I started using Discord in late summer. One of my friends introduced it as an easier way to configure voice chat while playing games of Among Us.
However, while we first started using it as a way to talk about video games, it has become an invaluable way for me to keep in touch with friends that I was struggling to maintain regular communication with.
I’ve never been great about reaching out to individual people unless I had a specific reason to – and those reasons are few and far between, especially now, when not much is happening, ever! Instead, I leaned a lot on group chats, where I could rely on other people to throw out topics of discussion and participate on an ad-hoc basis. Though this worked out fine for a while, especially when I could still see people in person, it started to become less reliable for me as time went on. I eventually narrowed my range of group chats down to a small amount, which was good for my easily distracted brain, but ultimately bad for actually keeping in touch with a wider range of people about a wider range of topics (as many of those chats were created for specific purposes or discussions about specific things).
However, Discord has allowed me to expand my horizons! Through the different rooms, I still have the structure of focused “group chats”, but with the ability to mute and lurk and and jump in whenever I want, without having to worry about people noticing that I’ve muted a chat, or feeling excluded from conversations. These servers also include friends that I do want to keep in touch with but have never had specific reasons to talk to, giving me a convenient way to have organic conversations with them.
Keeping up with friends has always been an immense source of stress for me – ask my therapist about it! – and while Discord doesn’t solve all of my problems (honestly, it’s created some new ones), I think it’s been a net positive, and I’m looking forward to continuing to use it in the new year!