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Making new platonic friends online

September 3, 2012 | By | 22 Replies Continue Reading
Seven online sites to help you find platonic friends

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I love this blog! Is there any thought of a site where all of us with these issues can contact each other for friendship?

Signed, Seeking New Friends

ANSWER

Dear Seeking New Friends,

That’ question is one that is often asked by other readers. The Friendship Blog isn’t designed to facilitate friendships directly, but some readers have connected in two ways:

The Friendship Blog E-Mail Exchange

Earlier this year, one poster on the The Friendship Forums (a tab on this blog), named Cookie, started a thread to encourage people to exchange email addresses. A number of people have posted their email addresses there.

However, just as you would for other sites on the Internet, please exercise caution. Like heterosexual dating, you don’t know for sure with whom you are corresponding; you only know what the person is telling you. Also, remember that anything you post on the Internet, including an email address, remains there—so if you do pursue this avenue, the idea of using a disposable Internet address is prudent, as several posters have done.

The Friendship Blog Connection on Facebook

When this question was raised before, I set up a Facebook group, called The Friendship Blog Connection. This is a page where you can interact with a new person, begin a friendship, and then take your conversation to the next level off the page. It offers the advantage of being able to do a little bit of vetting your prospective friend on Facebook. Directions for signing onto the Facebook page are here. Recently, most of the posts seem to be feeds from my blog. Perhaps, making friendships has been put on a back burner for the summer.

In addition, there are a number of commercial websites that focus on helping women develop platonic friendships online and off. I’ve written about many of them previously, including these seven:

MeetUp

Helps people who are looking for companionship to either start groups or join existing ones in their local communities. The groups are organized by interest and by zip code, and cover almost every topic imaginable. The idea is to help people meet others with
shared interests.   

Girlfriend Social

Allows women ages 18 and over to seek out and connect with like-mined women in cities and communities across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. With a few clicks, women can find someone with kids the same age or someone who shares the same reading interests, message them, and start connecting. The site also sponsors local events.  

Girlfriend Circles

Connects women, ages 21-65, with other women online and sets up local “connecting circles” for 3-6 women to meet in a neighborhood café or such, in 35 cities. It is based on the premise that women feel more comfortable in a small group where they can engage in meaningful conversation as opposed to a large social event. It’s also less threatening than meeting one-on-one and offers more choices.  

Social Jane 

A social networking site that allows women to connects, and then exchange emails to set up appointments to meet (e.g. for taking a vacation, becoming walking partners, etc.). It is currently available in the U.S. only for women of all ages.  

The Social Woman

Allows female members to find others in the same city, who share common interests (such as. yoga, traveling, sports, shopping, night life, etc.), and meet them locally. Active members live in Montreal and Toronto and the organization is expanding into Western Canada.

Next Door

Designed to help people who live in a particular neighborhood to connect with each other through the creation of a private website where they can communicate, and build stronger and safer neighborhoods. This may help you find friends who live in your own
community. 

Companion Tree

Open to both men and women from 10-80 but unlike dating sites, this environment is free of romantic expectations. The average age of members is 50 years old and while most members are from the U.S. and Canada, there are members from 25 countries.

Hope this is helpful and gives you some new ideas and inspiration for connecting!

Best,
Irene

 

 

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Category: Online friends

Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To the second Seattle person (Seattle-ite? Seattle-er?) who has written to give her two cents about Girlfriend Circles: What did you mean by “if you have a bad attitude …” Were you referring to people who expect a wee more than what the first Seattle person wrote about? If so (and please tell me if I’m wrong), I think that’s not really fair. Some people are shy, not good at organizing, tired (after a long day of work or at home with kids) and might not be up to going all over the place, putting signs up at closed restaurants, making do with one other person who shows up. I think it’s also really tart to say “it’s no wonder you are failing to find friends” on a blog that is all about women who admit they have issues with finding or keeping friends. That’s a really insensitive thing to say. Also, what you said about women who lacked social skills showing up…. Well, all I can so to that is, there but for the grace of God go I. Or maybe that is me, too, someone who doesn’t have great social skills … and maybe I don’t know it. If so, does that mean I shouldn’t sign up for Friendship Circles? That makes it sound a little like it’s a sorority, where only the strong (strong, in this case, meaning, socially adept) survive. If I’m reading into what you wrote, I’m sorry. But if that’s so, correct me. Because I’m kind of turned off by some of the comments. I don’t get where anyone here said they assumed friends would fall in their laps. But assuming there would be more than one person show up, yes, and I don’t blame them for assuming or expecting that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can we have really objective reviews, even if they are not glowing? It’s worrisome that the damage control glowing reviews are popping up and nothing else.
    Thanks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    I found this thread while searching for another article and I was interested because it mentioned the GirlfriendCircles. I am 38 years old and live in Madrona and I have been a member of Girlfriendcircles for almost a year. I can say that my experience has been the opposite of a previous poster and I feel bad that it hasn’t worked out for her.

    I joined before it took off here and I’ve noticed the growth in members – although it has been slow coming. I have met some great women and I’ve also met some women who are socially awkward and don’t have realistic expectations of this kind of service. Meaning they expected to sign up and have new “friends” knocking on their door. Um, this won’t happen with ANY service. It’s similar to online dating. There is no guarantee to find your soulmate and you DO have to put in ALOT effort. Think of all of the well established friends you’ve mde over the years. That didn’t happen over night.

    Although the website is a little antiquated, the information and expectations of members is laid out pretty clearly. Seriously people, the membership fees are nominal. You are paying for a BASIC service ($5/month). I’m going out on a limb and guessing this is why it’s slow growing here. The monthly dues would be much, MUCH higher if they were paying for traditional advertising. And then people would complain about that!

    My college roommate recently became a member in Chicago and she says they have full events all the time there and a bunch of members also host monthly gatherings. I’m hoping we grow enough to do that here. Although you are paying for basic access to other women in your area, I think everyone needs to keep their expectations in check when using these services. If you have a bad of attitude, it’s no wonder you are failing to find friends.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It isn’t that the woman in Seattle “didn’t have an amazing experience” with Girlfriend Circles. There wasn’t an experience, really, other than cobbling together a meet up with one, no two, people. All thanks to her ingenuity.
    Will other people who have had experiences with Girlfriend Circles please write and let us know? Please don’t just fill up this space with damage control commentary. Instead, let’s hear objective comments so the rest of us can determine if this is the organization for us.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As I understand it, the woman in Seattle did much more than anyone should expect to have to do who has paid for a membership. She met two people thanks to her own devices, really. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to keep saying that it’s really up to the person to plan the events and invite others if the person who joins is expecting some or most of that to have been up to Girlfriend Circies. The Seattle woman made the very best out of basically given nothing. I’m frankly a little put off by your “damage control” postings on this topic.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s unfortunate that the girlfriend in Seattle didn’t have an amazing experience but kudos to her for making the extra effort. Just as a good marriage takes effort so do making friendships as an adult.

    Girlfriends Circle is set up to encourage the possibility for connections not to guarantee friendships. The effort is up to each of us.

    When I moved to New York a couple of years ago, I knew I would need to be intentional about making quality friendships. I’d moved to new cities before and been disappointed when new friendships weren’t “automatic”. This time I was ready and willing to put in the time and work to develop friendships.

    So, I signed up for Girlfriend Circles and showed up to the cafe to meet my new BFFs. ;) Out of the first three Connecting Circles I attended, I am still friends with four of the gals, and we see each other on a regular basis. But it takes effort and being intentional. Signing up and showing up are only the first steps.

    When the planned Connecting Circles didn’t fit my schedule, I created events on the community calendar. A “Death by Chocolate” night brought 14 gals together. I’ve met other great ladies by creating a Language Exchange group in which we learned a little Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Movies/concerts in the park have brought ladies together. I even planned a kayaking event, where 6 ladies signed up, but Hurricane Irene prevented it from happening.

    Natural disasters, busy schedules, and last minute time pressures can all get in the way of us building amazing friendships. It’s much easier to complain about what doesn’t go right or how things weren’t as easy as we hoped than to keep trying.

    Anonymous in Seattle had the right idea by reaching out to others and inviting them to join her, even finding another place to meet when the obstacle of a closed cafe was in her path to friendship. Personally, I hope she has kept up with those gals and that they will long remember how the fates seemed to be conspiring against them, yet their friendships have endured.

    Friendship is a beautiful thing. Girlfriend Circles can promote it and is an excellent place to connect with other women, who value friendship. But ultimately, it is up to you. Will you make the effort when it’s not easy? Will you keep hoping and trying and connecting? Will you plan events and invite others? As Irene mentioned, will you “expect the best” and persist in finding it?

    Great friendships are worth the effort. Shasta Nelson, CEO of Girlfriend Circles believes friendships can save the world. I happen to agree with her. Girlfriend Circles Blog

  7. Anonymous says:

    So, so sorry for your experience with my company! Your disappointment and frustration are warranted– I feel the same way for you just reading this story. We will definitely keep extending your free membership (refunding if necessary!) if you are ever willing to give us another chance.

    We do only charge when we can match you up in ConnectingCircles so that means we had the numbers– I regret that the others weren’t able to RSVP and be there. :( We’ll definitely look into our process there and take this opportunity to go through our cafes in the area and make sure they are all up to date and central to our current membership. Thank you for alerting us to that.

    And we are getting ready to launch a revised Ambassador program, which will include Seattle, to ensure that we have local advocates and connectors. (If you’d be interested in helping– we’d consider it an honor to have your help!) I’ll also be up there this winter to do some events and workshops so we’ll do our best to expand the market there so that there are more women to introduce to friends. I’m hopeful about the year ahead of us. (Though I recognize that doesn’t help you now…)

    Thank you for taking the time to engage with us, for giving it another chance, and for the faith you placed in us. So sorry that we didn’t wow you. That’s our hope in the future.

    I really am very sorry for the disappointment we caused. If there is a way we can remedy it, please let us know. My personal email is [email protected].

    Blessings on you,
    Shasta

    CEO, GirlFriendCircles.com

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that was a very thorough and valuable post about your GFC Seattle experience. I have wondered about GFC and frankly thought it sounded a little too complicated, but wasn’t sure if I was being reasonable or not. I think they should hire YOU to get this thing running. You sound like you would be valuable to them. Hopefully the two gals you met will be potential friends, though of course GFC should really get their shit together before charging people a fee and promoting themselves as being bigger than they are. Seattle is hardly a small town.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I tried Girlfriend Circles Seattle for about a month.

    Their membership at the time (late summer 2012) appeared very low not only for Seattle, but for the entire metropolitan area. I addressed this concern with them (10-ish members in all of the city of Seattle?) and they told me many women kept their profiles private, so I did not have good insight into how large the membership actually was. However, at my request, they did provide me with six months of free membership and refunded the fees I paid when I signed up thinking they were well established in Seattle (per their marketing/PR).

    When I joined, there were no ‘Connecting Circles’ (i.e. the ‘speed dating’ thing they are supposed to be most well known for) in all of the Seattle Met area. I again voiced my concern and was told that regular events were scheduled in Seattle (all evidence on the site to the contrary). A week or so later a ‘CC’ in a neighborhood nowhere near me (but at least in Seattle proper) was scheduled that I could not go to. I watched the event board with interest, though, and nobody else signed up.

    I then contacted another member directly with whom I seemed to share some interests. We set up our own meeting and she is a lovely gal.

    When the next ‘CC’ came up a few weeks later in a neighborhood nowhere near us, we both decided to sign up so as to encourage more attendees. Almost up to the event, nobody else signed up. I then took it upon myself to personally invite all gals with ‘public’ profiles in Seattle to the event. One other gal signed up.

    I had never heard of the cafe GFC scheduled the event in, and it was in a neighborhood I know pretty well (I used to live there, and I still visit at least once a month to see my hairdresser/friend). The cafe turned out to be closed.

    The gal I had met before and I showed up at the same time, and since I knew the place up the street was pretty great, we decided to move there. She got us a table while I waited for ten minutes for the gal we did not know, and then I left a note on the door of the closed cafe, which eventually did enable her to join us.

    I relayed these disappointments to GFC, and they told me that they relied on their members to suggest venues (I did not get a request for input on this at any time), and also to tell them when venues close (again, I had no idea that was my job as a member). In other words, it seemed to be my fault that a closed cafe I had never heard of (see ‘closed’!) in a neighborhood I no longer live in was chosen as the venue.

    I additionally re-voiced my concerns that GFC did not seem to be ‘launched’ in Seattle in such a way that they should be charging anybody for membership, and also suggested that they engage a local representative and invest in local promotions/marketing in order to be able to actually provide the services they say they provide.

    To this they replied that they could not afford a local representative or local promotions and marketing because they were a startup.

    They also told me that some Seattle ‘CC’s were more successful than others, and suggested that perhaps my age and neighborhood were not a strong demographic for their services at the time.

    Yet again they seemed to be putting the blame for their shortcomings on me.

    Wow. I am just under 40 and I live IN Seattle.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This one is advertised as the #1 friendship site, ItsPlatonic.com but it’s invite only :(. Probably worth signing up for for the future though.

    It was on the nightly news a few days ago here in Germany.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a big step for everyone to write here and things we can’t tell others in our real life. We can still practice keeping the group at large (the group on the internet who comes here to read comments) in our minds, though, can’t we? By that, I mean, we can all stop and think first before posting generalizations about this blog that will make others afraid to speak up.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You’re generalizing so much here (“others get attacked for posting innocent comments …”) I wonder if yOU are same person who wrote the negative generalizations “elsewhere” about “everyone is full of it” and “no one responds”? Maybe you should pause and reconsider how you come across when you write what you think are only “innocent comments.” Generalizations are not helpful. And when you generalize and tell people “others get attacked” you are ONCE AGAIN discouraging other people from posting here with their feelings.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The comments from “elsewhere” apply HERE and “elsewhere” and anywhere someone sours a whole experience for the whole group because they didn’t have the results they personally desired. To tell a whole group of hopeful people that “everyone is full of it” and no one answers e-mails, etc., is really a downer because it discourages everyone from participating. It gives false information by generalizing. How about we keep our disappointments to ourselves and not post them in such a general way that can discourage the others who would like to try the e-mailing thing? I don’t see “attacks” on this blog, so I don’t know where and why you feel “attacked” for “innocent comments about feelings.” I just saw a very negative comment throwing water on the whole e-mail friendship thing and I thought, “That’s a real shame this person is trying to discourage everyone else who wants to try it.” It’s selfish and self-centered to do that.

  14. Anonymous says:

    yes, i think she is talking about comments from elsewhere. i remain anonymous because it seems others get attacked for posting innocent comments about their feelings. they take everything negatively, instead of realizing what a big step it is for some of us to write here about stuff we would never be able to tell someone else face to face.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m not tech savvy enough to know how to move conversations on a blog like this. I don’t think it needs to be moved. I just think it should be added to advice given to people who want to exchange e-mails on this and other similar sites. The standard advice that is always given is to not give out a “real” address and to be careful about giving out your personal information; to be careful with strangers you meet in the Internet; etc. But isn’t there more to it (advice) than that? That’s all I’m saying. On any e-mail friendship place, of which I gather there are several, how about giving the advice to not “expect” someone you’ve met to like you, be your friend, remain your friend, etc. And don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and criticize the whole site to others, thus discouraging them? Again, the key word is “unrealistic expectations.” It’s like that in real life, too, isn’t it?

  16. Irene says:

    Seems like you are probably responding to comments on another thread. Do you want to take this conversation there?

    Irene 

  17. Anonymous says:

    I think people who put their emails on here and request corresponding with others are probably "expecting the best" for the most part. Otherwise, they wouldn’t post their email and make the effort, no? What I hope you elaborate on is what you said about not taking it so personally if a person extends herself but a connection isn’t made. There have been finger wagging posts here, making generalizations about the posters, and discouraging people from posting their emails, by saying the people here are "full of it" and "everyone has gone away." Complaining if they’ve only received a few e-mails. THAT’s the advice I wish you’d give: about unrealistic expectations. I woudl add to it this advice as well: If anyone has posted their email address and not had the luck in connecting with someone, please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Don’t discourage others from trying it; don’t expect people to follow through always with their wish to exchange e-mails. Maybe they are shy and find it too daunting. Who knows the reason. But don’t take it personally and don’t rain on other people’s parade. What doesn’t work out for YOU could work out for others. That’s the stuff I was talking about, Irene. I’m sure you can elaborate or encapsulate this advice better than I can….

  18. Jacqueline says:

    Well said, Irene, and great advice!

  19. Irene says:

    I have a colleague who signs her emails with the phrase, "Expect the best!" This reflects her attitude about life, one that works well for her in a variety of situations.

    Reaching out to connect with another person is always a risk, and I would suspect that these risks are multiplied on a website where people are anonymous, and come and go.

    While online sites may not always be a reliable way to connect, these opportunities are definitely worth a shot. That said, they probably are more appealing to some people than others.

    I understand how it can be very disappointing if the connection isn’t made after someone extends herself but it shouldn’t be taken too personally. After all, if you barely know each other, it reflects more on the needs of the other person than on you, per se.

    Is this what you were asking?

    Best, Irene 

     

     

     

     

     

  20. Anonymous says:

    Irene, could you give your blog readers some thoughts about expectations regarding the exchange of e-mails here and on other sites? My own two cents is that people should be happy if they connect and want to correspond, and should not be indignant or upset if that connection isn’t made. But what do you think? Thanks.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Have any of the readers checked out these various sites?
    If so, will you share your opinions about them?

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