Making friends over the Internet used to be thought of as very silly. How can you really know someone when you haven’t actually met that person? Despite the concerns of these people, the idea of having friends online has really grown with the advent of social networking sites. Some of these friendships aren’t really friendships, but just collections of people that you have something in common with. Others are true friendships in that the people are there for one another and share details about their lives – even if it’s through email. They support and encourage one another. For someone who’s housebound, that might be the only people he or she has to talk to, and it can help get that person through the day and give them something to look forward to.
Not all Internet friends are that supportive, and many are more superficial in the way they deal with others, but it is possible to make good friends that are solely online. When you need someone to talk to and all your other friends are busy, or it’s late at night and you don’t want to wake someone up with a phone call, going online and sending a message to a friend can help you feel better. There are also many chat forums and message boards where people are available all hours of the day and night – mostly because they’re all around the world and the time zones are different. These can serve as reassurance and advice options for a lot of people who’re otherwise struggling and don’t feel like they have anyone to talk to.
If you make friends with someone on the Internet, be aware that not everyone is who they say they are. It’s possible that the person you’re talking to is misrepresenting himself or herself. As time goes on, you’ll be able to judge more clearly whether this is the case. Until you’ve made a determination that you feel good about, don’t give out too much information. Friendships that start slowly and build up are generally stronger and better.
Online dating is the next thing that is making strives forward from the silly to the norm and runs very similar risks to that of internet friends. However, less people are pretending because they know the intention is to eventually meet the person, but those who are pretending are an even higher risk to your safety, so be cautious just like you would in real life.