How Do I Build Social Rapport Online?

Tips for Building Friendships and Relationships Online

Cropped shot of a young african man using his laptop in a coffee shop
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Building rapport online is very similar to building rapport in person. It takes practice and involves a bit of intuition, but the ultimate goal is to create a connection and understanding with another person or group of people. If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), building rapport online can be one way to strengthen real-life relationships. Below are five tips to improve your online communication skills.

  1. Watch how others do it.

    One of the best ways to learn how to communicate online is to watch how others do it successfully. Take time to visit other people's Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and watch how they post, tweet and converse with others. Model your online behavior after those who easily gain the trust and respect of others.

  2. Be aware of how your online persona will be perceived professionally.

    If you have a career, be aware of how your online presence may impact your professional relationships. As a general rule, don't post anything online that you would not want to be seen by the general public.

  3. Use video.

    When possible, use video chats or video conferencing to bring a more personal touch to your online communication. Video makes talking online easier because you can see facial expressions and read the other person's body language. If you suffer with SAD and feel uneasy in front of a camera, try practicing with a webcam on your own until you become more comfortable seeing yourself on video.

  1. Connect offline.

    What is better than video? Connecting with people offline that you communicate with online is the only way to build solid friendships and relationships. Call once in a while instead of texting; make plans to meet up with friends with whom you usually talk online; and take a break from your computer or cell phone. For people with social anxiety disorder, it is especially important to spend time connecting in real life in order to practice social skills.

  1. Move on from relationships that don't work.

    Just as in real life, there will be times when you find yourself in online friendships or relationships that just don't work. Perhaps you put all the effort in a relationship or you are not appreciated for who you are. Maybe someone is demanding more of your time than you have to give. Move on from friendships and relationships that are no longer enjoyable or you will grow resentful over time.

Sources:

Get in Front Communications. 10 Ways to Build Rapport with People. Accessed June 3, 2011.

Write, Change, Grow. Being Yourself Online: Let People Know the Real You. Accessed June 3, 2011.

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