Differences Between Chat Room Friends Vs Real-Life Friends
Relationships among online friends can be just as fulfilling compared to friendships in real life.
Recent and current generations will attest to the idea how the internet is their mainstream culture. The internet is never far away, it follows us everywhere, yet, it has a lonely aspect for many. People are usually online in some form or another. Beit social media, chatting online, messaging friends, classmates or colleagues. Yet somehow, a stigma remains when it comes to online friends.
The days of chatting anonymously online are a thing of the past. With todays’ advancements in technologies, we no longer need to wonder as to whether we are chatting to a real person or a spam bot. Thanks to live video chat apps, people can confidently chat to real people online to forge real and lasting friendships which are just as meaningful and genuine as meeting new friends in other traditional ways.
Although, some may question whether online friends who live far apart can become legitimate friends given the obstacles in travelling to meet up in person further hindering opportunities to meet up on a regular basis. This scenario can cause a series of emotional rollercoasters.
It’s a legitimate concern for some, for others though, not so much. The concept of friendship is not defined by how the friendship itself is derived. No definition of the term ‘friends’ decides whether the union is legitimate or not based on there being an online or offline element.
People can share a bond from behind the screen. One of the main attractions for finding friends online, is that the internet facilitates a foundation for people who share common interests and similar values to find each other. Confiding in someone with whom you chat online with makes it somewhat easier than sharing your deepest confessions with someone face to face.
Looking at these considerations in comparing online friend’s vs offline friends, there are still considerable pros and cons with both.
The internet makes available endless possibilities to meet friends via chat rooms, forums, social media, and other social apps. Many of these platforms are dedicated to specific categories based on things that interest you. Examples include political groups, hobbyists, lifestyle and so on. This sets up the perfect icebreaker to make friends. Having shared or similar interests can help spark new conversations and lay the initial foundation with your new friend.
Online is less expensive
Maintaining online friendships will save you money. For example, socializing with online friends doesn’t require you to spend money on various outings such as the movies, restaurants, bars or shopping. Conveniently, socializing with online friends is done in the comfort of your own home in a relaxing and stress-free environment and on your terms.
Easier to break the ice
One of the most appealing factors comes down to just how easy it is to break the ice with communication. It’s far less daunting approaching a stranger online for a chat when compared to doing so in person. Particularly for introverted and shy people, making friends online just makes sense. Many people find it difficult and awkward in making the first move. With the internet, saying hi or making a comment to initiate a conversation does not create the anxiousness associated with face-to-face ice breakers. Additionally, awkward silences online do not resonate in the same way as being stuck for conversation ideas in real life scenarios.
Get to know people faster
In many instances people who chat online tend to be more comfortable talking about themselves. They tend to be prepared to open up about their issues and flaws, things like, mental illnesses, things their afraid of or past traumas they have experienced. In the real world, it’s difficult discuss these issues face to face through fear of embarrassment. With the internet, the ease of communication makes it much faster to get to know someone than it does in real life.
The internet facilitates friendships across the entire world
To a number of people though, this can be viewed as a disadvantage. You may reside in Canada for example, but your friend may be located in New Zealand, so obviously you can’t jump in the car to visit or walk to their house to catch-up.
On a positive note, making new friends with people who come from other walks of life can be a life-changing experience. You get to learn and appreciate other cultures and how other societies live and survive. You learn about their culture and at the same time they in turn learn about yours.
There are many plus sides with having friends from across the globe, in the event that you do choose to visit them, you may well have a tour guide in your new friend to show you the lay of the land, and the best part is, you may even be able to arrange free accommodation with them. So, if you’re inclined to do a bit of travelling, having friends in faraway places certainly has its upside as well.
Many different ways of communicating.
Friends online are closer than you think. Keeping in touch doesn’t need to be just by text messages. With video technologies everywhere these days, you can chat through your PC and cell phone with video chat. You can take your friend with you online as you walk around your town or city and show them some of the frequent and popular spots that you like.
Of course, this cannot replicate hanging out with friends in the physical sense, however, with technologies advancing at light speed these days, this form of online communication will bring internet friends closer and closer. (virtually)
What are some of the disadvantages with online friends?
Weighing up the downsides of making friends online.
Harder to hang out
Even if you’ve connected with friends who live just a few hours drive from you, chances are, you will not be inclined to go to such an effort to visit them all that frequently. You and your new friend have lives of your own and taking up frequent chunks of time to travel back and forth may not be all that feasible. For some, having that real life connection in the physical sense may be the only way to get that social fix some people crave and need. If this is something that resonates with you, relying on only having online friends may not work for you.
To maintain meaningful online friendships, having access to up-to-date communication networks are pretty much essential. Video chat technologies aren’t always reliable, sometimes they just don’t work when you need them to. In scenarios where your new friend lives in a location where unreliable internet networks exist; you may be confined to using just text messages from time to time.
The problem here is that text messaging can’t facilitate meaningful communications compared to video chats or live streams. Text messaging all but removes things like body language, voice tone and body language. Sure, you can use emojis with text messages, but this won’t have the same meaning or value as visual communication.
A takeaway here is to remember that you shouldn’t take offence with text messages if they come across as blunt or non-engaging. Trying to figure out the context of the conversation can be difficult to interpret so try to not take offense.
Harder to patch things up
If you’ve built up an online friendship over time, there may on occasions be differences in opinions or misunderstandings here and there. Ditching your online friend over some argument is easier then ditching a real-life friend. Maybe you’ll get mad with your online buddy and simply block them – it’s that easy to end the friendship in the heat of the moment.
Further, if you block your friend with little explanation, just because you had a bad day, they may never know why you became offended in the first place. To avoid making a mistake and losing your friend forever, take some time to cool off in the event of an argument before hitting the block button.
If you’re from the generation which grew up with the internet, the term ‘ghosting’ is something you are probably already aware of. Some internet friends from time to time will simply disappear for no known reason. If this happened to you before, it’s normal to think the worst in that you may have offended them in some way, but it’s more likely they deleted their account, changed their username, they are taking a social media vacation, or the app you were using to chat with them on has shut up shop.
Who are you really chatting to?
In this modern era of chat technology, it’s harder to lie about who we are. In the early days of the chat app revolution, it was easy to lie or exaggerate about who you are. Today though, the age of photo sharing and video chat removes the anonymity somewhat when it comes to making online friendships. Accordingly, people who are seeking out genuine long-term friendships on the internet can do so with more confidence today than ever before.
Identifying quality online friends
Making new friends online can create life-changing experiences. Uncover an entire new world of caring people who can have an immense impact on the way in which you view the world. Whether it be morally, ethically or spiritually, the possibilities are literally infinite.
If you’re still coming to terms with the idea of finding friends online, the first thing you need to come to terms with is to simply being open to the idea itself. Even still, finding people you trust online takes time and commitment, just like anything else in life. These things take time to evolve and flourish.
Positive signs to watch out for is when people start taking the time to genuinely want to get to know you without expecting something in return. You will both share a reciprocal curiosity in one another. If you have met someone online who shares the same level of curiosity as you do, they may well be worth pursuing for a genuine friendship.
What’s the end goal?
Ask yourself what it is you’re hoping to achieve with pursuing online friends? By acknowledging your intentions from the very beginning, you can then start seeking out the types of people with whom you’d like to connect with. Have ‘certain’ types of people or relationships in mind so you don’t end up wasting your valuable time chatting endlessly with random people who do not share your goals or values.
For many people who seek online connections, the ultimate outcome is to at some point transition from online to real life. You’re already in a relationship so the longer it goes, the more you will both feel the desire to meet up in person – whether it be a platonic or romantic relationship.
The internet is the world’s most vast social outlet. It allows busy people to fit their social lives into their busy schedule on their terms. Whether it be through social apps, chat apps, dating sites or friend finder apps, the internet opens doors to new universes which is changing lives and helping to foster new connections across all spectrums in every town and city worldwide.
Chat rooms vs real life friends, the end goal is much the same is it not?