Monday, January 14, 2013

Ask DrFran: It’s a Big Grid

By DrFran Babcock

Dear DrFran: 

My rez date is from 2006, but I left Second Life soon after I came in, and didn’t return until recently. I am amazed at how much has changed since then. The grid is a gorgeous place filled with amazing builds. Mesh has added so much to the way things look—it’s a paradise. The thing that is most striking to me is how vast the world is—it’s gigantic! I teleport from place to place to place, and I mostly find myself alone. That’s what I wanted to ask you about.

Back in 2006 I could find things to do by looking on the website at events. There were always a lot of events, and I found them. What was a problem back then is still a problem for me today. I just don’t know how to make friends here.  There are some places where I find lots of avatars: Frank’s Place Jazz Club, New Citizens Incorporated, and some of the Welcome Areas. I go to these places and hang around, but nothing ever seems to happen.

My question is: How do I meet people in Second Life? I don’t mean finding a boyfriend. I just want to have people to hang around with, explore to this fantastic place, and sit and chat. What am I doing wrong? Thanks, 

Lonely in Paradise. 

Dear Lonely: I chose your letter out of a pile of similar letters. There are many residents who feel alone here in SL, and are at a loss to figure out what to do to change this. As a result, many of them do leave, and never come back.

However, there is a lot one can do to make their Second Life a social and active environment. This does take a bit of self-honesty, if you are willing to do that. Here is a list of questions and suggestions:

1.     Am I really lonely? Do I really want to be with other people, or do I just think I should be with other people?

Believe it or not, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying solitude. Our society places a great emphasis on being with others, and folks who enjoy their own company can often feel different or excluded. The fact is that Second Life seems to attract many people who are content with creating and exploring without chatting or being around other residents. DrFran enjoys the solitude of creativity quite often. I say this so that those among you who feel this way might know that really it is OK. I am going to assume, Lonely, by what you have written, that you are not a happy loner.

2.     If I determine I do want to meet other people, then I have to think about a few things? Most important is the question of interest. What is it you like doing, Lonely?

You mentioned exploring the grid and chatting with others. As I said above, it is crucial to be doing the things you like to do in Second Life in order to meet people with whom you might have things in common. For example, like many people in Second Life, I like music. When I was a new avatar, I went to many concerts, and found that the performers I liked attracted people that I liked. But, that’s not enough. The only way that other people get to know me is if I talk. So, when I went to concerts, I started to participate in the conversations that always go on in open chat, no matter how compelling the performance. If you stand there an wait for things to happen, you will never meet people. I understand how shy people can be intimidated by the prospect of having to share in a populated environment, so there are other things I have done to ease myself into social situations:

a.     Do something where the conversations and interactions are expected in the event: Trivia and building classes are two events where talking around the task is structured in. If those don’t work for you, find something that requires you to speak about something in particular. You mentioned the events listing…they can still be found on the bottom of the website dashboard page. They are not as user friendly as they used to be, but they do exist.

b.     Get involved in a charity: Some of the best friends I have made in Second Life are the people that I worked with on the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. For many years I have helped with building and events, and this has helped me to develop relationships that continued beyond the event.

c.      Join a group: Group chat is often broken, but when it is not, it is a great way to chat anonymously with like-minded people. One of the easiest ways to meet people is to join a group that is involved in a hunt. The Peace on Earth Hunt Group had many members, and they chatted about the hunt and other things all the time. I have a friend who met a good friend from that group.

3.     Be honest with yourself about what you want.

At the risk of repeating myself: Do what you really like here in Second Life. The relationships will develop if you are true to yourself. It may sound crazy, but I have always been a lover of canals, and in my attempts to recreate canals with working locks here, I have met and become friends with a wide assortment of residents. Builders, scripters, geeks and the like were attracted to my interest, and we developed friendships that persist to this day. I don’t have a working canal at this moment, but I still have the friends.

I hope all of this is helpful to you, Lonely. There are ways to create a Second Life that more naturally invites other people into it. Anyone out there you has ideas on how to meet people is welcome to contact me with ideas and suggestions.

Take care, until next week.


DrFran Babcock


  1. "Be honest with yourself about what you want"

    Honesty in Second Life?

    I thought that was a TOS violation.


  2. I have to use in-world Search to get the full Events calendar, the website only gives me G sims. I usually tell new people looking to socialize that people gather for Events and try to help them to learn to use it. It takes more than one click, so it's really, really hard : ))

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