People are more connected than ever and there’s a community out there for just about everything you can think of. You see it all the time; videos go viral, a tweet can spark outrage from the masses, and communities can raise money for an amazing cause or for charity. There’s an interesting note to take from those cases, and that’s the high potential of where no one has ever met each other in person. Technology certainly has sculpted social interactions very differently and each passing generation continues to rely on it more heavily, but the growing concern is, how does it affect our ability to create friendships out in the real world? I mean physically…people going outside somewhere together..hanging out.
If you’ve ever watched Rooster Teeth’s subsidiary YouTube channel, Funhaus, you’ll witness a group of comical, fun-loving gamers that do a great job of keeping viewers entertained from multiple types of shows they put on for subscribers. Podcasts, gameplays, movie reviews, and maybe to describe with difficulty, the channel’s ability to display their group friendship organically to the point where its like watching a YouTube version of the show, Friends. Channels like these can be very appealing for viewers who may find difficulty or little access with real-life social interactions. It’s not uncommon to be bad at, out of practice, or just plain anxious about it. But what’s important, if you are someone who desires something more out there than just from a computer or phone, is to get yourself out of that rut. Funhaus touches on this subject and brings up a good point that watching them isn’t friendship. It’s voyeurism. To idealize what you’d want your group of friends to be like towards a youtube channel is unrealistic. We can’t edit real life into the funny quips and reactions YouTube personalities refine and arrange in 15 minute videos. Regardless, to gain personal connections in-person can lead to a healthier life experience overall, even if its not what you expected.
So if you find yourself, maybe supplementing YouTube as your source for social connection, remember that you can do something to change that, if you want to. Again, this may be easier said than done, but the main takeaway from any attempt is a step forward and worth the trouble if you find a meaningful connection in real life. It’s tricky to just list suggestions, especially since everyone is different, but if there is one type of mentality we’d harp on, it would be to think on Lawrence’s (From Funhaus) answer during this discussion, try hard to “rip off that band-aid”. Put yourself out there the best way you can and stop putting yourself down about it.
Without breaking down too heavily of what you could do, some tips we’d think of would be to look for those “ice breaker” conversations. Comment on their band shirt (maybe ask them if they’ve seen the group live?), or spot out those people with similar interests that may be evident is someway and you could get a discussion going. There is no harm in asking questions about something a person is actively interested in, or people may find the warmth in your active interest and curiosity with something they’re working on or a project they’re involved in. Also, it may be welcoming to express a little generosity, (not meaning buying their friendship) in a small singular way by offering to buy them a coffee. A nice gesture can go a long way if you’re attempting to transition from a passing conversation to a possible and proper introduction to one another.
Above all, keep in good spirits, be respectful, and study up on social cues. We want to keep things comfortable and no ones going to land it right away. But if you keep trying, then you’re getting the point. Whomever you are, we know its lonely out there. So if you’re someone with that struggle, just remember, if you didn’t brave through every failed attempt, you wouldn’t have found the people that really count.