Making Online Friends: Easy or Not?

After taking time to talk about Destiny last week, I found myself wondering why it was that I enjoyed the game so much in the first place. This wasn’t all that difficult a question to answer, because I’ve answered it before. While Destiny had (and sometimes has) a lot going for it as a game, the real fun factor was getting to share it with friends in both real-life and online. In the Destiny 1 days, it was still easy for me to make online friends. I had a lot of people to share it with. These days though, I find it very difficult to do. So I wonder, how is it that we make online friends in the first place, and how difficult is it to do?

I have this sneaking suspicion that there are two big factors when it comes to making new online friends: time and need. The first is pretty self-explanatory: if you don’t have time to play consistently online, then you’re not going to be making any online friends. Just like in real life, online friendships only last so long as both parties are willing to put in the necessary time to maintain them. It used to be that I was often online and usually playing the same game or two. This made it very easy to make and maintain my online friendships, I think. It also made it all the more disappointing when online friends would eventually disappear, but perhaps that’s a topic for another time.

Then there’s need. This one’s a bit more tricky, because need tends to fluctuate. Even if you’re engrossed in a persistent online game like Destiny, you may or may not have a need for new friends. At the height of my Destiny 1 days, I didn’t have much need to make new friends. I had my core group for strikes and raids, and I had a couple more dudes to run PvP events like Trials of Osiris with. New friends were only sought when we had openings in our raid teams, and usually they wouldn’t stick around. After all, why would they if we didn’t need them and they didn’t need us?

Moving into the latter days of Destiny 1 and into the first couple of years of Destiny 2, that need increased. My core groups had all but abandoned the game, and I was constantly in need of people to play with. The thing is though, my schedule had broken from the norm (night shift, ugh…) so I couldn’t be available regularly enough to maintain any contacts. This, I think, is what really wound up killing Destiny 2 for me. The game definitely has PLENTY of problems keeping me from going back and trying again now, but it was that inability to make a new group that finally broke me from it in the first place.

That same problem persists even now, and it’s been mixed with other considerations over the past year or so. I’m now basically on the opposite side of the day from most of the rest of the people I could play with, and I’m no longer as willing to devote time to games as I once was. There are other things to take care of and better ways for me to be spending my time. As much as I may want those online glory days back (it doesn’t have to be Destiny), it’s looking less and less likely that I’ll be able to put in the effort to make it happen. So…perhaps there is one more factor at work here: age. Priorities tend to change as we get older, and it may very well be that this goal (online friends) is simply not compatible with my current priorities. Hmm…

Anyway, I suppose all this is to say that making and maintaining online friendships is only as difficult as you make it. Put in the time, effort and consistency, and you probably won’t have much difficulty. Take any one of those away though, and it’s very likely that you’ll make it impossible for yourself. Things really don’t get easier as we get older, do they?

What’s your take on online friendships? Do you find them easy or difficult? Are they important or not so much?

Image is an official promotional screen shot