In the era of digitalization, more and more people have started looking for ways to make friends online. Whether it’s staying connected with old acquaintances or expanding your social circle by making new friends, the internet offers a great opportunity. However, there are risks associated with meeting strangers over the internet. In this guide we will discuss various approaches to safely making new connections and building meaningful relationships over the internet.
Common (Virtual) Places to Make Friends
- Social media sites like Facebook are great ways to meet new people. You can connect with people who share your interests, and you can also join groups and participate in discussions.
- Online dating sites like eHarmony and Match.com are another great way to meet new people. You can create a profile and search for matches, and you can also participate in forums and chat rooms.
- Online gaming sites like World of Warcraft and Second Life are also great ways to meet new people. You can play games with people from all over the world, and you can also chat with them while you’re playing.
- Blogs and forums are another great way to meet new people. You can find blogs and forums that focus on just about any topic. Joining a forum where you can talk to people who share a similar interest or hobby is a great way to meet new friends.
Meetup Safety Tips
Congrats! You’ve met someone online and you’d both decided to get to know each other better by meeting up in person. While a potential new friendship is an exciting development, it’s always a good idea to keep your personal safety in mind and take the following precautions when meeting someone in person for the first time.
1. Verify their identity
The person you are meeting may appear nice and have a seemingly perfectly normal life on social media, but social media profiles can be faked, even copied, pictures and all. You can quickly and easily verify your new friend is who they say they are by using a verification search platform like PeopleFinders. With access to over 120 billion public records nationwide, PeopleFinders can provide a comprehensive report with both current and historical information on any adult over 18, anywhere in the United States.
2. Meet in public
Even once you have verified the person’s identity, you should still meet up in a public place, like a diner, coffee shop or park for the first get-together. While this may seem overly cautious, it is always better to be carefule when it comes to someone or something that can affect your personal safety. Meeting in a public place means lot of witnesses should anything questionable or dangerous occur during the meet-up. Even if the meeting turns awkward because it turns out you don’t connect in person, it’s much easier to end the meet-up if you are in a public place.
3. Build Your Friend Circle Safely
Making friends remains intimidating and challenging for many people throughout life, but if used in the right way, the internet make can make it easier to make new connections and explore new relationships. While making friends online can be a fun and easy process, guarding and protecting yourself, both physically and emotionally, should always be top of mind. Verifying the identity of anyone you meet online before meeting them in person is the easiest way to give yourself peace of mind and relieve some of the anxiety that comes with meeting new people.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people online, as long as you stay safe. Use a trusted verification platform like PeopleFinders and meet up in public places, so you can build your circle of friends safely.