Distance Learning Friendship Building Suggestions

It’s time to debunk the myth about socialization challenges and distance learning. Too many people mistakenly believe it’s not possible or that it’s very difficult to make friends. But in fact, it’s neither. Distance learning offers many opportunities to socialize, if that’s what you want to do.

Here are 6 simple suggestions for developing new friendships in a distance learning environment.

It all starts with your classes

Some distance learning classes are more conducive to group participation than others. When choosing your classes, look for ones that place a heavy emphasis on interaction. Communicating with other students using forums, chat and blogs is a really good way to start meeting other students. As an added bonus, interactive classes may result in a better quality education overall.

Initiate conversations

Lots of students are shy about speaking up in class, even when communication takes place online. If you’re not shy, speak up. And even if you are, speak up. Someone has to start conversations, make (polite) jokes and ponder issues, so why not you? It’s a great way to get noticed, rack up extra points for participation, earn a reputation as a leader, and of course, meet your classmates.

Make it a point to remember others

Like a good salesperson, you’ll have an easier time making and maintaining friendships if you act interested in what others have to say, respond to their comments, and remember small things about them.

Visualization helps

Some distance learning classes make use of avatars which is a great way to “put a face to the person.” When classes don’t make use of avatars, try to visualize what you think other classmates look like. It’ll help you recall who’s who and make communication easier.

Help others

People remember those who help. So point out confusing issues, direct others to useful links, answer other classmates’ questions, and do whatever else you can do to help, as often as you can.

Think of everyone as a future networking opportunity

You never know who your classmates know or how someone may be able to help you out in the future. So always be kind and courteous and never burn any bridges! If you’re in disagreement with someone, that’s okay. Just be mature about the way you handle it.

Like most things in life, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if you’re willing to expand your social network during your distance learning experience, you’ll figure out a way to do it!