The number of users online dating sites like Match.com, OKCupid, JDate and eHarmony now attract suggests that any stigma people once felt around looking for love online has lifted. But would you use a matchmaking site to find female friends? The New York Times reported that more women are doing just that.
Several sites have cropped up in the past five years to facilitate platonic meetups. The majority of them cater specifically to women. The Times took a closer look at three such sites in particular: SocialJane.com, GirlFriendCircles and Girlfriend Social. According to its website, GirlFriendCircles is “committed to introducing awesome women and inspiring real friendships.” Girlfriend Social explicitly states that it is a website for “ladies only” who are “looking to make platonic women friendships.” The process works similarly to online dating. You have a profile, call out your interests and exchanges messages in the hopes of taking the relationship into the “real world.” GirlFriendCircles requires members to pay a fee of $29.95 every six months, while Girlfriend Social offers free accounts.
The Times reported that the majority of the (thousands) of women using these type of friendship-seeking sites are going through a period of transition in their lives -- such as a move or a divorce -- that might make creating new friendships more difficult. “[With these sites] you can skip the insecurity of, ‘Oh, they’re so busy, they don’t need friends,’” Shasta Nelson, founder of GirlFriendCircles told the New York Times.
Because, let’s face it, sometimes making new female friends is hard, sometimes harder than dating. While it’s generally accepted that you may need to put some in some extra effort while pursuing a romantic partner, actively looking for friends may be viewed as out of the ordinary or desperate. “The awkwardness seems even more intense than dating sites because it doesn't align with the old, time-worn trope of the Boyfriendless Lady Who Has Lots Of Female Friends But Just Wants Love,” wrote Jezebel’s Ann Breslaw.
Thirty-year-old writer Rachel Bertsche chronicled her adventures trying to find new female friends in her book released December 2011, “MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend.” After she moved to Chicago, she found that making new female friends wasn’t all that easy -- she had to actively go out and find them. “It can feel awkward to invite someone you hardly know for coffee and I was sure that the women I approached would think I seemed desperate or pathetic,” she told HuffPost blogger Dr. Irene S. Levine. Bertsche said that after publishing “MWF Seeking BFF,” lots of women contacted her to share similar experiences:
I heard from so many women on their own BFF searches because friends had moved, or their pals got married and had kids and suddenly had less free time, or because they wanted to settle down and their besties were still looking to party all the time. Some very special friendships last forever, but plenty of them run their course. Which is fine. As life changes, our friendship needs change, too.
What do you think? Would you consider "dating" prospective female friends? Meeting them online?