Lonely late 30 something guy, looking for good online chat communities.
June 13, 2010 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Years ago I used IRC and Yahoo chat a lot. Then over time Yahoo got so infested with spam bots that people stopped using it. I am hoping to find a new realtime online chat, (preferably not video chat), that has great community and no spam, and that is not related to dating.

I tried Second Life, but it didnt really work well.

On an aside, I am interested in how late thirty somethings, who are lonely and such meet new people in real life and make friends. I go to the gym a lot, but I am not good about talking to people in general and the gym is not the place for it in my opinion.

I have done various "hobby" classes, and workshops, but since i am a constant introvert, I dont make friends there either.

So I have found that my best avenue is to meet people online, I am very good in chat :) So my end goal is to try to get to know more people.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
IRC still works.
posted by knz at 7:49 AM on June 13, 2010

Answering not quite the question you asked, have you checked out meetup.com for meeting people in real life?

It's really difficult for an introvert to take the steps to move a casual 'we took a sewing class together' acquaintance into an 'and then we went out for coffee and caught a movie and now we're hanging out' friend.

But meetup has groups entirely dedicated to making new friends, so while it can still be hard to bridge that gap, it's much easier because the expectations on both sides are the same. You know the other person wants to make friends, so you know they're not sitting there thinking 'I just came to take a sewing class, why is this person bothering me?' (The sewing class person probably isn't either, but self-doubt and introversion can lead you to believe they are).

Plus, meetup.com is internetty, in terms of signing up to attend something, so it feels like safe territory for those of us who are a little socially anxious.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:04 AM on June 13, 2010

As kmz said, IRC still exists and is socially as well as technically active. Many channels are crapfests but many aren't. I only dip into IRC for technical stuff, but know some people who socialize there.

OTOH, most of my friends who do significant amounts of online-chat-socializing seem to do it through WoW. (Or directly IMing people they already know, but that doesn't help you.)

I think that one of the best ways to meet people is still the old-fashioned friends-of-friends route. Though if you, like me, mostly make friends with other introverts it's still kinda hard going.
posted by hattifattener at 11:48 AM on June 13, 2010

I've been using IRC for the past 11 or so years, during that time I've met folks that have helped me get started in my chosen profession. It is indispensable, though I mostly stay away from the more generalized servers (efnet, etc) and stick with one that is more specific to the areas of my interest.

It probably makes sense for other types of chat too, that If you stick around an online community with people you're interested in (and I don't recommend WoW) you'll eventually become a fixture and befriended.
posted by TimeDoctor at 12:19 PM on June 13, 2010

re: irc

I use irc a little bit, mostly for technical chatting. Chatting is easier going in medium to small size channels, from my experience. e.g. a channel dedicated to a programming language is probably too huge for me, but a channel for the local user group of that language is much less daunting.

So, try irc, but maybe try to find a small group targetting a particular interest of yours.

oh, and does metafilter can has irc channel? It was too daunting for me, but maybe not for you.

re: in person stuff

Do you have an extrovert friend who can run interference for you? My so is extraverted, so yay. ps. I met him online via usenet.
posted by bleary at 1:11 PM on June 13, 2010

From my experience, the #mefi IRC channel was frightening and only a few steps up from 4chan. Would not recommend. Metachat has IRC channels, which is much, MUCH more PG-oriented, but if you're not already familiar with Metachat you might feel out of place. So hang out there first to get a feel for the vibe.

I've seen some forums that also have a realtime AOL chatroom that you can access with AIM. I don't know what the rest of AOL chat is like anymore, but that particular room was fine because it was specifically populated with people from my forum. If you're involved in an asynchronous message board, why not create your own chatroom for it?
posted by desjardins at 2:15 PM on June 13, 2010

Oh, we're not that bad, desjardins.

Ok, maybe we usually are.
posted by dmd at 5:55 PM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

meetup.com definitely works, and it will probably work best for you if you can find meetups with a small number of participants (so you can't be a wallflower). okcupid can be a viable source of friendships if you feel most comfortable getting to know people one-on-one (it's not just about dating, although that's why many people use it. if you're not good at navigating romantic waters, be clear in your profile that you are just looking to make friends).

I know you say you've tried lots of hobby classes, but have you tried the kinds that require teamwork or close interaction? rock climbing, sailing, racquetball or other competitive sports -- all these will give you face time with other cool people.

Just be easygoing, and don't worry if you're not confident about initiating friendships yourself; sooner or later, you'll fall in with a group that you can be comfortable around. It just takes time and a consistent positive attitude, so others can see who you are.
posted by Chris4d at 12:01 PM on June 14, 2010

#mefi is a great place to take the kids. desjardins has no sense of humor at all.
posted by 29 at 7:23 PM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

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