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I just got home from New York Fashion Week; I went with one of my best friends on the planet, Taylor. We’d been planning this since ~February, when we snagged tix to Lady Gaga’s Philadelphia Joanne Tour (which is in the running for most amazingly epic things I have ever experienced, ever) and thought to ourselves, Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we went to Fashion Week?? HA. We both lovelovelove style + all that jazz…we just weren’t sure how we felt about actual Fashion Week, full of Vogue couture, models that live on “an egg” for the day (true story, overheard in elevator), and flashing runway lights. Turns out, we had a blast…more on that to come. 😉 And after FaceTiming daily for months, this was our first time actually meeting in person! T and I have known each other for over a year now from le internet, and we’ve been in this lil’ #squad Mastermind of other badass babes who we call best friends. Which in and of itself is just mindblowingly awesome to me, since there’s really nothing better than surrounding yourself with the most inspiring, genuine girls who get what you’re going through, get where you’re coming from, and just get you.
I’ve been doing a whole lotta thinking lately, especially since our 1-year wedding anniversary is this weekend (!!!). Reflecting on my wedding has me all sappy, not just reflecting on J + I, but thinking of all of the amazing family + friends that were a part of the day. Since getting married, the funny/amazing thing is that we’ve met more people + made more friends through everyday life, and if we had to do it all over again *now*…it would be an even bigger party! We each had 4 peeps in our bridal party, but if I were getting married this month instead of last year, I’d have 10+ girls by my side.
Many of which I’ve met on the internet.
Which is the coolest, biggest blessing in the friggin’ world if ya ask me.
Anytime I tell people what I do for a living (+ inevitably have to explain in-depth, since it’s still a seemingly crazy concept to make money on the internet in a completely legitimate way – ha!) and that some of my best friends are people I have yet to actually meet in person, I’m met with wary looks + people thinking I’m getting catfished.
Cool, E. Are you sure these aren’t just 50-year-old men from East Jabip pretending to be 20-somethings on Instagram??
But really, I SO strongly believe in the power of community over competition, and I think it’s 100% possible to not only make a living doing what you lovelovelove, but also meet your soul friends along the way. (Check Taylor’s post on community over competition in blogging, too – it’s top notch, yo.) I swear to you, once you know how to make friends online, your life can be transformed. Dramatic? Maybe. True? Totally.
So, if you’ve been wanting to know how to make friends online (the right way, not the creepo way), here’s how it’s done:
- Always hold true to your authentic best self. The internet gets a bad rap sometimes for being this shady place where people make up these totally fake, wannabe personas to live out online. Sometimes…that’s totally true, unfortunately. I’ve met people in person after “knowing” them online, and there’s nothing more disheartening than coming to find that someone you really liked online is a bit less-than-likeable IRL. The best way to ensure that doesn’t happen? Vow to always be your authentic self, both online AND offline. There’s nothing that makes me happier than meeting readers in real life and having people say “You’re just like you are online!” or “I can hear your voice in my head when I’m reading CUR because it’s written just like you talk!” True aaaaaand true. I really truly pride myself on being exactly me online, because I like to think we’re all a buncha girlfriends just hanging out over coffee or wine…just with a screen between us most of the time. 😉
- Don’t hold back. We talked about this here a lot, but it’s worth saying again. You make friends by BEING a friend. Friends help each other out. Friends really care about the well-being of another – they take care of each other. They don’t “show all of their cards” while holding an Ace under the table.
Striped Culotte Jumpsuit (50% off right now!) // Sleeveless cardigan // Star Platform Sneakers (Steve Madden found at Burlington – seriously, check out Burlington for shoes, because I ALWAYS find amazing deals there! Similar options here and here)
- Be genuinely genuine. In the same vein, it’s reaaaaally obvious when someone just wants to be your friend to get something out of it. In blogging and in LIFE, it happens, and it’s obvious. No bueno. Don’t just sweet talk someone to get something. Even if you get it now, you won’t get anything later. Knowing how to make friends online is similar to making friends offline in that fakers can be spotted a mile away. When you’ve got a good gut, you just know. If something smells fishy, it probably ain’t steak.
- Don’t just talk about blogging. Or coaching, or freelancing, or whatever the heck it is that y’all do for a living. It’s the same as work friends in a more traditional 9-to-5 setting; if all you did was talk about what’s going on at the office, your relationship would never be more than a surface-level work friendship. Similarly, you’ve gotta be willing + ready to break beyond water cooler talk if you want to build genuine friendships.
- Nix the filter. On social media, filters are trending (*all the social puns* 😉 ). But a filtered life doesn’t make friends. Filters are fake, and it just puts this fake, unrealistic, and sometimes downright unattainable lense over everything you do. The best way to make friends in real life is to “be yourself” and let people know you for who you really are, and the same really does hold up for making friends online, too. When I’m Skyping with my friends that I’ve met online, quite often, I’m not wearing makeup, I’m in my pajamas, my hair’s not done…I look like I just rolled outta bed, but that’s A-OK.
- Since my bae Taylor and I are quasi-collaborating on this, I’m stealing a one-liner from hers that needs repeating for the folks in the back: Get rid of the mindset that every relationship has to have more than just that. Build relationships for the sake of having really amazing, quality, lasting relationships. Not for any other purpose than that. Forget about any sorta “what’s in it for me” mentality that’s so easy to pick up when you’re combining work with play. Get to know people for who they really are. If someone’s follower count is impacting whether or not you want to get to know them, you’re in it – as the Bachelor would say – for the wrong reasons.
- Put the same intention into it as you would “real-life” relationships. Friendships take work! You can’t just not talk to someone for a month or two and expect it to be exactly the same as it would be it you caught up once a week (or more). Just as you dedicate QT to building your besties in real life, the same sorta attention + intention is needed to build up your circle online.
- Get offline. Ironic, since these friendships are starting online. HA. But really tho! If anything, I think online relationships require even MORE energy + effort than relationships built in person, since you don’t necessarily have the luxury of sharing an office, being in the same lecture, meeting up after spin class, etc. Schedule time on the calendar for virtual coffee chats + dates over rosé. How to make friends online 101 = take it offline ASAP. My first FaceTime calls with some online besties lasted literally four hours, five hours…it was amazing. Spend time face-to-face instead of screen-to-screen, and you’ll discover much quick whether or not it’s a true match for real friendship.
Do you have friends that you made on the internet? Would you consider it?
I know SO many peeps at this point who have a ton of friends from online, which I think is just so cool. And if ya think it’s weird…people find their spouses online nowadays, so it can’t be THAT different! 😉
P.S. ICYMI, I dished some inside scoop from our first few days at New York Fashion Week right here.
TGIF. I’m signing off for a bit since this weekend is our anniversary weekend – we’re gonna CELEBRATE! Follow along with that inevitable adventure on Instagram (@ericaligenza). In the meantime…have an amazing weekend.