. Are you one of the people who still do not know how to talk to people online? Maybe you are new to the internet and just need to know some basics. Whether you are new to the internet or have been online for a while, some people find it difficult (even scary) to talk to strangers online.

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In fact, some people just do not 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 have not 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:

The Basic Rules (Netiquette)

Do not write in all CAPS. That is a big no-no because people consider that yelling. Let people know you are there so it does not seem like you are lurking. Say hello and tell them you are new to chatting and just want to observe and or feel the format out for a while.

Before you write something, try to read it back to yourself the way stranger would read it. Remember we lose tone, body language and context when communicating online. Sometimes, we may write something that seems nice that others think is offensive. For example, a joke or sarcastic comment that you think is funny may not seem funny to anyone else when it is shared over the internet.

Chat Room, Public Forum, Instant Messaging (IM), or Social Media

Being new to talking to strangers, you probably do not know the difference between chat rooms, forums, IMs, and social media.Basically, a chat room is a "room" where people "talk" in real time - back and forth conversations. A forum 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 chat room. Nobody else can read the messages in the private chat unless you are part of the conversation. Social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat where you can share pictures, videos, music and art. You can also talk to people on their profile wall, your wall, or private messaging through messenger.

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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 chat rooms for friendship, forums and chat rooms for advice, and online therapy sites for therapy.

Find the Right Site

If you are looking for people who like boating and other outdoor activities, there are chat rooms 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 device. 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 2,000 licensed professionals available to talk to you right now.

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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 do not 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 will not share that information. So, be careful and thoughtful what you share with others.

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