Is It Normal To Talk To Random People Online?
Updated December 03, 2019
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Millions of people from all over the world are online every day, and many of them are talking to random strangers. This can take place on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter or in chat rooms via Internet dating sites. Although most people who talk to strangers are just being friendly, some of them are actually addicted to the Internet, chatting, and cybersex. In modern times, it can be perfectly normal to talk to random people online, but it can also be problematic. There are many things that need to be considered when talking about this topic.
Firstly, it's important to establish that online interactions with strangers are quite common in modern times. If you use social media sites such as Twitter, then you likely understand that communicating with people that you don't genuinely know is not unusual at all. You might even find it fun to have a brief exchange with someone from a completely different part of the world. However, there are situations where chatting with strangers online can become dangerous. For instance, if you're seeking out a personal connection online, it's possible that some people could try to trick you or steal your personal information.
There are people who are not being genuine online, and you could encounter many problems if you're not careful. There are even people who become addicted to chatting online due to feeling lonely or dissatisfied with their lives in some way. If you feel that online chatting is becoming a problem for you, understand that you are not alone. Millions struggle with issues like this, many of which have been helped by the experts at Betterhelp. It is possible to work through your problems when you have the help of compassionate online counselors. Let's explore more information about Internet addiction and other things you need to be aware of regarding your interactions with online strangers.
What Is Internet Addiction?
Addiction is defined as the condition of being addicted to a specific activity or substance. For example, Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is excessive Internet use that interferes with your daily life. Of course, just talking to people online once in a while does not mean you are addicted. If it does not cause a problem in your everyday life, talking to people online is perfectly natural and can sometimes be therapeutic because, for some people, talking to a stranger is more comfortable than talking to family or friends.
Why Talk to Strangers?
When you have a problem, or you are embarrassed about something, talking about it to people you do not know and cannot see can be more comfortable than talking to someone face-to-face. Also, you may feel better about speaking openly with people you do not know because they are not biased. In fact, it is actually recommended by some mental health professionals because talking to someone online about serious matters is much more preferable for many people than talking to someone in person. With strangers, you do not have to worry about being judged or feeling ashamed because you are anonymous, so nobody knows who you are. Just the fact that they cannot see you can make you more comfortable when discussing difficult subjects.
Can I Trust People Online?
A study of 320 individuals was done to determine if people were honest when chatting online. The researchers found that men were more likely than women to lie about their financial status, and women usually just lied for safety reasons. It is best to stay anonymous with strangers online because you just do not know who is being honest and what kind of person you are chatting with unless you are on a reputable chat therapy website.
Chat Therapy Websites
There are many websites that offer counseling, therapy, and psychological counseling to help with mental health issues. Some of them are honest and professional, but some are not. Luckily, there are several ways to determine whether or not a website is legitimate. For example, if the site is written with typos and bad grammar, you should be suspicious. It is best to use a reputable site that is well-known and contains the letters https: before the URL because that means it is secured.
What About Online Support Groups?
If you have a concern about your mental health or have received a diagnosis of a mental disorder, chat groups may be available to address those issues and conditions. For some people, chatting with someone online who is struggling with the same circumstances that they are can be comforting. The people in support groups often share tips on how to better manage their condition as well. The online group also gives you a chance to tell your own story and talk about your feelings. In these respects, chatting online with strangers that share something in common can be very beneficial.
However, not all people in online support groups want to get better or learn to manage their condition. They may only be there to complain and vent to someone about their excuses for not trying. They look at everything in the most negative light. These people can lead you to despair and depression if you pay too much attention to what they say. They may advise you to stop taking your meds or to stop seeing your psychiatrist or therapist. This advice can cause you great harm because it can threaten your mental health and may even put your physical well-being in jeopardy.
Source: senivpetro via freepik.com
It's okay to spend time chatting in a support group, whether online or in person. Just remember that these are fellow victims and may not always have the best advice. They may be going through things you've already conquered. If you find yourself being too influenced by their negative attitude, the best thing you can do is to leave the support group. Try again on another day if you'd like, but don't keep going back if nothing changes from one visit to the next.
Chatting with a Counselor Is Different
It's very unlikely that you will know the counselor on an online therapy platform before you begin counseling. Still, there are many differences. If you've chosen a reputable platform, you can be assured that the counselor is certified or licensed and that whatever experience they list is real. You have the benefit of a secure site where you can say whatever you want and never worry about your words coming back to haunt you. Rather than chatting with someone who is struggling through a crisis, you get to chat with someone who is stable and well-acquainted. Online counselors are equipped to teach you how to manage personal challenges concerning relationships, personal identity, self-esteem, and any other mental health issue you want to discuss.
Advantages of Individual Therapy
While chatting online with strangers can often be helpful, a better option for people who have serious questions or mental health issues is to speak to a trained professional counselor. Your counselor brings their education and experience to the table. Their focus is on you and your mental health rather than what they can get out of the interaction. Therapists who specialize in your type of problems are well-versed in the types of therapy that work best in those situations.
Chatting one-on-one with a reputable online counselor gives you the opportunity to explore your issues in a completely secure way. No one will lash out at you for what you say in therapy, like they might in a typical online chat room. No one tries to break your anonymity or obtain your personal information to use against you. The online world can be brutal at times. The last thing you need when you're facing problems is to open yourself to people who can't or don't react to you in constructive ways. Chatting online may be fine when you're feeling confident and secure, but at other times, the personal attention of a counselor can be a better way to be heard and to learn helpful techniques for managing your crisis.
You Don't Have to Quit Talking to People Online Completely
If you really enjoy chatting online with strangers and feel it is helpful for you, there's no need to quit doing it altogether unless it has become a harmful addiction. You can continue to have occasional online chats without disrupting the therapeutic process. If anything disturbing is said in the chats with strangers, you can bring your concerns to your counselor. The two of you can discuss what happened, and your counselor can give their expert opinion on how to handle it. Then, you can evaluate your decision to continue chatting online and determine whether or not it's still a good idea for you.
Chat Messages with a Counselor
At this point, you may be wondering what to do when you can't speak directly with your online counselor. Some counseling platforms offer another way to interact with your counselor. At BetterHelp, you have a private chat room that is set up for you and your counselor. You can leave chat messages for them when you are experiencing unusual symptoms, have a question, want to share an insight, and any time at all that you feel you need to tell your counselor something.
They answer the chat messages as soon as they can get back to you. In addition, you may have given them information that is crucial to your therapy. The therapist can then discuss it with you during your next phone, video, or live chat session. It has proven to be an invaluable source of therapy for many people, and you can start getting the help that you need today. Take a look at the Betterhelp counselor reviews below to learn more about how they have helped others who need to talk about issues.
"Stephanie is great. I'm currently going through some things, and talking to her levels me out and sometimes makes me realize everything going on in my head is normal, and I don't feel as alone as I think I am."
"Adrien has been a tremendous help with helping me deal with and figure out the issues that I have been struggling with, and with figuring out ways to better navigate life choices. I find her very easy to talk with and open up to, despite the difficult subject matter. I also appreciate her professionalism and knowledge. I would definitely recommend her to friends and family."
Chatting with random people online isn't necessarily harmful or unusual. Still, it's best to be careful and to ensure that you don't become addicted to chatting online. Fulfilling, healthy, online relationships are possible -- all you need are the right tools and a degree of caution.