Five Tips For Making Friends in Second Life

keep-calm-and-make-new-friendsI once met a lady who thought she’d try Second Life but lasted only a few days because she couldn’t find anyone friendly to talk to. People hardly noticed her, and because of this she didn’t return for several months.

I’m no expert, but I have some tips that might help to overcome this based on what I’ve learned from my own SL experience. There are far more, I’m sure, but these are some that have helped me personally.

1. Use SL “search” to find places you share common interests with people. C.S. Lewis said “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” To increase your chances of finding people you can relate to, look for places with keywords of things that interest you. It can be the love of a certain music to a fondness for a real life place. You will hit it off with people more if you have something in common to talk about.

2. Do not wait for people to come to you.  Be friendly and initiate conversation. In an ideal world people are thrilled to see us, but Second Life, just like “real” life, is not ideal. Instead of expecting people to make an effort for us, we need to swallow our pride and talk to them first.

3. If at a club, show appreciation by tipping. If you donate when appropriate, especially in a smaller place, this says “I appreciate what you are doing here!”  If you have nothing to give that’s ok. A sincere compliment (emphasis on sincere) can also show appreciation. For instance, if the DJ is playing great music, tell them. Positive feedback can mean even more than a tip sometimes.

4. Give it time. Want to know the secret formula for being my friend? Be in my vicinity on a regular basis and talk to me. Unless a person is intentionally offensive or incredibly boring, if they do those two things they’ll probably end up a friend. Some things take time, though. People need to get used to seeing you around.

5. Obey the golden rule. Treat people the way you would like to be treated. It may sound simple, but it’s probably the most important thing on this list.

So there you have it. Five tips for making friends in SL. Feel free to post more if you have any!

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  1. Personally, I favour randomly issuing friend requests to total strangers from half way across the sim. I find that the path of friendship is usually eased if this is followed rapidly by a demand for lindens, a place to live and ‘teh sex’ – not necessarily in that order!

    It’s possible this comment is a little tongue in cheek! 😉

    s. x

  2. We talked about Second Life being a game or not , here is where Second Life can help you with real world issues like making friends. There’s really only two steps to making friends in a particular place : (i) Don’t be afraid to talk to people or make comments in open chat ; and (ii) keep turning up. Don’t quit ! Even if you think everybody hates you, keep turning up and then they will get used to you and then eventually start to like you.

  3. I know that a lot of people go to clubs and dance and chat and all; it’s common and it works for some people but it doesn’t work for others. most dance clubs make me cringe; especially when i’m around people that just love using gestures…. it’s kinda mind numbing; we aren’t all rolled off the factory floor with identical programming.

    Friendship is normally going to be the result of the shared experiences, adventures, interactions you have over time. There are many ways to share experiences and adventures, there is a huge variety of possible activities to engage in within SL.

    I would suggest that you learn to roleplay and get out there and do it.

    Roleplay adds a lot of dimension to your interaction by providing many of the aspects of communication that are lacking in casual ‘chatting’.

    in this alternate universe known by some as “Real Life” the vast majority of communication is non verbal. It comes from body language, facial expression, the tone of voice… this is all lost when we switch to a text only medium. roleplay adds that back and allows you to include actions, sensations and overcome the limitations of the available props/animations etc.

    There are many roleplay areas with a wide variety of themes. find one you enjoy and immerse yourself in that environment. establish your character and within that world become that character.

    To illustrate the concept I’ll give two examples from yesterday….

    approach 1:
    wanna have some fun? lol

    approach 2:
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx slips quietly from the shadows behind the diminutive girl; his sharp talons grazing across her skin as he grasps her elbow with a stalwart grip; leaning closer; his breath hot on her neck as he greets her with a low gutteral growl…..

    approach 2 may or may not be to your particular interests but it is clearly a richer, more detailed approach, it paints a picture far beyond what you get from approach 1; It sets a pretty clear mood and gives me something to respond to. Approach 1 went nowhere; he can’t even clearly say what he’s after. “wanna have some fun” and what’s with the “lol”? seriously?

    granted approach 2 led to an enjoyable scene. it isn’t a “friendship” yet although it may become one over time. all of the people that I consider good friends in SL have been people I met via roleplay over the past 8 years. some of those friends I’ve been with for most of those 8 years and still see nearly every day. a few I’ve even visited in real life and talk to nearly every day both in world and out.

    1. Great points, and really well made – personally speaking, I react the same way to finding myself in a roleplay environment as you might in a club, (to be honest, most of the stereotypical SL clubs leave me cold anyway).

      Bottom line is that whatever environment you feel comfortable in, that’s where you’re most likely to make connections, open up to others and form friendships, and – of course – sharing common interests is going to go a long way towards forging any sort of relationship.

      It’s an important point you make about RL communication being reliant so much on non-verbal communication, that’s something that’s difficult to interpret in the largely text-based environment of SL and I imagine that this is something that roleplayers would be particularly adept at. Perhaps my reticence towards roleplay is partly down to an unwillingness on my part to spend the time or make the effort to create a character and develop a persona other than ‘me’ – something that experienced roleplayers would invest a great deal effort into developing.

      In a way though, SL can itself be perceived as a form of roleplay, albeit on a different level. Undoubtedly though, virtual friendships are worth cultivating and can, in some cases, be as enduring as the real thing.

      s. x

    2. I am a little bit of the mind of both of you. In that, I mostly don’t like clubs. Especially when they are huge and well visited (and I get called hun). Lots of insincere happy to see you’s and tip expectations, with little to no actual friendship. The more established the club, the worse it is IMHO. By no means am I saying this is black and white. Staying open minded and giving things a chance can still yeild friendships and fun experiences.

      I also dont do the role play thing. I’ve done it, however. I used to slay monsters on a cool hud driven Sim a looong time ago. I used to be a native American in tombstone, az Sim. I even tried my had at a slum Sim being a gang member (seriously lasted about a week). I found i don’t like the switching between huds and outfits and the rules especially. I also found unless I am at that Sim, my rp friends didn’t talk to me or visit other places. They were so immersed, unless I was hudded up wearing my outfit, I would be a total stranger to them, lol!

      In short, we are all different in how we approach things and feel and understand and think. Find something that works for you and have fun. Most will not talk to a weirdly quiet avi staring from the corner (I might tho). Saying hello still works tho 🙂

  4. When I dropped out of the sky into SL for the first time, I treated the experience like the newborn I was. What I mean is, I didnt know anything so I proceeded to put everything in my mouth. 😉 I found what I liked personally and talk to those with similar experiences. Even if you put something in you mouth you don’t like, you’d be surprised who you meet outside of your comfort zone. People may even come to you!

    Example: when I was still fairly new and developing my avi, I went exploring. While at this Sim with typical stores etc, my IM beeps at me and someone named Zues asks me about my avi looking like John Lennon and we immediately clicked. We went on to form the Beatles of SL with him playing George. I still know him and who he is in real life, we are friends on FB still and one day I know we shall meet in RL.

    Point is, the Sim I was exploring had nothing to do with my interest in Beatles, still I was approached by a stranger I couldn’t even see yet. Being on, staying on and exploring (even out of your comfort zone) SL, in that respect, is the single most important thing on Shaunas list. Be yourself, have fun, explore and find similar interests.

  5. It’s amazing how you really are just dropped into a foreign country. I spent the first few weeks just bouncing around anywhere that looked vaguely interesting, and made my first friends when walking past a bunch of people quizzing for coins. This became my obsession in the early days, scrubbing about for money, so one of the first things I would advise anyone to do is put a bit of cash in. It doesn’t have to be much, but enough so that you can spend your time without worrying about it.
    The other thing I found that made things come alive was chat. Just talking to people, and being in places where people did too. If you roll up to a place with lively chat you can soon gauge the tone, contribute, and you won’t feel like you’re shouting in a library. I feel ones experience will be essentially sterile if all you do is log on and fire off gestures.
    What our Shauner is saying is essentially right, look for what suits you out in the real world, better still, find what would have suited you if you had half a chance to experience it, like retro clubs.
    I did try, very briefly, the role playing thing, but just felt a bit of an idiot. It’s hard to suspend belief when you’re giggling to yourself. I realise some people take it very seriously, a little too seriously sometimes (bloody Vikings, getting all uppity when I looked at their ship) but you’d need to be ready to commit a lot of SL time for some.

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