10 Things Not To Do When Meeting Your Internet Friends IRL

The transition from online to in person can be rough, especially when you can’t save face with a well-placed emoticon. Here are 10 DON’TS for those first real-life encounters.

1. Ask how many followers they have.

No one wants to admit to knowing this number. Don’t force them into the awkward position of pretending they have to dig deep for it.

2. Do this.

I know you’re excited, but seriously, play it cool.

It’s not like you’re going to get a satisfying explanation, unless you really need to hear “I couldn’t take one more whiny post about how your dad’s cancer is affecting your diet.”

4. Ask how they know your mutual friends.

The answers are almost always embarrassing.

5. Use Internet speak.

That’s what the Internet is for. In person, you can dazzle each other with your use of full, acronym-free sentences and proper grammar.

6. Only talk about the Internet.

You are more than your Twitter and your Tumblr. If you’re only talking about the Internet, you might as well have stayed home. And you didn’t put on pants for nothing.

7. Refer to them only by their handles.

You can probably just call him “Greg.”

It’s one thing to talk about it online, and it’s another to admit it in person.

9. Tell them they don’t look like their avatars.

Chances are they already know.

A flirty Internet persona could be just that: a persona. Respect people’s boundaries, and don’t think a bawdy back-and-forth means you’re definitely getting laid.

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