I have a confession. I always scoffed at the plethora of articles instructing introverts how to make friends online.
As an author and coach who specializes in helping introverts with conversation and connection, I didn’t like the implication that introverts prefer to socialize behind a computer screen.
I believed that it perpetuated the stereotype that all introverts are shy, timid hermits too afraid to talk to their own shadow.
And then 2020 happened.
This year of social distancing and lockdowns has forced both introverts and extroverts to socialize online.
Even now that things have opened up, people are still hesitant to meet in person.
Many of us, myself included, have come to see the merit in online gatherings.
For example, my Zoom book club and joke writing groups have better attendance than when they were held in person. We’re also saving time, energy, and money by connecting online.
Fortunately, I joined these groups before lockdown, so I could continue to connect and strengthen new friendships when things shut down.
After all, it can be challenging to forge brand new friendships online, especially if you’re looking for something more fulfilling than swapping emojiis over a cat meme.
You might wonder how to go from seeing someone on your Facebook newsfeed once in a while, to texting, FaceTiming, and then maybe, just maybe, one day meeting in real life.
I know making online connections can feel daunting, so let’s start with a simple, but important first step.
Choose your connection tool
There is an overwhelming amount of ways to connect with likeminded people online.
One way to get started is to use one of the top friend apps.
These apps have a similar feel to dating apps, but they are geared towards meeting friends online.
You can reach out with confidence knowing that most people on the app actually want to connect.
Here are the most popular friend apps:
FriendMatch: make online friends and possibly meet in person
Bumble BFF: meet likeminded people near you
Friender : connect based on activities you enjoy
You can also join a Facebook group based on your interests, or any other online group that tickles your fancy.
The Introvert Spring Facebook Page is a great place to start.
You can also turn current social media acquaintances into real friends, which brings me to the next step…
Do some social media mingling
As you already know, being friends with someone on Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll ever be friends in real life.
Heck, many of the people you follow on social media might not even know you exist. However, there are easy steps to get on their radar and cultivate real friendship.
The interesting thing is that many of the friendship factors that make people eager to be your friend in real life also apply online.
For example, the friendship factors of proximity and consistency are particularly useful online. Allow me to explain…
The proximity factor
In real life, you naturally make friends with people who are in close proximity to you (people you work with, neighbours, classmates).
The idea is that the more you see someone, the more you feel connected to them.
While your online acquaintances may not even live in the same country as you, you can create the sense of being in their world by the way you interact onine.
Get on their radar by watching their stories, commenting on posts now and then, and congratulating them on their achievements.
After a little while you can send a direct message and take it from there.
The consistency factor
In real life, consistency is crucial for establishing friendships, especially in the early stages.
Online, it’s just as important to have consistent contact with new friends. That’s why joining an online group that has weekly meetings is a great way to make and deepen friendships.
You don’t have to stick to boring zoom meetings. You can also have streaming parties using apps like Teleparty, Kast, and YouTube Party.
If you’re into playing games, the House Party App is a fun way to connect.
Be quietly courageous
Extending an offer of friendship can feel scary.
Even online, there is always the risk of rejection. You fear that they’ll leave you hanging in a purgatory of three flashing dots.
Taking small risks by first reacting to stories, and liking and commenting on their posts will help you to test the waters, without risking major rejection.
But it’s important to remember that connecting with someone new will always involve some vulnerability. Reaching out takes courage, but it’s worth it.
The more you flex your friendship-making muscle, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become.
Because introverts face unique challenges when it comes to making friends, I’ve put together a free 50-page Introvert Connection Guide.
Whatever else you take from this article, I hope you see what is possible.
You don’t have to settle for loneliness or unfulfilling friendships. You can make friends on your own introverted terms.
P.S. If you’re new to the blog, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Michaela Chung, author of The Irresistible Introvert and creator of this amazing innie community we have here. For several years, I’ve been building up a labyrinth of introvert resources that will take you on a magical journey toward more confidence, connection, and self-love. Start with this free Introvert Connection Guide.