“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

– A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Make a friend. Find a friend. How to get friends. How to make more friends. It all sounds kind of desperate. 

But we’re living in uncertain times where social distancing and social isolation are becoming the new norm’. So perhaps finding friends is something we can no longer take for granted. 

Perhaps now that we understand that maintaining friendships through covid times is difficult or even to make new friends poses problems (as we have to socially isolate or stick within our bubble), then it’s more important than ever to value friendship.

The Importance of Friends

Not only is making friends important for little kids, but it’s also important for adults. If this is a social skill that we need to learn – then let’s learn it. Because it’s getting harder and harder to meet new people and we need to find friends for our own sense of well being.

We all know that creating new relationships takes effort. So let’s minimise the effort and let technology help us by combining online connections with ‘real world’ offline (in-person) meetings to fulfil our need as social beings and increase our quality of life. 

Social Intelligence

They say that the difference between higher more intelligent beings and less intelligent beings is the fact that the more intelligent beings use social networking or learnt social behaviour to aid their survival. In other words, intelligent beings such as dolphins, chimpanzees and humans learn from each other via social interaction.

Like humans, dolphins can pass their knowledge down to future generations. From mother to calf or from associated individuals by copying behaviour and imitating vocalisations. They live in complex social groups where their survival depends on highly-involved social interaction.

Through a capacity for social learning (learning from others), they can develop new skills and behaviours which can equip them to adapt to a changing environment. It would seem then that being social as a species is key to survival. 

The dance halls, clubs, bars, pubs and sports fields are no longer with us as a place to socialise in the way they once were. Even schooling has become an online activity. Work places are being replaced by the home office. So how will we ever meet new friends if the places we gather in as a group are eliminated from social activity? It’s a worrying trend as it may mean that the very thing we crave to do – what many of us live for – is presently no longer possible. 

So let’s not take being able to socialise for granted anymore and instead let’s figure out the ‘how to…’ How can we find friends and socialise in the future? We’re just as smart dolphins, so let’s (instead of leaving it up to chance) start looking at each other with a view that socialising is not just a pleasurable past-time but serves a greater purpose, that of survival.

What is a Cafe Friend?

A cafe friend is a friend that might be a colleague, employee, relative or someone closely associated with you, who you meet up with in a cafe who you initially made contact with online.

At 5050 Cafe Friends the way you find friends is by introducing yourself, discovering interests you may have in common and chatting about it online. Once you have established that you may like to meet in-person you are then able to send an invite for 5050 Coffee to meet up at your local or faraway cafe. Cafe Friends are people who enjoy the casual and informal atmosphere of meeting up with a friend or friends in a cafe.

They may be people from the same area or people who share your interests or people you are just interested in. Although cafes and coffee shops as businesses have suffered in 2020, there will come a day when they will be able reopen their doors and welcome customers.

Clever Cookies, Cafe Friends and Cafes

We’re anxiously waiting for things to return to a time when sitting in a cafe at your leisure is practicable again. Cafes are the one place you can visit on your own and feel comfortable. They’re also the one place you can visit with a friend or friends and feel comfortable. They’re also a place where you may first discover Clever Cookies. 

Every cafe owner/operator in 5 different countries is able to list their cafe for free at 5050 Cafe Friends When they do, they’ll be asked to agree to the covid requirements for cafes for their country. When their cafe is listed, they are then able to print out, display or giveaway Clever Cookies. CC’s let people know about the free trial at 5050 Cafe Friends. During the free trial they are then able to select the cafe and send out a 5050 Coffee invite to a friend or friends to meet-up there.

Shared Interests and Intros

When you join 5050 Cafe Friends, you are asked to select 2 – 5 interests from an extensive dropdown, so think about what you’re into. You will then receive an email or website notification when anyone else shares the same interests. The interests that you list here will help when you come to introduce yourself as you will be asked to mention what someone else is into.

Anyone can introduce themselves to anyone and if you’re a good listener, you’ll make any ensuing online conversation ‘not solely about you.’ An active listener practices listening by making a conscious effort to hear (or in this case) read the words spoken. But you can also contribute by asking questions, remaining neutral and by being non-judgemental and patient. Yes, you will be asked to mention what someone else is ‘into’ namely, to take an interest in them by mentioning some of their interests, so make this your chance to become an active listener. 

If you share common interests it then becomes a whole lot easier to communicate ideas and thoughts. You may even start to learn more about the things you are interested in and this can be quite exciting!

If you don’t share common interests then that’s ok too, you can always just take an ‘interest in someone’ but it’s always a good idea to take an interest in what interests them. Because showing an interest in something that someone’s interested in is a bit like active listening. It shows that you care about what they like.

When you take an interest in someone’s interests – it means that they will (in turn) be more interested in you!

The Intro

How do you do this? When it’s not possible to have a 3rd party introducing you to a friend in-person, introducing yourself by way of an online form becomes the next best thing.

An Intro at 5050 Cafe Friends goes something like this:

‘Hi, I’m Anthony from Adelaide and I’m a school teacher. I read your profile and see that you’re like cars.’ And hit: Send 

What you are doing when you introduce yourself to someone by incorporating four elements: Your first name, the place you’re from and what you do, is declaring yourself in a way that makes you ‘worthy.’ Then by taking an interest in what someone is interested in like cars, you’re forming a common bond.

You also in that moment, cease to remain a stranger as you are communicating a little about yourself first which is important if you want to make friends. If you get a response which hopefully – you will, then you will have the opportunity to learn more and continue the conversation by messaging back and forth. But be patient and wait for a response first.

Try and keep any messages brief though. Brevity is key. In this instance definitely ‘less is more’ because it’s easy for messaging to turn into a literary contest and very often people aren’t that good at expressing themselves in text or words and too much can be divulged or misconstrued.

A developing friendship with a word or two out of place can result in being ghosted and you don’t want that. Once you’ve messaged a few times back and forth and remember brevity is key. Why? Too much information (although tempting) is not advised for fear of turning into penpals, it also becomes very easy to misconstrue what someone is saying when people are communicating only in text.

An online friendship that develops too quickly is often a good recipe for being ‘ghosted’ and you don’t want that. So take your time and keep your messages brief and polite and when you feel the time is right, pop the question: ‘Would you like to meet for coffee?’

If the answer comes back, ‘yes’ then you’ve stepped onto the bridge of uncertainty safely and are progressing along it, to soon turn your online friend into a cafe friend. Fortunately, the next step is all taken care of via the website where you’ll be able to select a cafe where you may want to meet. 

With a tap of the coffee cup icon you’ll be able to select a cafe and a day, date and time to continue your conversation in person at a cafe. Once you’ve selected this, you can then hit Send

The friend/s receiving the invite then has 24 hours to accept, decline or message you back. After 24 hours the coffee invite expires so you’re not left hanging wondering why someone hasn’t responded – you can pretty much assume that you’ve just been ghosted and move on to seeking an in-person meeting at a cafe near you with your next online friend.

Same Interests, Same Area

If you’re meeting a friend/s from the same area as you, then you are very fortunate as you may already have a lot in common and this makes someone seem already known to you.

If you are meeting friend/s who share your interests, then you are also very fortunate as this can be ‘the glue’ that may ensure that your friendship endures. Having things in common means that you can learn from each other about things you are interested in and this is a huge bonus. 

5050 Coffee

Everyone who joins 5050 Cafe Friends as a Cafe Friend must agree to the 5050 Protocol. The 5050 Protocol simply means that you are are in agreement with paying for yourself which means you are happy to pay for your own cup of coffee/beverage.

By paying for your own cup of coffee, you are creating a level playing field in which you are obligated in no way to the person/s you are meeting. This means, you can walk away if you feel uncomfortable. Meeting in a public place such as a cafe is also the best way to keep your meeting safe.

Cafe Friends

If you’ve met up with someone for 5050 Coffee: Congratulations! You’ve turned your online friend/s into a cafe friend/s. A further meeting means that you are well on your way to creating a new friendship.

You’ve established a new way of meeting people by meeting up for coffee. You’ve used technology in a positive way by turning online friends into cafe friends.

A less stressful and more socially acceptable way in which we can establish new friendships is a good way to share information and further develop our interests. Which in turn allows us to be more social and ultimately happier.

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