I 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!