Basic Etiquette to Use During Online Cam Sessions


Chatting online with strangers brings a lot of freedom. As long as you stay within the site’s terms of service (which some people don’t), you can pretty much say, do, or be whatever you want. Even so, it never hurts to observe a few boundaries, both for your own sake and your chat partners’ sakes. Say you decide to chat with strangers, and decide to be the wild-card chat partner. It might be fun to get that out of your system at first, but you’ll probably just end up getting skipped over by one chat partner after the other. Eventually, you’ll probably want some interactions that are a bit more meaningful.

On the other side of the coin, what if your chat partner is the one who isn’t exactly behaving themselves? You shouldn’t just watch out for other people; you should also act in your own interests. With that in mind, you’ll find a few tips below that’ll make any video chat more enjoyable.

Pay attention to their boundaries

There are the boundaries that most people have – stuff like not wanting people to talk down to them, be harsh about their appearance, or disparage their beliefs. Then there are the boundaries that are more specific to the individual – such as using specific pronouns, not swearing, or avoiding discussions about politics. While most of these types of boundaries aren’t a big ask, it’s really up to you to observe them or not. Asking you to use their chosen pronouns isn’t exactly a serious obligation, but it’s still a tricky thing to do if you aren’t used to it. Requesting that you don’t salt and pepper your language might only be a small modification, but that could also be seen as asking you to censor yourself according to someone else’s standards. These things should be taken on a case-by-case basis. If it wouldn’t offend you personally, there’s nothing wrong with a compromise. If you feel like you’re being told that you aren’t good enough to talk to them as you are, though, you’d probably be better off with another chat partner.

Ask if they already have a topic to chat about

It’s safe to assume that you already have a few things in mind when you decide to hop onto a random chat site. But guess what? A lot of other people do too. If you jump right into your topic of choice, your chat partner might not get much of a chance to say their piece. It’s fine if one or the other of you takes the lead in a chat; just make sure it isn’t always you.

Show up looking presentable

Some people show up in their pajamas, while others look like they’ve been sleeping on their friend’s couch for the last week. Others have obviously spent time on their appearance – maybe too much time in some cases. It’s up to you how much effort you spend on preparing for random video chatting, but it’s always nice if you at least brush your hair and put on a clean shirt. This not only makes a better impression, but it also tells your chat partners that you’re willing to invest a bit of effort in your video chats.

Introduce yourself

This hardly needs an explanation; introductions are just an elementary part of human interaction. You and your chat partner provide a bit of context, and it gives you both the opportunity to learn a little about each other before you jump into the chat.

Avoid sharing personal details

Speaking of getting to know each other, there’s a limit to information-sharing that you should always respect when talking to strangers online. You’ll probably run into a few identity scammers while cam chatting, so it’s important to be careful about which details you tell people about yourself. Childhood stories about your hiking trip in Colorado won’t do any harm, but revealing your full name, email, home or work address, and more could be enough to compromise your identity. If someone on a video chat site seems unusually curious about specific personal details, they might be trying to steal your identity or hack your online accounts.

Report users who are misbehaving

The average cam chat site doesn’t have very strict guidelines, so if a user is breaking them, they definitely deserve to be reported. At best, they’re being really annoying; at worst, they’re causing actual harm. Plus, by reporting them to the platform, you’ll be cleaning up the site and improving the experience for other users.

Don’t stick around if the chat doesn’t interest you

Remember the reason why you’re on the cam chat site – to entertain yourself. If a chat isn’t doing anything for you, there really isn’t any reason for you to stick around. Some people feel bad about leaving their chat partner hanging, but that’s actually typical on chat sites. You could literally leave them mid-sentence, and they’ll just find a different chat partner and forget about it. The same thing will be done to you occasionally, and it isn’t something to take personally; it’s just standard practice.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind

Even though the broader point here is about respecting other people, you should ultimately allow yourself to be authentic without worrying about how your chat partners will react. The fact that you’re anonymous can remove a lot of the usual inhibitions around saying what you really think, so unless you’re actually being rude or insulting, you should feel free to express yourself no matter who you’re chatting with. The best part is, as you get more used to expressing your genuine self online, you might find it easier to do the same thing in real life too.

The takeaway

Random video chatting is all about having fun – for both you and the people you chat with. Just let yourself relax, say what you think, and remember that other people have ideas, feelings, and preferences too. If you decide to use these tips, they’ll quickly start to feel like second nature.

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