Making friends online is the sanest thing to do.
After creating the “How to make friends” guide, I started thinking a lot about my own progression in this area, or to be honest, my lifelong struggle with it.
At my parent’s house, I can probably pull out a good 10 filled handwritten journals, chronicling my days as a pre-teener and teenager, but everything changed once I found the online world of blogging.
I started blogging about my personal drama at the tender age of 16, and I guess I never stopped (except I like to think I’ve evolved from gossiping about boys). I had a blog on Xanga (teenage girl drama posts), then on LiveJournal (mostly love poems), and then on WordPress (philosophical and deep thinking posts).
Looking back, I was one lonely girl. I had a hard time making friends.
I recently logged onto Xanga and pulled up a few archived posts from when I was 16 years old just to read through my own childish insanity, and to see if I mentioned anything about my challenge with making friends. As you can see below in this Xanga excerpt from 2005, my struggle with finding real friends ran deep as I tried to understand why it was so hard for me (although hiding away from people definitely didn’t help).
And then I pulled up another blog post I wrote, almost a decade later, to show you that this was still something that kept me up at night.
The common thread throughout all those years was my strong need to connect with people, but never really knowing how. At some point, I realized that the online medium was the perfect way to do that. I could truly be myself there without consequences.
I loved connecting with people online because:
1. I didn’t have to ACTUALLY go out and socialize with them.
2. I could read their blog and get to know them at a much deeper level than I otherwise would in real life (potentially).
3. If I realized the friendship wasn’t moving forward, I didn’t have to feel bad about “quitting” their blog (aka Ghosting).
4. I realized fast enough who I liked and who I didn’t like simply by reading their thoughts.
For many years, I’ve stayed in touch with some of the bloggers I “met” on those sites even as we’ve all moved on from journaling about our daily nonsense drama. I find many of them extremely inspirational and I’m glad they came into my life, even though I never met any of them offline.
But since I’ve started Honestrox, I’ve been more inclined to meet online people offline, mostly because I now realize how difficult it is to find people in the “real world” to connect with. And also because I’m seeking a specific type of person to be friends with – someone I can bounce ideas with, someone that’s in a similar situation to mine (trying to succeed with a side hustle), and someone that’s also more aligned with my personality type.
Any INFJs in the house?!
Someone like that isn’t just walking around my street, unfortunately, so I have to be more proactive in my search, which is where the worldwide web comes in.
And while I’ve managed to make some amazing connections lately, none of them live close enough for me to run into them.
Because then it would just be too easy right?!
But there is one person that I met online that shared a mutual interest in making the effort to meet.
When I first signed up for Pinterest, I was browsing around, trying to figure out how to use it, when I came across a particular pin that caught my eye (as it was meant for introverts of course).
I clicked on it and fell upon Gina’s website “Limit Breaker“. After reading a few of her blog posts, I knew immediately she was someone that shared my worldview and that I could easily talk to.
And I was right.
I started following her and commenting on her blog posts and social media accounts. I really wanted to connect with her and pick her brain on what her goals were with her website for introverts because I was so intrigued by her story.
Fast forward to about a year later, and we were finally able to meet in real life this past weekend.
This was made possible by the following sponsors… ah just kidding! It was for the simple fact that she just so happens to travel to Amsterdam quite a bit, which is where I’m currently stationed. And of course, because we’ve had many many many back and forths through e-mails, social media, and blog posts, so it felt like a natural progression.
And let me tell you that as an INFJ, I’m pretty spot on when it comes to knowing whether or not I’m going to click with someone, which is a great superpower to have since I don’t waste my time anymore with someone I know I can’t connect with. This superpower works both offline and online, which is why I was so excited to meet her in person. I had so much to tell her and so much to ask her!
We were able to freely talk for 2 hours about everything as if we’ve known each other for years.
This is EXACTLY what you want when you first meet someone, or when you seek to build a friendship.
Unfortunately, this is very difficult to come by especially for introverts. But it is POSSIBLE.
So, whether or not you’ve downloaded the guide, I want to remind you of these 3 things if you’re having a hard time fin making friends or connecting with people:
1. Not everyone is for you.
That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you – because trust me, when you meet the right person, you’ll know immediately what it means to truly connect. You just have to keep putting yourself in front of people and seeing which ones you click with. Make sure to quickly move on from those you don’t.
2. You need to make the effort also.
While most of my friends are extroverts, I’ve had to put in the time and effort to open up in order to keep the relationship going. You can’t expect someone to open up and share their story if you don’t reciprocate. The relationship will die if you don’t.
3. Look where you wouldn’t otherwise.
Don’t be quick to turn down a potential friendship if you find it in an odd place. Pinterest is an odd place. A Facebook group is an odd place. Your person is waiting for you in unconventional mediums because well, let’s be honest, introverts tend to be more introspective and are better skilled at the written word. So go ahead and reach out to people you find interesting.
As for me, I have several new friends now because I’ve opened up my realm of possibilities.
And in today’s world where everyone is just a flight away, there’s really no excuse for not trying.