Let’s be honest, we all had at least one message request online. Whether it was on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, there had been people who wanted to talk with us. While most of the time these people are “easy come, easy go”, some people put a mark on us. Some of them are pretty chill people. Some of them have to chill a little bit and some…just send chills down your spine. So, allow me to tell you my experience of meeting people online!
The good part
Oh, boy! I’ve met so many great people online! I remember being 13 and finding some friends online who shared the same interests as me. I was overjoyed! That was the first time I’ve been interested in learning a language. And that was the starter of my love for languages! It was quite useful as well. I could learn English and a little bit of Spanish while chit chatting with pretty cool people. Even nowadays, I still do that, especially with my commissioners. Having light conversations is a great way to relax.
However, none of these conversations lasted more than two or three months. I didn’t really catch any deep feelings of friendship with these people. It was fun, but in the end, they always ghosted me or just lost interest after seeing that I didn’t fall deeper in the rabbit hole for them. What I’m trying to say it’s that, while indeed it was fun talking with these people, the friendship didn’t last a lot. I wouldn’t even call it a “friendship”. Meeting people online was just a fun thing to do to pass the time.
The bad part
My first experience was around nine years ago. I was 11 and just opened up my first Facebook account. Back then, Facebook was really popular and I thought it would be a cool way to message my then childhood friends. I didn’t care who sent me friend requests, I’d always accept them, and I loved meeting people online! That was the biggest mistake. Because of that I’ve received a lot of weird, creepy and gross messages and pictures from people a lot older than me. I’ve been stalked online, harassed and this made me delete my Facebook account at 12. I was just a kid and those experiences marked me in a negative way.
I had to create another Facebook account at 15 since my homeroom teacher used this social media platform to communicate with us. I was hesitant, I didn’t upload any pictures of myself then, I didn’t accept any requests from ANYONE besides my family and childhood friends. Slowly, I started relaxing and if I knew someone I’d accept their friend request. Again, that was a big mistake.
At 18 I was harassed, stalked online and in real life by a guy from my high school. At first he seemed like a normal person who just wanted to make some friends and messaged me. He was a little bit younger than me, but he was a total creep! Luckily, after five months he stopped. I moved for college and once again, I started being really cautious about meeting people online
The best part
Time passed, I moved away from my hometown (and village) to start my college life back in October 2019. I couldn’t enjoy much of it since the pandemic appeared and everything moved online in March 2020. Then, in April 2020 a guy messaged me. Looking back at my past experiences I was really hesitant. I’ve told myself: if he is just another creeper I’ll just block and report him. Talking with someone new could be fun. He was from another county, didn’t know where I live, so why not?
We started talking. I’ve analyzed every single word he wrote, how he wrote it, and he seemed way too nice to be real. Fast forward to September 2020 he told me: hey, why don’t you start doing art commissions? And that’s how I started earning my pocket money from my art. Pretty cool, right?
We started talking on Discord. Seeing and speaking to each other was more enjoyable. He started opening up about his life and so did I. It was already December and my birthday was really close. He insisted on giving me a gift. I said ok, he was acting a little bit suspicious so I kept an eye on him. On 10th of December his gift came…It was him. He talked with my family if he could come to our house for my birthday. I could not believe it!
Then, he came again, for the New Year Eve. I’ve realized he is a great guy and a wonderful and kind person. We plan on meeting again. He’s such a hardworking person that he motivated me to give my best. I didn’t tell him this. And surprisingly, he told me the exact same thing.
Meeting people online can be tricky. You can find amazing people to talk to. You can also find creepy and dangerous people. I don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s risky, and although I’ve met this wonderful and kind individual, it is not a safe place, especially for children.
So, if you are a teenager (or an adult) who loves meeting people online you should keep an eye open. Do not trust people easily. Do not give away personal information or pictures. What happened to me could happen to you too (and I’m not referring to “the best part”). Social media can be a great medium to find new, amazing people. Social media can be a really scary place too. Meeting people online can be an ugly experience. Take care who you are talking to!