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Gaming With SMA: Finding Friends in Online Gaming

Written by Bryce Parks
Posted on May 4, 2022

When you first get started with online gaming, finding friends can feel virtually impossible without some type of guidance. Here are a few ways I’ve met online friends to game with.

Good Sportsmanship Leads to Friendship

Sometimes when I play competitive games, I find a random opponent who provides good competition. After the game is over, I may send a message showing good sportsmanship. Writing “GG” (for “good game”) in chat is the way most gamers communicate positive feelings after a playing session. Of course, the other person may have a different perspective of the game, but it’s still a nice gesture.

If the other person reciprocates with a kind message, a friend request is often a good next step that shows you’re up for playing again sometime. Once the friend request is accepted, the door is open to play more or get to know each other. At this point the hard part is over, and it’s just a matter of socializing.

Find People Whose Outlooks Match Yours

I always try to keep in mind that every community has its own set of people with various personalities. Most of us are naturally drawn to those with similar outlooks on life, but there are no rules for who to be friends with.

Generally speaking, if I am in a group setting, I can tell who is the type of person that I would want to play with frequently. Toxicity is common in gaming culture, and it’s not fun to constantly be surrounded by negativity. I try to be mindful about who I’m building friendships with and spending time with.

Speaking Builds a Connection

If you’re looking for social connections, speaking into a microphone is a great way to connect with others during games. The ability to communicate verbally with other players can make the game more immersive without pausing to type into chat and interrupting the flow of the game. I love being able to share immediate reactions with others because it helps with building a connection.

Most random strangers in games do not want to talk verbally right away, preferring to get to know someone via typed chat first, but sometimes they’re open to it. Sharing a laugh is a great way to start a friendship in a video game, the same as in real life.

Tips for Young Gamers

Younger gamers may accidentally become connected with the wrong individuals. Whether it’s a bad influence or someone who behaves aggressively, it’s easy to bump into the wrong crowd. The best way to avoid those interactions is to only give children access to games that have lower maturity ratings. (Read more about choosing games and ESRB ratings.) The chance of encountering negative people in games developed for children is much more slim.

The downside is that most popular video games these days are those meant for older players. Kids are typically exposed to those more mature games one way or another — and would often rather play them.

I always suggest parents have a discussion with their children about the potential dangers of playing with others online. Every gaming platform with the ability to make online friends also has the capability to block users from interacting with people. (Read more about choosing a gaming platform.) Teaching children not to give out personal information and how to block others is the best way to ensure safety. Parents can also perform regular checks to see what’s being shared in typed chats and groups.

Be Smart and Have Fun

Gaming online with friends can be a great experience. It’s worth attempting. Finding a good group of people can lead to memories that last a lifetime. Always take precautions to ensure your safety, but in most cases, being social is all you need to get a foot in the door of a satisfying gaming friendship.

Read more about gaming and SMA:

Columnists on mySMAteam discuss SMA from a specific point of view. Columnists’ articles don’t reflect the opinions of mySMAteam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. Content on mySMAteam isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Posted on May 4, 2022
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Bryce Parks has SMA type 2. He hopes to make a difference to people through a variety of creative forms. Learn more about him here.

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