Meeting people and making friends can be tough, especially if you constantly feel like you don’t know the rules. There are definitely rules; they can just be arbitrary and hard to pick up on. With video chats, on the other hand, the most important rules are laid out in black and white – just go read the terms of service! Once you’ve gotten those down, you pretty much get to set your own rules, as long as you respect the other users.
People act differently when they’re online; if you’re on a random video chat site like Camsurf, this can be a definite plus. There’s a lot more freedom, for one thing. People feel like they can act genuine to the point of awkwardness, express their weird senses of humor, and get second opinions on their off-the-wall ideas. With so few ground rules, the question becomes: what should you do if you have no idea what to do?
Before getting into the details, it’s time for a brief word of warning. While most of the people you meet on video chats will be there with good intentions, a certain percentage of the people on any given video chat site are scammers. If someone starts getting overly curious about your personal details, don’t give them any information that could be used to identify you. Even if the person seems legitimate, that could just mean that they’re good at being a scammer; at the end of the day, it simply isn’t worth the risk.
Now back to the fun part! Before getting into specific techniques, let’s go over the basics. First, don’t stress if it takes a while to match with somebody – it’s just a matter of time, and you’ll have every chance you need to improve your strategy. Second, make sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot with bad lighting or a hectic background. You don’t have to look like you’re video chatting from a Better Homes and Gardens catalog; just make sure that whatever your webcam is showing looks friendly and welcoming. Once you have those things down, it’s time to get the conversation started, using any of these six techniques.
1. Start off the chat with an attention-grabber
The first several seconds of a video chat are all the time someone needs to decide whether or not they’ll stick around, so being prepared with something that will draw them in could help make the decision for them. If you don’t already have something in mind, you could end up drawing a blank – and looking pretty boring.
Don’t just stick with one-sided jokes; get them involved with a quick game of “truth or dare”, or challenge them to see if they can top your absolute worst dad joke.
2. Get conversations going with characters and costumes
Most fanbases are made up of people from all different backgrounds, and many of these people find their way onto video chat sites. If you declare your passion for a certain TV show, video game, or anime by dressing as one of the characters, you’ll instantly be recognized by people who share your enthusiasm.
You could even come up with your own character – there are plenty of cosplay enthusiasts who might love to have a chat about your character’s backstory, or learn about some of your costume’s details.
3. Ask questions to show your interest
Video chats are awesome for anyone who’s desperately under-socialized, but the best chats will go both ways. Even if you have a lot to talk about, make sure that you’re giving other people the chance to share too. If you ask questions about their hobbies, family, or pets, they’ll feel like you’re genuinely interested in being friends. Be aware of how you’re phrasing your questions, though – you wouldn’t want to give the impression that you’re after their personal information. Avoid sounding suspicious, and you should be fine.
4. Start chats at odd hours to meet people from different time zones
It’s true that people from all around the world use video chat sites, but time zones are also definitely a thing. If you only chat in the afternoons, for example, that’s going to rule out entire swathes of people who happen to be sleeping while you’re online.
If you want to see what’s going on when people from different time zones are awake, try chatting at different hours to see who you can match up with. Who knows – you might decide that the 7 AM people are actually much more interesting than the 5 PM people.
5. Choose a country to focus on
Speaking of people from different time zones, it might be a fun project for you to search out people from a particular country or culture. Most people have one or two countries they want to visit eventually; if you’re one of those people, get a head-start on your travels by learning about the country from people who live there.
Not only will you be able to pick up some information that you could actually use, but you can broaden your perspective on life in general before you’ve even left the country.
6. Add a friend, sibling, or pet to the mix
You know how the people you know best don’t just get you through the tough times but often tease you mercilessly no matter what? Well, if you’re looking for a way to enliven your video chats, look no further. Watching you interact with your friend or sibling can be all the entertainment necessary for someone who’s looking for a hilarious video chat.
Pets can do the same thing – just don’t get jealous if they end up getting all the attention!
How do you feel about video chats now?
There are very few expectations on video chat sites, and that gives people more wiggle room as they express their own unique personalities. How will you express yourself? The more you chat, the better you’ll get – and the more you’ll enjoy yourself in the process.