On average, people today have roughly 150 friends on the internet, but that number can easily get up into the thousands. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can make it seem like you have a crazy amount of online friends. So why do you still feel so alone?
It doesn’t matter how many posts you “like,” “heart,” or “react” to; you still spend most days alone. It’s rare for you to be invited anywhere, so all your free time is spent at home by yourself.
How many of your online friends care about you and your life? Are you spending quality time with the real people who do? Or maybe your online friends actually are real friends, not everyone has the same definition of friendship.
What is more important to you, your online social life, or your real one? Or, does your online social life make you just as happy, or happier, than face to face meetups? Would your life change drastically if you didn’t have social media? Or is social media simply part of your social life, rather than the only part?
There is no small talk or social awkwardness when you talk with a true friend (unless of course you suffer from social anxiety, or you’re in an early stage of a friendship that may or may not become “true”). Instead, you genuinely want to hear what they have to say, and they are the same for you. Often, you will have similar interests and hobbies that keep you connected (something many online friends typically enjoy).
A real friend doesn’t care how much you change as you get older; as life changes, the connection between you is still there.
You are comfortable telling them about the good and the bad, the failures and the achievements. They will be honest with you and tell you how it is, not beat around the bush. They will defend you, support you, and listen to you.
When you have a genuine friendship with someone, you share trust. You are loyal to each other and have each other’s confidence. You can go to each other for advice or even just vent, and they won’t judge you.
An acquaintance is someone you know slightly but isn’t a close friend; someone you’ve been in contact with or used to be but don’t frequently spend time with. A good portion of the people you interact with in your life are just acquaintances that you stay “friends” with if you have no other choice. It could be a coworker, neighbor, or friend of a friend.
Sometimes you may both be involved in a mutual social activity, do someone a favor, or be a last resort call in an emergency.
However, because you don’t have a genuine friendship with that person, it’s generally fairly casual and surface-level interaction and lots of small talk.
You typically won’t disclose things about your personal life or have meaningful conversations. For the relationship to evolve beyond that, both people would need to be open to sharing more about themselves with the other person, which requires being vulnerable.
Social media platforms like those we’ve previously listed have helped us connect with many people that we probably would have never met otherwise. We can even chat with people who share our specific interests by joining groups, forums, or apps and searching for something specific.
However, are you really friends with somebody if you’ve never even met them in person? If someone sends you “LOL,” did they really even laugh out loud? A lot of the time, our online persona is nothing like how we are in real life. Spending time in someone’s physical presence is the best way to get to know them.
Adding more and more friends to your online profile may make it seem like your social circle is growing, but if they are not present in your day-to-day life, they are only one click away from not being your friend at all. People from your past, coworkers, or mutual friends you see around are not people that you need to know every time they are grilling a steak or watching the game.
The Secret to Genuine Friendship
The key to making friends is to be someone people can admire and respect. If you are not happy with your life and portray yourself that way, nobody will want to be around you. People want to be around people who make them better and can complement their personalities.
If you come across as needy and insecure, people will often feel uncomfortable around you and be inclined to steer the other way. This is especially true if you’re looking to attract women.
Despite society’s attempt at breaking gender norms, a large percentage of women still want a strong, confident man, and a lot of men still want a friendly, self-assured woman. But, of course, everyone is different and this might not be your style.
Don’t buy into the pop culture lie about being thin enough, tan enough, or wearing expensive clothing. How you carry yourself is the most important factor in making people like you. Be kind to others, but also be kind to yourself. Be confident in who you are, and act like it.
If you are confident in who you are, you won’t be distracted by constantly thinking about what people think of you. Who cares if you are weird? You will not impress everyone, so don’t bother trying by being fake. Be true to yourself, love yourself, and others will come to love you.
People can absolutely tell when someone is trying too hard. We all know that person—the chameleon who is constantly changing personalities based on what they think people want from them at the time. They are never consistent; they are different with one person than they are with the next. Sometimes it can be subtle, but if you’re getting close to someone, then they will notice.
Nobody wants to be friends with a desperate person, let alone date them. Not to mention, you don’t want to feel like a charity case.
If you want to turn your dating life around, you have to take the time to learn what the opposite sex is truly attracted to. All it will take is one success, and your confidence will likely lead you to more success.
Learn that it is also okay to be just friends with the opposite sex. Single people often feel awkward around anyone of the opposite gender because what if they’re the one? Nobody wants to be friends with someone they think is just looking for attention, or worse, just sex.
People want to feel valued and appreciated for who they are as a person, and what they have to offer. This is especially true for women. So if you are a man looking to attract a woman, talk to her. Don’t try to just pick her up, because they can sense that a mile away.
Often, if a man and a woman have a deep connection that starts with a good friendship, intimacy will follow. This is not always the case, but it’s absolutely how some of the best and strongest relationships come about.
You don’t need to be kissing people’s asses to make more friends; that is not the point here. Just be a good friend, respect people, and be confident in yourself and your ability to make others’ lives better.
So, are online friends real friends? If you’re focusing only on likes and followers maybe not. But what if you share a connection typical of an offline friend with an online friend? It’s possible that people can enjoy real friends both online and off.