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News Release: The Massive Social Network You Haven't Heard of that is Quietly Helping Millions

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

The Massive Social Network You Haven’t Heard of that is Quietly Helping Millions

 

Thursday, June 11, 2020 - FriendMatch increases resources to keep up with overwhelming loneliness accelerated by Covid 19.

 

The friendship matchmaking service has seen its traffic nearly doubling each month since the outbreak.

“Millions of people are finding us by googling, “Feeling lonely” and “How to Make Friends,” says FriendMatch founder Katie Hartle, “we have been overwhelmed by the need to help people feel less isolated during this pandemic.”

 

How FriendMatch is Adapting to Meet Rising Loneliness During COVID-19:

  • Providing their service for free – eliminating their premium level membership and switching to a fully ad-supported platform to help more people connect during a time when job loss and business disruption is ongoing.
  • Working on the release of a mobile app version of its site. The app will respond to 42% of its users who access the service through their phones.
  • Hiring more help with communications and tech support to respond to the growth accelerated by the pandemic.

 

“When we launched in 2011, it was to help people make friends. I never expected to see just how badly people needed this service. The pandemic has made it harder to socialize, but we can still adapt. We can use tools to make real connections and friendship, even online, accessible to those who need it.”

Attachments:

  • Backgrounder: How traditional social networks can increase feelings of isolation during COVID-19
  • Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Loneliness Statistics

 

About FriendMatch

FriendMatch is an international social networking service that helps people meet and make new friends, both locally and worldwide. It is a place to make real connections, whether online, to talk to and connect from afar, or in person, for coffees, walks, or to hang out.

Launched in 2011 on Dragons’ Den, FriendMatch has answered the question, “How to make friends?” for more than 6 million people and counting.

For more information about FriendMatch, visit our website at www.friendmatch.com

 

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For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Driedger - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Social Media Accounts:

Facebook – @friendmatchofficial

Twitter – @friendmatch

 

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5 Relatable Reasons Meghan Markle may not have many real friends

meghan-markle-no-close-friends Loneliness might have been one of Meghan Markle's leading reasons for leaving the UK

Is the real reason Meghan Markle left the UK actually due to loneliness?

There were not too many reports of friends of Meghan's at her wedding to Prince Harry. Not school friends, childhood friends, or new UK friends - we explore this more below.

 

Instead, as is well known now, we saw A-list celebrities not previously linked to Meghan.

 So why does Meghan not have more real friends in her life?

We speculate that some of these reasons are surprisingly common, things that our own members on FriendMatch - and maybe you or someone you know - have gone through too.

If you have ever experienced loneliness, you know that every challenge is harder without friends to build your confidence, listen to you vent, and openly share your troubles, thoughts, and ideas with.

Right from the start when Meghan moved to the UK, reports from sources cited that she appeared to be lonely.

According to the Daily Beast, sources were quoted shortly after Meghan moved to the UK saying, "Meghan is often spotted walking about the estate.. - and is usually spotted alone." The same source goes on to say that the only companion seen with Meghan is "usually a cop" and that Meghan seemed "very solitary." (View the article on Marie Claire here)

So why doesn't Meghan Markle have real, close friends? We explore how this issue may have led her into extreme stress  - to the point of leaving everything she thought she wanted behind in the UK.

1. No Childhood friends because - No Longer Has Much in Common with them

When Meghan Markle moved to the UK to become a duchess, her new life became completely different, unrecognizable from her childhood experiences. Suddenly, the only thing she likely still has in common with her childhood friends is her past.

This is actually an extreme example of something that is very common for a lot of people. 

You don't always lose touch with old friends because they have changed - it is because you have.

Some people want to distance themselves from their past because they are looking to change their self image, because you evolved, experienced personal growth, or even gave up old bad habits, such as drugs or a partying lifestyle that you want to leave behind.

If you want to distance yourself from your past, why stay connected to it?

If you have changed an no longer have much in common with your childhood friends, what is left to talk about except old times?

And if you are trying to distance yourself from these old times, why stay connected to it?

There are exceptions. If you had strong friendships, or friends that you had exceptional emotional connections to, friends you just "clicked" with, your friendship might last the test of time and changes, and then you might be more inclined to stay in touch.

In Markle's case, as she tries to fit in with her new, very different social circles, it's possible that she feels she needs to let go of parts of her past which she feels no longer fits with her new image.

 

2. Markle lost a lot of friends when she divorced her first husband

There is some speculation that Markle actually lost a lot of her friends when she divorced her former husband, Trevor Engleson.

Some friends have spoken out about taking sides after Markle left her husband. 

This is very common too, and again something we see on FriendMatch a lot.

When couples are together long-term, or married, they start to share friends, as Meghan and her husband did.  There were a lot more friends, family, and a more laid-back vibe from what we know of her wedding in Jamaica.

These mutual friends can sometimes take sides, causing one party from the divorce to lose friends after the separation.

There is a second reason for losing friends after a divorce - even when mutual friends don't take sides, sometimes, when we leave an ex, we want to distance ourselves from all ties to this person. This can mean leaving mutual friends behind too, as they can become tied up in our identity we had as a person in a relationship.  

With the media focusing a lot on the fact that Meghan did have a divorce, something which many traditional royal wives do not bring to the table, Meghan may have had an even stronger motive to completely distance herself from the life she had as a married women with another man.

The effect of this led to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation in her new role as a duchess.

 

3. A New Love Interest = No time for friends

Under normal circumstances, who hasn't been swept up in a new relationship?  New romantic relationships can be all-consuming for anyone. We have probably all experienced distance from a friend who is caught up in a new love interest and suddenly spends all their time with their new beau.

When your new love interest is a real-life prince and lives acrosss the sea, this can be a very extreme case of a new relationship taking up all time and energy. Perhaps Meghan did not have time or thoughts for much more than her new romance when she started seeing Prince Harry, especially considering the hyperspeed timeline of it - dating, marriage, and baby all in about two years - while also adjusting to an entire new royal lifestyle at the same time.

Our theory? Meghan did not even have time to connect with what was left of her old friendships, nevermind find and making new friends.

 

4. New Baby - Exciting! Fun! ... But also isolating.

 Life events alert! A new baby can bring massive changes to any parent's life, and even when we do have friends, we might feel lonely if these friends don't also have babies or kids, as we may feel like the things we want to relate about are not so relatable anymore with our usual crew.

This doesn't mean it's time to drop our childless friends - but what it does mean is that this is an ideal time in life to add new friends to your circle. For mothers like Meghan, this is a good time to connect with other moms or new moms where you will find kindred spirits with lots in common who are open and eager to talk about diapers, breastfeeding and burping with, among other things.

Meghan in her new role, in the spotlight, could not so easily join the local mommy group. While her sister in law Duchess Kate Middleton, with her three young children and interest in the early years, would seem the perfect candidate as a new confidante, it's clear the sister in-laws simply don't connect -whether it's packed schedules on both ends or a difference in personalities - leaving Meghan with very few options beyond Harry for companionship after giving birth to Archie.

This is especially unfortunate, as many new moms can be especially vulnerable to loneliness.

 

5. Moving to a new Country - How Do We Make New Friends When We Move?

This is one of the largest-cited reasons why people use FriendMatch - moving to a new location. 

As with every other example listed, Meghan brings this to the extreme, as she moved across the ocean to a culture that is in many ways very different from her American upbringing.

A lot of people don't know how to find and make new friends when they move. (Check out our other blog post - "5 Ways to Make New Friends When You Move").

Meghan Markle herself as said in a famous interview from her documentary, "Harry and Meghan, an African Journey" that she felt very lonely and isolated - while in the circumstances of the interview this statement might have seemed out of touch, at FriendMatch we feel it is easy to see why she felt that way.

 

Meghan's extreme sadness in this famous interview is a bit more understandable when we think about how awful we have felt in our loneliest times

 

Bonus Reason: No Family Friends

For some people, the social and health benefits of friendship can be in part fulfilled by family, including siblings or cousins. 

In Meghan's case, it has been made clear that this is not an option for her. Her half-sister has publicly stated negative statements about Meghan's character, and there were not any cousins or other siblings at her wedding, or reported in her social circle since her move to the UK.

With no family friendships to fall back on, when Meghan felt her worst, saw a bad article in the media, or felt low self-esteem, having no real, close, genuine friendships to fall back on might very well be one of the driving reasons behind her unhappiness in the UK.

 

Meghan might be lonely, but she is not alone in feeling that way - the problem is, loneliness is linked to unhappiness and even a shorter lifespan! Loneliness is also becoming an alarming epidemic.  Check out our other blog post, "Is Loneliness a Rising Epidemic in Young People?"

And if you are looking to make new friends yourself, check out our Search page to find new friends, or our FAQs page to learn more about how FriendMatch works.

 

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The Newest Ways to Meet Friends Online

The Newest Ways to Meet Friends Online

Our society has changed and evolved from how it used to be, and the Internet has played a major role in this.

When it comes to how we socialize, maintain friendships, and meet new people, our online world has transformed friendships. (More on how maintaining friendships has been affected in another blog post to come!)

Nowadays, especially thanks to the efforts of online dating, meeting someone online has become completely normalized.

From this, we have evolved to accepting a new type of relationship from the online world - making platonic friends online.

Here's our roundup of some of the latest ways to meet new friends online.

 

1. Online Friendship Sites

How it works: Take the concept of online dating, make a few tweaks, and adjust the model for platonic friendship instead. 

Online friendship sites, (like FriendMatch!) take a proven model for meeting new people, and apply it to friends instead of romance. 

Similar to dating sites and apps, you fill out a profile online first.

Then you can browse profiles of other members, but instead of filtering by physical attributes, you will be filtering your search by other options such as location, age, hobbies, and interests.

To start a new friendship, just like with dating you must start by sending a message to those members you are interested in.

Besides FriendMatch, other friendship sites include BumbleBFF, Girlfriend Circles (women only), and Peanut.

Pros: 

  • Meet new people with confidence. Unlike any other methods in this article, you can confidently message members on these sites and apps, knowing that every member registered is looking to meet new friends.
  • Easy, familiar setup: Simply browse profiles and send messages to those who you think you might click with.
  • Low cost. Unlike dating sites, many friendship sites are much less expensive to use, if not free. (FriendMatch is free to use, with an upgraded option that lets you send more messages daily.)
  • With a dating site, once you have successfully met a match, you're done! But with friendship sites, there is no limit to how many friends you can make.
  • You can make new friends nearby, locally that you can meet in person, or you can make online-only friendships if you are just looking for someone to talk to.

Cons:

  • Just like with online dating, you might not meet your bff instantly. It takes time and sometimes patience, sometimes many messages and meetups to find the person you will click with. But hang in there, because the right friend is worth the effort!
  • Just like any social network or dating network, you might be approached by people you are not interested in getting to know. You have the option to ignore these requests, respond with your non-interest, or block the members on most sites and apps.

 

2. Blogging

Nowadays, another way that some people are making new friendships online is through blogging!

How it works: Whether you are a blogger yourself, or a fan of someone else's blog, real friendships are made through blogging platforms. 

There are thousands of blogs and bloggers out there to choose from, one for every interest. Many bloggers share information about their interests, or even their daily life. You might follow a blog because the blogger has many things in common with yourself, and you enjoy following their story.

Friendships can happen through blogs when you start connecting with each other, often through the comments section first. 

In some cases, one blogger will comment frequently on a blog post, and sometimes through this, commonalities are found, and sometimes connections are formed. This leads to direct messaging, which leads to a deeper connection.

Some bloggers have different meet and greet events, where these friendships can move from online to offline, or sometimes some comments lead to other forms of messaging if a connection is made, which leads to friendship, either online only or offline. 

Pros:

  • When bloggers connect with each other, through their posts it can feel like you have already gotten to know each other, and already know which things you have in common.
  • Blogging can be deceptively lonely - while bloggers share highlights from their lives, being a blogger is still a unique position to hold that local friends and family will not always completley understand, so it can be really refreshing to meet with fellow bloggers who understand this way of life.

Cons:

  • Unlike with friendship sites and apps, you can't always be certain that the blogger you love to follow is actually interested in meeting new friends, so it's best to build a friendship more slowly via this route.
  • If you don't have a blog yourself, it might be harder to connect with a blogger you feel would make a great friend for you, because even if you share details about yourself in supportive comments on their blog posts, the blogger might categorize you as a fan and not a friend.

 

3. Discussion Forums and Facebook Groups

Zero waste groups and forums, vegan groups, keto groups, professional groups, pregnancy and new mom groups - there is a niche online discussion forum or Facebook group for just about every hobby or interest out there!

How it works: Start by joining a group that matches up with your interests. Here, in this group, you will find and connect with other people who share the same interests as you. You don't need to jump into narrowing down a new friend right away, but start by just participating in the discussions. Eventually, you might find that you connect with some members really well, or have more things in common with them, or perhaps live nearby them.

There are two ways to find new friends from these groups:

1) Occasionally these groups will host offline meetups and events, when you attend you might just meet some new, like-minded friends. 

2) You can also send a direct message to someone you feel you have a connection with, starting with a deeper conversation, and from there perhaps moving on to a platonic online friendship, or even meeting up for an offline, traditional friendship.

Pros:

  • No need for searching profiles - you already have things in common with the people in these groups.
  • Hosted group events offline give you the chance to meet new friends.

Cons:

  • Similar to the other methods in this article, you can't be certain that the people you would like to become friends with are actively seeking new friendships.
  • Group events and meetups can be intimidating to go to alone.

 

4. Instagram

Similar to blogging, friendships are now being formed right off Instagram!  Through Instagram, people often share lots of information about themselves, their lifestyle, their goals.  From this, you might start to feel like you know which people you have lots in common with, or which people you might like to get to know.

How it works: If you think someone you follow on Instagram would also make a nice addition to your social circle, start by getting to know them through Instagram. Leave comments on their posts, or reply to their Instagram stories. 

You can take it step further by sending a direct message and introducing yourself. Slowly, over time and many messages, comments back and forth, you might start getting to know each other better. From here, you have the option to suggest meeting up sometime to hang out, or just keep it as an online friendship.

Pros:

  • You can go slow with meeting new friends on Instagram - if you feel like the friend-chemistry isn't working, it's easy to back out.

Cons:

  • No certainty that the person you know on Instagram is actually looking to make new friends.

 

5. Online Classifieds Sites 

Remember, way before the Internet days, when people used to place romance ads in the newspaper classifieds? This is still happening!

How it works: Now people are usingCraigslist, Kijiji, Angie's List, even newspaper online classifieds in their search not just for romantic relationships, but for friendships!  People are now posting ads that introduce themselves, and describe what kind of friends they are seeking, in a creative way to find new friends locally.

Pros:

  • You can approach with confidence - those who are posting these ads are looking for new friendships.

Cons:

  • Lots of scrolling - since online classifieds sites are not designed for friendship seeking, it's not easy to filter by things like age, gender, location, and interests, as you can with friendship websites and apps.

 

6. Meetup

Meetup has been around for awhile, and the concept is that groups of people host offline group encounters as a chance to go out, socialize, and meet new people.

Pros:

  • No planning required, just show up!

Cons:

  • Going out in a group style by yourself can be intimidating.
  • Not really designed for 1 on 1 friendships.

 

There you have it! Our list of some of the modern ways to find new friendship online. 

Did we miss any ideas? Please share in the comments below!

 

 

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Why people are going online to make friends

Why people are going online to make friends

 

Why are people using the Internet to make friends?

  

"It's not as easy to make and keep friendships today as it used to be," says FriendMatch founder Katie Hartle, "people are looking to the Internet to solve this problem."

 

In the UK, a "National Campaign to End Loneliness" was created.

In the USA and Canada, the rising epidemic of loneliness is increasingly being covered in the news.

The impact of loneliness is more than just a social problem:

 Loneliness is creating an impact on the heatlh of men and women of all ages.

  Articles and studies are showing that lonely people have higher rates of inflammation and weakened immune systems, and that loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 30%!

 In the United Kingdom, Loneliness is Worse Among Young People

 In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation found loneliness to be a worse among young people than the elderly. The 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed were more likely to feel lonely often, to worry about feeling alone and to feel depressed because of loneliness than the over-55s!

 

Coffees, book clubs, and dinner parties; interests of friend-seekers

In a study of 7,000 FriendMatch.com members, newly released data shows that members are using FriendMatch to make friends because they want to have more experiences: 

The main activities members were interested in:

54% of FriendMatch members analyzed would love to meet for coffee with their new friends.

23% of members are interested in joining a book club or wine club.

32% of FriendMatch members would like to have a dinner party with their new friends.

 

Who is making friends online:

43% of FriendMatch members are women between the ages of 18 - 29.

At the time of the study, Women made up approx. 63% of all FriendMatch members.

 Friend-seekers come from around the world, but the top three countries for members on FriendMatch, in order are:

1. United States  2. Canada  3. United Kingdom.

 

About FriendMatch.com

FriendMatch is an online service to help you meet real new friends, from your neighborhood or from around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

 

A recent study published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examined the relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family members, and compared the connections that single people had versus married couples. 

They found that on average, single people spend more time connecting with friends, neighbors, and relatives than married people.

Single people are more likely to give help to, receive help from, and stay in touch with siblings, friends, parents and neighbors than those who are married.

In fact, even if someone has a divorce, they will still spend less time with friends and neighbors, suggesting that the effects of a less social lifestyle can last beyond marriage.

(And maybe we should all be reaching out to our friends who have just gone through a divorce - they might need the company more than they know!)

The study results were able to rule out other factors, like age, kids, education, and income.

So why are married couples so antisocial?

The authors of the study have a few ideas:

  •  People believe that their husband/wife is their soulmate, and should fulfill all social needs
  • Single people may need to make more effort to fulfill their social needs since there is no one to socialize with at home
  • Another theory? Maybe this is another one we can blame on our busy, modern society!

Married people might feel that by the time work/volunteering/the gym/whatever is caught up with (which is never), there is barely time left over to put into a good marriage relationship.

What do you think?

To see the study, check out this link:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407515597564

 

If you are married, and worried that you are socializing enough, The Newlywed Handbook (written by the editors of www.thenest.com), has some advice about double dating for married couples:

 

Turn friendly casual friends into new couple friends 

Do you know any cool couples who might be fun to hang out with? These could be friends-of-friends, friends from work, or volunteering, or even neighbors. 

See how you all might enjoy hanging out by starting with a fun activity that gives you lots to talk about, like an "Escape Room", or a ghost tour, or a Teppanyaki - style Japanese restaurant.

Make sure both genders enjoy the company

At first, either the girls or the guys will dominate the conversations and planning - likely the person who set up the connection. But with a bit of effort, you can all enjoy good bonds with new friends at the same time.

The group time will be more satisfying if the girls and the guys get along great - so if the husbands know each other through work, the ladies should eventually make an effort to email each other, and meet for lunch or coffee without the guys too.

Expand your group again!

Four people at a dinner party is great! Three couples is even more fun! If you get four couples - eight people - now you can use your full dishes set from your registry! 

 

Are married people lonelier than single people

 

Make sure to check out our other blog post, "Social tips for Couples"!

 

Do you think married people are lonelier than single people?

 

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Is Loneliness a Rising Epidemic in Young People?

Is Loneliness a Rising Epidemic in Young People?

Studies suggest people in their 20s and 30s are lonelier than seniors

In 2010, The Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. found that loneliness was a bigger problem among the young than the old.  The 18-34 year-olds in an extensive study were more likely to feel lonely often, to worry about feeling alone and to feel depressed because of loneliness than those over 55.

Lynn Renwick would agree. Renwick runs a drop-in to help lonely youth in Newcastle, England in the summer, “Loneliness is not just an issue for older people in our community and many young people come to us for help to socialise with other young people." She said in an article for NE Connected online. 

So, if young people are lonelier right now than old people - how did this happen?

A look at some possible causes:

Social media makes us insecure

We're hearing about this all the time now. Numerous studies showing that rather than bring us closer, social media is making us feel more lonely and more insecure. 

A recent study shows that using Facebook makes young people feel bad. 

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” says U-M social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article and a faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).“But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result."

To be fair, Facebook may have these effects on young people, but it can have the opposite effect on the old!

In a study, seniors in residential care were trained to use social media and started using it to keep up with family, resulting in a decrease in their loneliness.

One lesson from this might be that Facebook will not reduce our loneliness if we use it to replace face-to-face time with our friends. According to the Lonely Society study in the U.K., spending time in-person, as in face-to-face with friends, produces the hormon oxytocin, which might be good for your heart as well as your feelings of well-being.

 

Young people are obsessed with being productive, even at the expense of time with friends

A recent study undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. found that for some young people, investing time in social activities is seen as less important than work.

People today feel pressure to be ‘productive’ and busy, and as a consequence neglect relationships with friends and family.

"Individuals pursuing aspirations in a market-driven world may be doing so at their own expense, and neglecting the basic human need to connect with others," says the Mental Health Foundation. 

There is a danger in this; making work more important for your time than friends and family is not a good choice for your health, your happiness, or even your lifespan! 

 

 

 

Why we need to prioritize friendships at every stage of our lives:

 

Spending time with friends will make you live longer

Scientists found that the loneliest were nearly twice as likely to die during their six-year study than the least lonely in a recent study. Compared with the average person in the study, those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying. So loneliness has about twice the impact on an early death as obesity, or smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo has been studying loneliness for decades, and he puts it bluntly, 

"No matter what social species you’re talking about, all the way down to fruit flies, if you isolate them they die earlier.”

 

Spending time with friends will make you healthier

More studies are coming out all the time showing how loneliness leads to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, depression, heart attack and strokes.

In fact, loneliness and feelings of rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain!

But those who spend time with good friends drink less alcohol, have healthier diets, and exercise more than lonely people, according to research.

 

Spending time with friends will make you happier

In one study, 42% of women polled felt depressed because of their loneliness. 

People who spend more time with friends find less fault with themselves and with those around them. They are significantly less likely to be depressed. In short, people who spend time with their friends are happier. 

 

Spending time with friends will save you money

One study showed that feeling lonely can make you spend more money, and be more frivolous in your spending. 

Maybe that's why it's called retail therapy?

On the flip side, spending time with friends is often rewarding but low cost - sure, you might go for dinner or drinks, but you can also just hang out, go to the park, go to the beach, or just have coffee - actually for more ideas, see this blog post. 

While there are some services and charities that are aimed to reduce loneliness in seniors, there are not currently such services existing for the younger generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet New People

Find out how FriendMatch is helping people to make new friends

How does FRIENDMATCH Help Me Make New Friends?

FriendMatch is an online service to help you meet new people from your neighborhood or from around the world.

Types of Friends: Exercise partners, couple friends, new parents groups, book clubs, dinner party clubs, just someone to have coffee with and talk about life…etc.


What DO I have to do?

Sign up for free. 

Use our search tools to find new friends.  Search by age, gender, location, interests, or just by keyword.

Send a message and introduce yourself to people you’d like to get to know better, and then take your friendship from there!

We provide tips and tools to help you keep in touch with your friends- a blog with inspirational friendship stories and tips, speed-friending networking events - because life is busy and we want to help!

Click here to sign up to FriendMatch for free and start making new, real friends, from nearby or from around the world

(Like online dating, but for friends instead of dates!)