I don't want to f*ck; I want to make friends.
June 15, 2013 1:32 AM   Subscribe

Good ways to make offline friends using the net?

Let me start off by saying that I've made plenty of eFriends; I know how to go about that. When I run into people online, typically on forums which revolve around topics that interest me, who appeal to me, I'll sometimes engage in convo with them. If we talk and, for a long time, nothing goes wrong and I feel that we could make good friends, I'll sometimes give my contact info out. Sometimes—usually—we don't end up speaking long; sometimes we end up speaking regularly or semi-regularly.

Though I'm fine befriending and becoming close to people I know I'll never meet IRL, I'd like to start meeting people online to, eventually, meet IRL.

But there's a problem: I live in the middle of nowhere and find it rare—very rare—to meet people online who live in close proximity to myself.

Are there social networking sites, or any other types of sites, for people solely into making offline friends? I'd like something that matches folks up to people who both share your interests and live in close proximity to yourself.
posted by GlassHeart to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

It's a system for finding (or organizing) events of interest, bringing together people in an area who are into XYZ, etc.
posted by anonymisc at 1:48 AM on June 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

No location on your profile so I may be making some some possibly way off the mark assumptions about what's available to you. Do you have a smartphone?

There are some apps that show you people in your proximity via the GPS in your smartphone and theirs for social purposes. They don't give your coordinates, just distance. You have profiles and interests like other places. About 90% of them are hookup sites of the type your not looking for, but some of them state that they are more social. Some of them also have web browser equivalents where your IP address gets used to approximate your location. I'm not linking to any particular apps or services cause vetting them for your purposes would be pretty personal PLUS I wouldn't know if you are android, apple, or other.

The other thing is personals sites. My experience with them is pretty minimal but many of them are location based and some of them have a platonic category.

One more thing that's only a bit online, you could do a search for clubs, organization, volunteering opportunities in your area.
posted by logonym at 2:15 AM on June 15, 2013

In the forums you regularly visit, see if you can't set up a meetup or two within that.

You might end up surprised by who actually lives close by you, and you'll definitely have something to talk about while you're all hanging out.

Or find local groups focused on something you like, and see if there are people who are also interested in other things that you like. I ended up finding other people who are also fond of slash fanfiction in unexpected places - such as my knitting group and a hackspace workshop.

It can be difficult, especially when you feel like no one lives around you, but I bet you there's someone else in your area going "God, no one lives around me. This sucks."
posted by Katemonkey at 3:30 AM on June 15, 2013

Unitarian churches are full of neat people. Also see if you can find a SCA (creative anachronism/ren faire nerds) or a Browncoat.... Big Damn Heroes? mid class transport, Firefly? Any colleges in your area? Museums?
posted by Jacen at 5:25 AM on June 15, 2013

Are you on Facebook? Because there are a lot of "groups" there now; it's almost like a new Usenet (except full of AOLers, yuk yuk). Search around for "Yourcounty Anything" and join. What are your hobbies? I kayak; there are lots of people on the my-area kayak mailing list. I have met locals through community theatre and volunteer work.

It is hard to make friends in isolated areas; the pool from which one draws is so shallow to start with that finding your type can seem overwhelming. They are out there, though, and will be pleased to find you, too, so it's worth ferreting them out. My advice would be to not focus on the internet but more on the local papers and bulletin boards, and then start signing up to help out with the town parade or show up at the local fundraising dinner or whatever. Eventually you will find yourself seeing the same people over and over, and things will progress from there.

(Meetup.com has nothing at all for my area, for what that's worth. But there are semi-lively Facebook groups. Your area may vary...)
posted by kmennie at 6:03 AM on June 15, 2013

Oh, man. OK Cupid. I know it's a dating site; I've been using it for year as for dates. But last winter I got so frustrated and lonely for friends that I reworked my profile to make it clear I was just looking for friends. So many people are actually looking for the same, whether they say it or not.

One friend led to another; six months later I've got a core group of really great IRL friends. I've in turn met their IRL friends and the circle grows. Memail me if you've got questions about how to word a profile.
posted by mibo at 7:55 AM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, Craigslist strictly platonic.
posted by mibo at 7:57 AM on June 15, 2013

You could check if there are people on Couchsurfing / Bewelcome in your area. In urban areas there are a ton of events posted (everything from pubcrawls, over board game nights, museum visits to frisbee in the park and beyond really).

Also: if there are no events or groups in your area (goes for all websites) just start one.
posted by travelwithcats at 8:00 AM on June 15, 2013

Your location will be a challenge, because there are so many fewer people around you than there would be in a large city.

But I would recommend Meeup.com to see if there are any groups you would be interested in near you. I would also get involved in offline social activities. I've recently joined a local discussion group and met some interesting people that way. Volunteering and getting involved in community things are also good ways to meet people, particularly things like choirs or community theatre.
posted by jb at 8:04 AM on June 16, 2013

The best activities for making friends are ones with lots of talking. I don't get to know people at my yoga class because we're too busy doing yoga, but in the past I've made good friends doing theatre, met people at knitting meetups, etc.
posted by jb at 8:05 AM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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