After roaming the Grid for a while, you are starting to realize the horrible truth – all that “making new friends” stuff does not work as good as it was expected. Everybody else seem to mind their own business or talk to somebody already.
However, after you talk to a few, it turns out most of them don’t mind having a nice conversation with you at all!
So people are not that unfriendly on Second Life. But why they are not very talkative either?..
The main reason for that is that Second Life is a mere projection of real life in a social sense. Imagine yourself being in a crowd of people, anywhere – on the bus station, for example. All are strangers to you. How comfortable would you be with starting a conversation to just anyone? You don’t know them. You don’t know what mood they are in. You don’t know what subjects they would be happy to discuss. There is a good chance the conversation turns out to be awkward for both, or you get insulted, or in extreme cases even punched in the face.
In Second Life? These are the same people, not flesh and blood, but mind and soul for sure. While in real life you can roughtly predict another person’s reaction to your friendliness by their facial expressions, in Second Life you are not provided this opportunity.
Thankfully, it is much easier to approach someone in the digital world – for a sole reason that Internet-relationship are simplified comparing to the real ones. You don’t have to watch your pitch, your facial and body expressions, and can concentrate on the conversation itself. Plus, everyone has profiles which are visible to each resident, and they might give you a clue how to approach another person – for example, you can compliment their avatar, or ask about themselves, show your interest overall. And finally, if the conversation just refuses to flow, you can just say goodbye and move over – better luck with someone else!
The point is – don’t be afraid to be disturbing. Best of all is that people in Second Life are just as eager to meet other people are you are – but just as shy as you are. They don’t want to disturb you in case you are busy. Show them that you are not! Even if they are busy at the moment, usually you will get a polite response and even an approximate time they need to become available for you.
If someone does not reply to you, you don’t have to take it badly. Here are a few possible reasons what might be going on:
1. They are AFK. Simple as that. They have logged in, realized they do not feel like doing anything and have left their avatar hanging. Don’t take it personally. They aren’t ignoring you in particular.
2. They are busy indeed. Maybe a friend of theirs messaged them and they are having a deep conversation with him right at this moment. Don’t take it personally. They would ignore anyone else just like they ignore you right now.
3. They are just not in the mood to talk to anyone. In the best case scenario, they’ll ignore you or ask you to go away. In the worst case one, they might even be rude to you. Don’t take it personally. We all have moods.
4. They just don’t know how to keep the conversation or what to talk about. But maybe you have a talent and manage to shake them up? If not… don’t take it personally.
5. They do not speak this language! The probability of this event to occur increases if you attempt to speak to them in the language other than English. Many people have English as their native tongue, other people speak it as a secondary language, so if you talk to people in English, you usually cannot go wrong. However, there are people who, sadly, do not take full advantage of Second Life and stick in their own communities even in the virtual world. If you are one of them and do not speak English… I have no idea how you are able to read this article. But if you speak English, just not very well – have a polite response in English ready.
Give it a bit of time and effort, and you will see that socializing in Second Life, without many real life boundaries and with the right people (which you eventually gather around yourself), is fun! Right now, you are reading what is written by someone who owes her relatively newly obtained confidence, a huge part of it, to this virtual world.
You will gain something from it too. What will it be?