Healthy Relationships and Making Friends Through Distanced Learning

*This week we discuss how to make friends in an online environment and what makes a healthy or unhealthy relationship*

Hi Friends!

How did your first week at school go? I personally found it to be quite disorienting just with trying to keep track of things in every class, but I also noticed one other thing about this year.

How am I going to make friends?

Without the social interactions of passing by in the hallway or seeing a friend in the dining hall to catch up with them, it can feel hard to translate making friends to our online atmosphere as well how to know if the relationships you have created are healthy or unhealthy. But that’s why HPW is here to guide you!

Funny story: to replicate the “in-class” conversation vibes, a friend and I were private zoom chatting during lecture and I accidentally sent a response to the whole class. Here is a meme to describe the emotions I was feeling:

Private Zoom Chat Mistakes



So then what are some ways we can connect with our classmates?

Exchange Social Media Handles

In doing so you can keep up with them and see what they are up too with stories and posts and have a method of communication that isn’t as formal as an email but more public than a phone number. To me, this is the online equivalent of hanging out in the student center and introducing yourself to people in the first week.

Join Clubs that Spark your Interests

I remember being quite unsure when coming to college of what extracurriculars I wanted to participate in, but after attending the involvement fair I found about three or four clubs that peaked some interest.

One of them was the club rowing team, and after I attended an initial meeting to understand how it would work, I decided to join and found a solid group of friends that way.

The involvement fair happened last week, but stay on the look out for DeHub’s events section as clubs often post their upcoming events there.

Study with a classmate and introduce yourself on the discussion board

If your professor hasn’t already made you introduce yourself, see if you can start a thread for introductions. This can be a great way to see how your hobbies and passions align with others and if they are the same major as you, feel free to email them and ask if they want to study with you!

Attend events that encourage you to meet new people!

Organizations such as Global Coffee host events throughout the quarter to help create a community that the students can be a part of. These events are a great way to exchange emails and social media handles with those who you felt interested in connecting with and continue to make you feel part of DePaul wherever you are!

Find communities outside of DePaul with your hobbies!

I recognize that DePaul has its limits in what it can provide but it doesn’t mean these tips can’t also be taken elsewhere! If you have a hobby that you are interested in and spend a lot of time on, there is bound to be a community out there for you to connect on!

A couple examples from myself these past couple months is connecting with people on discord and forums about sports card investing, and I also started learning Japanese and then found out even Duolingo has a forum for people! I’m also part of a subreddit for fountain pens that I check every once in a while too!

While privacy is a larger concern when being part of these groups, it is still an opportunity to meet and hang out with people who have similar interests to you! 🙂

Fostering old and new relationships

Having a healthy relationship is imminent to creating a supportive environment that you both benefit from.

Some signs of a healthy relationship are

  • Being honest with one another
  • supporting each others endeavors
  • respecting each others boundaries

In a time where ease of communication supersedes someone being ready for it, make sure you practice boundary setting to take care of yourself and know that you don’t always have to be “on”.

So then what do unhealthy relationships look like?

  • Power based dynamic (i.e. putting you down or making you feel inferior)
  • isolation from others
  • insults, jealousy, or physical harm
  • lack of honesty

If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship

The first thing to note is that abuse is always the fault of the abuser. I know there may be a sense of guilt and want to take responsibility, but recognize that you are only responsible for your own actions and not someone else’s.

Ask yourself if your own needs are being met.

Are you getting enough sleep? Eating enough? How has your mental health been? By finding time to ask yourself these questions, you are enacting a step towards change in the areas that you are able to fully control.

Reach out for support.

This can be from friends and family, or if that doesn’t feel comfortable, DePaul’s Health, Promotion and Wellness center would be happy to meet with you and provide some resources for you!


For more resources on healthy relationships go to or if you would like to contact the HPW team to set up an appointment go to and there will be emails at the bottom of the page and resources you can look through!

Also, feel free to check out for more quality information.

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