Digital Friendships Relationships

How NOT to Lose Friends Online: 6 Tips for Social Media Communication

We have all done it or know someone who has. You’ve been chatting away on social media to a pal, when suddenly they get upset. It seems like it’s out of nowhere, right? In a world where we spend more and more time talking to friends and making plans online rather than in person, it can be easy for things to get lost in translation, and for offense to be taken where there was none meant. That’s why we have put together a handy little guide to making sure your best buds stay that way when you are talking online. 

1) Make your point clearly 

Can’t make their birthday party because funds are tight and your parents are insisting on family movie night (yawn)? Make sure you make your point clearly to your friend about why you can’t go and how bummed out you are that this is the situation. Don’t try to over explain it unless they ask for that level of detail, or it might seem defensive before they have even had a chance to reply.

2) Leave sarcasm at the door 

Sure, it may make you the funniest bud in the bunch, but using sarcasm, or even any humour when you are trying to explain why you will be missing out on your friend’s birthday bash of a lifetime might end up making you look like you don’t care about it at all, especially as they can’t hear your tone in your DMs. Or if you do, throw in a LOL or an emoji just to let them know what’s what.

3) If things do get heated, don’t get defensive 

Sometimes, they might not take the news too well that you can’t do something with them. Remember, this is probably coming from a place where they really want to spend time with you, are upset they can’t and don’t have anywhere to put their emotion.

Be calm, kind and if they get really mad, take a step back and give them some time to get used to the idea that you won’t be able to celebrate with them. Social media can make things escalate a lot quicker than in real life (can you say keyboard warrior syndrome?) and jumping on the defensive can often make things even worse.

4) Don’t try to fix something straight away 

Sometimes, when you fall out with a buddy over Whatsapp, the immediate response is to jump on a FaceTime and sort it out straight away. Try to resist this temptation – let the dust settle a little bit and try talking them in a few days. Ideally, you will be able to talk to them in person in a couple of days, but if not, send a little message saying you hope the issue can be fixed soon because you miss them. 

5) Don’t get the rest of the squad involved

We all know it can be super tempting to vent to another friend when something like this goes down, but getting the rest of the squad involved only escalates the situation further, and has the potential to ruin friendships long term. Chat to a family member or someone outside of the situation if you feel like you need to talk, or you can let us know what’s going on here.

6) Speak to them in person

Speaking to them in person is probably the best way to sort out any rift or issue where miscommunication on Whatsapp etc has been the problem. Talking on social media means you don’t have the added benefit of hearing their tone of voice or watching their body language. This is as much the cause of the problem as anything else, so trying to solve it the same way is probably not the best idea. 

And there you have it – some handy tips to make sure that next time you are cancelling plans you are not also cancelling friendship. 

Every relationship and every friendship has its ups and downs. Read our article ‘How to Avoid Getting Into an Argument’ here to to get some tips that will help you out for next time.

Friendship can be a bit of a rollercoaster. If this or anything else is bothering you, you can reach out the Ditch the Label Community here