Hopping onto a random video chat site can feel a little odd if you’ve never done it before. Reading the site’s policies is one thing, but are there unspoken rules that you’ll have to learn about the hard way? Most people won’t experience this dilemma in the real world, since they grow up learning about the social dos and don’ts of the people they spend time with. Go through the same experience online, though, and questions abound.

Lucky for you, most random video chat sites are full of people who don’t really care what you do – but in a positive way. Sites like Camsurf will have thousands of users who are there just to chill out and have some fun; hardly anybody will be paying attention to how witty, knowledgeable, or coherent you are. 

That’s all well and good, but what can you do during those first few chats while you’re still learning the ropes? The suggestions below should give you plenty to get started with. If some of them don’t really sound like your thing, maybe they can be modified to suit your preferences better. One of the awesome things about video chats is that you have all the flexibility in the world to make them your own. Plus, if a chat isn’t going your way, there’s no need to white-knuckle your way to the end – you can move on to the next one in a matter of seconds!

Have a storytelling competition

Everyone likes a good story; in fact, a lot of random chats involve people telling stories just because that’s where the conversation went. You don’t have to wait around and hope that it happens incidentally, though; you could think of a theme and ask if they have something to share. It could be “cringiest road trip moments”, “times you wondered if you were living in the Matrix”, or “personal victories that changed your life”. Get creative – the only requirement is that both of you are having fun!

Start a tongue-in-cheek debate

The higher the stakes, the better. Tell someone from France that American cheese is the best kind of cheese to put on a sandwich, hands down. Have a passionate discussion with someone from the UK about whether tea or coffee is the better beverage. Even a discussion of fried chicken vs. BBQ could give you some interesting results. Think that’s a stretch? Find a Texan and ask them what’s the best wood to smoke BBQ with – but only if you’re prepared for how excited they’ll get when they bring up the nuances of hickory. 

Ask for tips and tricks from more experienced video chatters

You can pick up all kinds of handy information as you video chat, so why not learn more about random chatting right from the get-go? By the time you’ve gotten advice from a few people, you’ll feel like you’re practically a pro-level video chatter yourself. 

Get a friend to join in

The idea of jumping into a sea of video chatters can seem a little intimidating, but not if you know that someone’s got your back. Having someone right there beside you can bring a sense of familiarity to each chat, even as you meet one stranger after another. You might both decide that video chatting together is loads of fun, and keep doing it even after you’re comfortable on the platform. Or, you could get the hang of it and decide that it’s time for some solo attempts. 

Hopefully, that gives you some good material for your first few chats; now let’s get into a little background information. 

As was mentioned earlier, the people on video chat websites don’t have a lot of expectations – mainly because it would be pointless. With the sheer variety of personality types, perspectives, and preferences that you can find on video chat sites, you have to be willing to take what you get. If you have a roll-with-the-punches attitude, you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying yourself on any given chat. 

You’ll meet a lot of people who are different than you as you video chat, and that can be both enjoyable and eye-opening. However, keep in mind that not every chat partner is there with wholesome intentions. You may run across the occasional bully or scammer, so if your gut starts telling you that something seems off, just click the “next” button to open a new chat. Bullies will be pretty obvious, but scammers will try to make you feel like you’re their new best friend. If they start asking about personal details, though (like your full name, address, email, etc.), that’s a big red flag. Same thing if they send files for you to view or download – that’s a hack waiting to happen. 

Just because there are some sketchy characters on these sites doesn’t mean that you should avoid video chatting altogether; it just means that you should set some common-sense boundaries for yourself and your chat partners. 

Random video chatting doesn’t just relieve boredom or provide free entertainment; you could also find that you’ve become more socially confident as a result of talking freely to strangers. It’s easy to have conversations in such a low-pressure environment, especially knowing that a clean slate is literally one click away. Most people value commitment, but in the context of video chats, commitment simply isn’t necessary. You can take each chat for what it is; if you aren’t really enjoying it, you can find another one without letting anyone down. You might even get passed over a few times by disinterested chat partners, and that’s fine – if they weren’t feeling it, just find someone who will. 

You have more control than you think over random video chats.

You can’t decide who you end up chatting with, but you can influence how each chat goes. The more prepared you are, the better your chances get of having a great experience. What do you think will happen once you start chatting? Time to find out!

Also Read: 5 Ways the Internet Can Help You Cure COVID-19 Boredom