While making friends online has become more common, some people still think that online friendships are odd and not real. That is why you might be reluctant to tell your IRL friends about the people you've met online. What if they don't support you? However, you will have to tell them eventually. Here are some tips for explaining your online friends to your IRL friends.
Tip #1. Don't make up cover stories. It's tempting to tell that you met IRL, for example, at a concert or Comic-Con. However, the easy way out is not always the best. You won't be able to lie forever, someday your IRL friends will learn the truth. So you'd better tell them the truth from the very beginning. Tell them you've met online and bonded over shared interests.
Tip #2. Explain them how online friendships work. In fact, meeting people online is not that much different from meeting them IRL. You talk, you get to know each other better, you have shared interests and inside jokes. Of course, you can't have face-to-face conversations with your online friends (Skype doesn't count), but that doesn't mean you don't know them or that you value them less than your IRL friends.
Tip #3. Don't be secretive about your online friends. Your IRL friends will probably ask you questions because they'll want to know how online friendships work. Don't get all defensive and refuse to answer the questions. The weirder you act, the weirder your online friendships seem. There is nothing embarrassing about having online friends, so don't be embarrassed.
Tip #4. Tell your IRL friends as much as you are comfortable with. You should answer their questions, but you don't have to tell them absolutely everything. It's okay to tell that you bonded over shared love for Marvel comics, but your IRL friends don't need to know that you ship Captain America and Tony Stark (especially if they have no idea what shipping is).
Tip #5. Give them proof. So, your IRL friends have suspicions that your online friends are not who they claim to be. Prove them wrong. Show them pictures of your online friends (you do have pictures, right?), organize a Skype session or even a meet-up. Give your IRL friends some proof that your online friends are real people.
Tip #6. Take it easy. If your IRL friends don't have online friends of their own, they'll probably never fully understand you no matter how hard you try to explain. That's okay, you'll just have to live with it.
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