‘Security used to be an inconvenience sometimes, but now it’s a necessity all the time.’ – Martina Navratilova
Finding common interests and socialising with friends online has become part of our lives, but how many of us are overlooking some of the risks involved?
There are many things you can do to keep yourself out of the clutches of amorous scammers, trolls and hackers. Below are a few tips.
Online Safety Tips
Choose a social networking website that has some sort of verification system in place. Or don’t be on a website that can’t (in some way) verify who you are in contact with.
2. If you suspect someone’s profile photo is not recent (not taken within the last two years) request they upload another.
3. If someone refuses to provide a photo (or it looks like their photo has been uploaded from another website / internet) be suspicious
4. Never reveal financial information and never give out financial information like bank account details or credit card details.
5. Messaging on most social networking websites is anonymous, (no one can ever obtain personal information such as address, email, phone number). The only way someone can know your details is if you have given them out.
6. Remember, it’s message for message. If someone is not replying to your message, it’s because they don’t wish to!
7. Be suspicious of someone you keeps putting off meeting you. Scammers will never meet you in-person because they are usually located overseas and are usually only interested in a long distance relationship and your money!
8. Don’t broadcast your contact details on your profile for everyone to see. This makes you vulnerable to scammers.
9. Don’t get a false security that you are somehow protected by the website you are on. There’s no way that a website can protect you in the off-line (real world) they can only put in place a guideline for precautionary behaviour.
5050 Cafe Friends Online Safety Tips
There are a few things you can do on the 5050 website if you’re not happy about the level of contact you have with someone.
A/ You can request that someone be 5050 Verified. Everyone can become 5050 V (where the 5050 V badge is displayed on their profile photo) when they have a vlog uploaded. A four second vlog helps to verify that someone is who they claim to be.
B/ You can hit the Pause button which is located on every profile photo. The Pause button will ‘give pause to someone’ (prevent them from contacting you) for a period of time (about two weeks). Then if they contact you again but the response is not welcome, you can hit Pause again and they will be blocked for good.
C/ You can Report A Member. You can report anyone who you think has communicated or had contact with you in a disrespectful, harmful or abusive way.
Offline Safety Tips (Meeting Someone From the Internet In-Person)
If you’re meeting someone offline (off the internet, in-person in the real world) there are precautions you can set in place to keep yourself safe-er.
1/ If you’re meeting someone for the first time, then it can be a good idea to let a trusted friend or family member know what you are doing and when to expect you home.
2/ Never give out any personal details when meeting someone for the first time. Do not give out phone or work numbers, place of work, email or your home address.
3/ Don’t drink alcohol before or during your meeting as it will impair judgement.
4/ Take your phone with you. Keep your phone somewhere handy so you can easily access it, if need be.
5/ Trust your instincts. Don’t stick out a situation that you’re not comfortable with. Make an exit if you start to feel anxious.
Safety Tips For Meeting Cafe Friends (offline in a cafe)
1/ Avoid alcohol when meeting someone for the first time. Because alcohol impairs judgement.
You’re meeting for 5050 Coffee remember? And it’s 50/50 (fifty-fifty) and Coffee for a reason.
2/ Arrange to meet in a public place. A popular cafe is the best place to meet and preferably during the day. It’s 5050 Cafe Friends remember, so you can choose any cafe in 5 different countries to meet your cafe friends in.
3/ Always insist on paying for your own coffee or beverage. It’s 50/50 remember? This way, you are under no obligation to anyone and might feel less inclined to stay if you don’t want to.
4/ Remember to keep your phone handy. It’s your emergency alert system if you need it, so keep it close by.
5/ Bear in mind, that rejection is all part of meeting new friends for the first time. You won’t connect with everyone you meet. And if someone doesn’t message or communicate with you again in a timely manner on 5050, then you have to consider that they may not be interested in being your friend.
6/ If you’re feeling that your new friend/s are making you feel uncomfortable. Leave.
7/ If you’re meeting new friend/s then you may want to let a trusted friend of family member know your whereabouts and when to expect you home.
5050 Cafe Friends’ ethos is to (as much as possible) provide a safe, fair and equal environment in which friends can find each other online and then later meet in-person at a cafe of their choice for 5050 Coffee if they wish to.
Just like many social networking websites, good online and offline manners are a condition of use:
Online and offline etiquette:
I will treat others with dignity and respect.
I will represent myself honestly in all dealings with 5050 Cafe friends’ administrators.
I will not use defamatory, abusive, obscene or profane language on the 5050 Cafe friends website.
I will only use 5050 Cafe friends for personal use and not for any commercial use.
I will only upload photos to the 5050 Cafe friends website that are of me, are un-doctored and are not offensive or obscene.
I will act to protect my own privacy in my communications and will not include any contact details in my publicly available profile.
I will promptly report any breach of the 5050 Cafe friends ethos or terms and conditions to 5050 Cafe friends administrators.
I will not spam people.
I will not use 5050 Cafe friends for self-promotion, selling or canvassing people for my own financial gain or business interests
Everyone who joins 5050 Cafe friends as a Cafe Friend must agree to the 5050 Protocol as described below:
UNICEF says: Gender equality ‘means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike.’
The 5050 protocol of gender equity (paying for your own coffee) sets the foundation for the possibility of an enduring relationship founded on mutual respect and gender equality which is about ‘being equal’ but is not about being the same. It’s about rights, responsibilities and opportunities being equal for everyone regardless of whether they are born male or female.
Most people who meet other people in a group setting find there is less pressure and less emphasis on themselves and more chance to be accepted within the group, there sure is safety in numbers.
Meeting in a group will also give you more opportunity to connect with someone within the group to form a friendship. Quite often the person or people you thought you could be friends with, turn out to not necessarily the people you connect with. Meeting multiple people can increase your chances of finding friends.
If you’d like to meet new people and find new friends then you may like to consider joining 5050 Cafe Friends and inviting your online friends to meet up offline (in-person in the real world) for 5050 Coffee at the cafe of your choice. At 5050 Cafe Friends you can invite a single person or multi (more than one) person for 5050 Coffee.
How To Join 5050 Cafe Friends
Joining 5050 Cafe Friends so you can meet new people is easy and they offer a free trial with all features, so you can get some idea of how the website works. They also let you know prior to your free trial ending when it is about end to give you plenty of time to turn the auto-renew in Settings > Payment to the OFF position, which means you will not have to commit to ongoing monthly payments until you’re ready.
When you’re ready to send out 5050 Coffee invites and start communicating again, you can simply turn the auto-renew to the ON position. You can also deactivate or cancel your account at any time.
Registration offers two different options. Both options differ at Step 2, where there is a photo upload, profile and select Interests option and the second (at Step 2) is a ‘Vlog to Join’ and select Interests option.
Both options are a very straight forward three step process:
Step 1: Basic info which doesn’t require any personally identifying information, for instance, they ask for your first name only NOT your full name and your year of birth only, not your full DOB.
Step 2: Offers two options: A photo upload, plus profile (selecting from a drop-down) the most suitable answer for a few questions, combined with selecting 2 – 5 Interests from a dropdown.
The second option is a ‘Vlog to Join’ option which is a quicker process where you can prepare your vlog in advance by using your smartphone to video a short four second vlog but you also must select 2 – 5 Interests.
The script requirement for your vlog is very simple and easy to remember. All it needs to be is something like (below):
‘Hi, I’m (first name only) from (where you’re from) invite me for coffee.‘
The benefit of the second option is that once you’re registered, you automatically become 5050 Verified which means your profile photo will display the 5050 V badge. The 5050 V badge lets others know that you have a vlog present and are more likely to be genuine because you’ve uploaded a vlog.
All vlogs are watermarked with the 5050 logo which makes them less attractive to hackers and scammers.
Step 3: Is adding your credit card credentials where all info is encrypted and secure.
Same Area, Same Interests
Finding something in common with an online friend has never been easier as 5050 Cafe Friends notifies you when someone joins from your area or when someone shares one of your Interests.
You can also message someone from another country who may share your Interests, but the idea here is that you should really intend to meet that person from another country and being 5050 Verified (uploading a vlog) would also be advisable.
Some of the great things about finding friends online who are from the same area are:
Instantly, you will have something in common because you are from the same area
You know the same shops, cafes, institutions and maybe even know some of the same people
You feel like you’ve known each other for a long time, especially if you went to the same schools
It’s convenient to meet because you don’t have to travel far
You can take a trip down memory lane and share some of the similar experiences you may have had because you’re from the same area
Some of the great things about finding friends online who share some of the same Interests:
You are truly setting yourself up for an enduring friendship because you already have something in common
You are in a position to possibly learn more and meet even more friends as often people already know people who share their Interests
Having a shared Interests often brings people together romantically
You may feel more purposeful in life
When people discover what they have in common, they can create more shared experiences and the bonds of friendship may deepen
When you discover things you have in common with online friends, you may like to grow the friendship further by meeting them in-person (off-line in the real world).
Meeting online friends in-person has many great benefits such as:
By meeting someone or people in person, you are starting to get to know them and will get a better idea of who they are
Online friendships need to grow into offline friendships otherwise any effort made towards friendship that you have created online, can lose importance, stagnate and fall away
When you meet in-person, you are able to read the social cues and body language of the other people you are meeting
If you are more of a talker than a literary/text type of person, you’ll find meeting in person a much better option as writing/ texting or typing info can seem time consuming and laborious. Even a phone-call or a video-call can seem like you’re being put on the spot.
You’ll be able to laugh out loud together and humour is what makes us happy! Instead of writing Lol and hoping the person reading your comment ‘gets it’ at the other end
You’ll come away from an in-person meeting with a much clearer idea of where you stand with your friends
If meeting more than one friend, you’ll have the opportunity of meeting ‘more’ people and enjoy more opportunities with new friends
Your personal brand (what you wear, how you conduct yourself, what you sound like) will leave more of an impression with your friends. They’ll also get to know what you’re like
Any virtual meeting to consolidate a new friendship can have technical issues and can leave you feeling less satisfied and a little unsure of potential outcomes. It may be okay to reconnect with someone you have already met in-person this way, but for new friendships it doesn’t really work. It only works initially so long as you intend to meet in-person at some stage
If you’ve reached that crucial stage with your online friendships where you’d like to take things to the next level by meeting everyone in-person, you can send a multi-invite.
At 5050 Cafe Friends you can utilise their free trial period to use their multi-invite option to send out 5050 Coffee invites to all your online friends and meet up in person.
Make life easier by saving anyone you’ve had something in common with like Same Area or Same Interests to your Favourites, then:
Choose the multi-invite option (envelope with the plus symbol) and a 4 step process will appear.
1/ Choose from your Favourites the people you wish to send a coffee invite to, to meet up in-person.
2/ Choose a cafe in the area, date and time of where you’d like to meet up, which can accommodate your friends for 5050 Coffee. (In other words, a cafe that serves great coffee or has good beverages). Somewhere that has a great ambience and secure wi-fi is always best.
3/ Complete the message field, so that your friends know why you are messaging them and that you would like to meet up with them all.
4/ Send your multi-invite out to your online friends.
Once your multi-invite is sent, your friends will have 24 hours to decline, accept or message you back with a reply, but the invitation will expire after 24 hours which means you won’t be left hanging or wondering about who is going to turn up.
You can always message someone separately as well, if you would like to address their individual needs.
Why 5050 Coffee?
In order to get friendships off to a great start, an affordable, fair and safe way of meeting people is important. When people join 5050 Cafe Friends as a Cafe Friend they must also agree to the 5050 Protocol.
The 5050 Protocol simply put is about ‘paying for yourself’ or paying for your own coffee. The best way to do this, is just to walk up to the counter in the chosen cafe and order and pay for your own beverage.
*It’s important not to look upon meeting up for coffee and paying for yourself as ‘cheap’ but more as affordable, non-threatening, safer, fairer and a more casual way of meeting people with less pressure. No one wants a huge financial outlay or commitment to other people when you are only just initially meeting new friends. The idea is simply to meet to see if you can establish a friendship in the first place.
At 5050 Cafe Friends it’s about making equality a reality, when meeting new people. All parties should be on an equal footing and afforded the same rights.
There should be no need for anyone to feel obligated to anyone else at a first meeting and this is possible if people take an equitable stance with a view to equality.
The 5050 Protocol of 5050 Cafe Friends states that:
‘The 5050 protocol of gender equity (paying for your own coffee) sets the foundation for the possibility of an enduring relationship founded on mutual respect and gender equality which is about ‘being equal’ but is not about being the same. It’s about rights, responsibilities and opportunities being equal for everyone regardless of whether they are born male or female.’
When you pay for yourself there’s no more gender role play and no awkward feeling of who pays for what or who will grab the check. You have no obligation to anyone at all and can leave when you want and it’s easy on your finances!
Ultimately, you are there because you want to be and for the same reasons as everyone else – to meet people and find friends.
The Multi-Invite for Cafes
How will the multi-invite effect cafes?
The first thing all cafes should do is list their cafe for free at 5050 Cafe Friends.
You can do this by selecting ‘Join as a Cafe’ where you will be able to list your cafe for free.
When you list your cafe it will give you a standout listing where you can easily be seen by Cafe Friends when a Search is entered for your area.
There are many benefits with listing your cafe including:
Your standout cafe listing will easily be seen when a search for your area is entered by Cafe Friends
Add a cafe photo
Add a cafe description
Add your url so Cafe Friends can visit your website
Add your Deal of the Day and set its duration
Add WOO (What’s On Offer) icons eg. Free Wi-fi
Print out and giveaway or display Clever Cookies
Update your listing and go to the top of search results for your area
Expect that Cafe Friends may send out multi-invites to meet- up with friends at your cafe
The multi-invite now means people from the same area or people with the same interests can now, send an invite to multiple people (more than one) to meet up at your cafe.
And this means, you may get groups coming to your cafe for 5050 Coffee.
So keep them coming by listing your cafe and giving away or displaying Clever Cookies!
‘A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.’ – Unknown.
These days, technology makes the impossible, possible.
If you’re sitting in your favourite cafe on your device enjoying the free, secure wifi, then it’s possible that you could also find friends to invite for coffee.
5050 Coffee that is, which is even better. 5050 Coffee (as it suggests is about going 50/50 or Dutch where each person pays for their own beverage). It means there is no expectation of you having to pay for someone else’s coffee and it also means that (the friend you are meeting) is under no obligation to you after having accepted your invite for coffee.
All you really have to do is enjoy your coffee and share the things you have in common. And the best news of all? You can do it all for free (bar the price of your cup of coffee). But where do you find friends?
Why meeting for coffee is a good way to meet new friends
Meeting a friend for coffee in a cafe/coffee shop is a less formal and more casual way of meeting new friends. A cafe is a relaxed environment which allows people to focus on the conversation and getting to know each other rather than the surroundings.
If you’re meeting a friend for the first time, (a friend that you’ve previously met online), then reducing anxiety by choosing a cafe for a first meeting is important. No one is going to be looking too closely at how you drink your coffee or be concerned with what type of coffee you’ve ordered. New friends are going to be more interested in the conversation and about any commonalities you may share.
If you’re meeting in a cafe, there’s also less dress-code pressure, casual attire is very acceptable. You can dress as you would on a normal work day or dress as you would to meet a friend. Choosing to meet in a public place like a cafe will also help to keep you safe and if alcohol is not on the menu, you don’t have to worry about your judgement being impaired.
The Process Of Finding Friends
Start the process of finding friends to invite for coffee by joining 5050 Cafe Friends. This website provides the opportunity for online friendships to develop into offline (real world) friendships by inviting friends for coffee.
Registration involves 3 simple steps and once they’re completed, they offer a week’s free trial. When the free week is drawing to a close, you can switch the auto-renew to OFF which will prevent any further payments (until you’re ready to switch it back ON). It saves having to cancel and then go through the registration process again.
Other members can still contact you however and you will also be able to update your profile. Then when the opportunity arises where you may like to send out a coffee invite, you can switch the auto-renew back on.
At Step 2 of registration, they request you either ‘Vlog to Join’ or upload a photo and complete a profile.
Although the best option is ‘Vlog to Join’ because you instantly become 5050 Verified which means other people whom you wish to communicate with, will have no doubt over your identity. You may also choose the more traditional option of uploading a photo and completing a profile.
Whichever option you choose, you will also be asked to add your interests (you have to choose two, but you can have up to five). You can also upload a vlog (after you’ve registered) and update your interests at any time.
When you add your interests, other people on the website will receive a notification if your interests or the area that you’re from, matches theirs.
Finding you are from the same area, went to the same schools, frequent the same cafes and know the same people can make you feel like you are getting reacquainted with an old friend, but if you don’t have these connections already, then that’s ok also.
The whole idea is finding friends afresh.
Finding A Cafe Near You
A popular cafe is a great meeting place because your meeting can go unnoticed which may give you a sense of privacy. The feeling of anonymity that comes with meeting someone in a busy place might be the sort of environment you seek when you don’t want everyone knowing who you are meeting.
The staff and customers are less likely to notice and observe you as they busily go about serving customers and you may feel shielded by the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the comings and goings of people.
Equally, you may want to be familiar with your environment and choose to go where the people know you. Quiet cafes can also be just as good, but for different reasons. If you’d like the focus to be on the conversation but also like privacy, then you’ll probably be more likely to be heard and your attention will be focused on who you are with.
At 5050 Cafe Friends when you tap the Coffee Cup icon located under every profile photo, you’ll be able to send a coffee invite to anyone on the 5050 website but first of all you will be prompted to Find A Cafe Near You.
By entering your country and area you’ll be able to select a 5050 Cafe (a private listing on the website) or you may select a cafe located on a map. If there is a 5050 Cafe listing available, there is also a place where a cafe owner/operator can add a description and their Deal of the Day.
If they’ve added a description you’ll be able to get some idea of the ambience, if not and they have a website and added their URL, you’ll be able to click through to their website and find out more about their cafe.
After you’ve made your selection you will then be able to send an invite for 5050 Coffee.
5050 Coffee Invite
Social networking is about the use of an internet application to form online relationships that have a social purpose, a business purpose or both. Generally speaking they are online services that help people connect and form new (and renew old) relationships with friends, colleagues, customers or potential partners and help like minded people who share similar interests to find one and other.
That’s how 5050 Cafe Friends works to help you find friends who share your interests and then invite them for coffee by selecting a Cafe Near You to continue your online conversation into the real world.
When you send a 5050 Coffee to invite to someone you can choose the day, date and time and they can accept, decline or enable the Bring a Friend option if they registered as female.
They have 24 hours to reply before the invite expires, so you’re not left hanging and wondering whether someone is going to turn up. Of course you can still message them at any time in case arrangements change.
Everyone who joins the 5050 Cafe Friends website as a Cafe Friend has to agree to the 5050 Protocol which simply put is about paying for your own coffee. By agreeing to pay for yourself you’re creating an equitable environment where no party need feel obligated in any way to the other which kick-starts all relationships off on a level playing field.
How 5050 Coffee Keeps You Safe
It’s about 50/50 not 60/40 which is about going half with all costs or paying for yourself. This in turn creates an equitable environment where people have no need to be concerned about the bill or feel obligated in any way to someone else because they’ve paid.
If someone has invited you for coffee and you have accepted their invite, you do it on the proviso that you have agreed and understand the 5050 Protocol.
It’s about coffee or a non-alcoholic beverage being consumed – not alcohol. So you do not have to worry about your judgement being impaired.
If you accept a a 5050 Coffee invite you are doing it with the understanding that by paying for yourself you are abiding by the 5050 Protocol and in making the effort to meet the person/people in question, you’re doing it of your own volition and are there because you want to be.
By meeting in a cafe, which is a public place it’s more likely that help is on hand if need be and that you can walk away from the situation at any time if you feel in danger.
Anxiety over who pays for what becomes less of an issue and you only need to spend what you can afford. There is no bill shock at the end or social pressure related to feeling that you haven’t paid your fair share.
All cafe owner/operators must agree to abide by the covid requirements for cafes/coffee shops for their country.
All cafes that create a listing on the 5050 Cafe Friends website must agree that coffee is served on their premises.
The 5050 Protocol
Just like the ‘Me too,’ ‘Black Lives Matter,’ or ‘Climate Change’ movements which have brought an awareness for the need for social change, so too does 5050 Cafe Friends. It hopes to make equality a reality by changing behaviours and attitudes around how people meet.
5050 Cafe Friends is ‘making equality a reality’ by asking all people who join the website to agree to their 5050 Protocol which states:
UNICEF says gender equality ‘means that women and men, girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike.’
The 5050 Protocol of gender equity (paying for your own coffee) sets the foundation for the possibility of an enduring relationship founded on mutual respect and gender equality which is about ‘being equal’ but is not about being the same. It’s about rights, responsibilities and opportunities being equal for everyone regardless of whether they are born male or female.
‘It’s amazing how the world begins to change through the eyes of a cup of coffee.‘ – Unknown.
Your food is delicious and your coffee is good, but your cafe/coffee shop is a bit out of the way. If you’re disappointed that your cafe is not continuously flooded with customers sampling your food and drinking your coffee, then don’t despair, there is another way and it’s pretty much free.
You may also be in a situation where a lot of the cafes around you are doing similar food and coffee for a similar price, so how do you make your cafe/coffee shop the one that people are going to choose?
Suggestions on how to get customers returning to your cafe/coffee shop
Loyalty cards. Retaining 5% of your customers can boost your profits as much as 95%. Rather than focusing on attracting new customers, you can focus on existing customers by keeping them coming back. But instead of making every 10th coffee free, how ‘bout making every 6th coffee free to give customers even more of an incentive to return?
Loyalty cards build trust and increase customer life time value.
2. Partner with an app so customers can order their coffee online. A large number of commuters look for places where they can order and pick-up their morning caffeine hit. If your loyalty program and mobile payment technology is working in tandem, your will attract more customers.
3. Serve an ‘organic’ coffee brand. Organic coffee where the bean is being produced sustainably and is good for the environment, good for the habitat of animals, good for us and the people producing it are what can form part of the decision making process for consumers with a conscience. People are now better informed than they used to be and the message is getting through, so make the switch.
4. Perfect your coffee. If your coffee is good it will keep the customers coming back. If it’s not great they may not return. If you’re serving barista made coffee in the form of cappuccino, latte, mocha chino, espresso (there are many variants) then learn how to make it correctly and price it accordingly.
But other options for your customers may also attract them, like very good filter coffee also priced accordingly. Consumers are now better informed and want to be seen as ‘doing the right thing.’
Showing that you are a cafe/coffee shop with a conscience lets people know that their patronage of your cafe has a ‘buy right’ attitude and that their purchase may indirectly support sustainable and ethical causes. Such as not offering food products that contain palm oil or showing your support for: Sustainable Gastronomy Day
6. Getting behind ethical causes and being seen as ‘doing the right thing’ may also extend to:
a. Making ‘equality a reality’ by becoming a partner cafe of 5050 Cafe Friends. This is a matter of exchanging links so that your cafe is added to the support link carousel and is seen to be supporting equality.
b. Adding your cafe’s website URL to the listing form when you list your cafe at 5050 Cafe Friends. Your cafe’s URL will then appear on all 5050 Coffee invites sent out when their customers go to select: ‘A Cafe Near You’.
In order to support equality when you list your cafe you must agree to the 5050 Protocol:
UNICEF says gender equality ‘means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike.’
The 5050 Protocol the principle behind 5050 Cafe Friends is about gender equity (paying for your own coffee) which builds a foundation for the possibility of an enduring relationship founded on mutual respect and gender equality which is about ‘being equal’ but is not about being the same. It’s about rights, responsibilities and opportunities being equal for everyone regardless of whether they were born male or female.
7. Stay connected. Ensure your cafe offers safe wi-fi so your customers can access the internet securely. This means they’ll be able to work from your cafe, hold meetings at your cafe, catch up with friends or just check their social media accounts online.
If you would like your cafe to stand apart from other cafes in your area, you can do this by creating a stand-out listing at 5050 Cafe Friends. It’s completely free to list your cafe and will take about 5 minutes of your time. By updating your listing with offering your cafe’s Deal of the Day you will go to the top of search results in your area. People who join as Cafe Friends will then be able to select your cafe to invite someone for 5050 Coffee.
With a free listing at 5050 Cafe Friends you can also add WOO (What’s On Offer) icons to your listing which can show that you serve organic coffee or that you offer free wi-fi there are over 13 to choose from.
You can also become a partner cafe by exchanging links with 5050 Cafe Friends which will drive your customers to select your cafe to invite a friend to, while also driving cafe friends to your cafe.
If you return to suggestion1. at the beginning of this article re: loyalty cards, you can apply the same principle of customer retention and ‘Be Chosen’ by giving away Clever Cookies with every take out or dine in coffee which will return customers your cafe.
How To Get More Customers For Free!
If you’re combining technology with real world ‘know-how’ it is likely that you’re using technology in a way that it was meant to used – to help us!
At 5050 Cafe Friends they’re supplying the technology, all you have to do is use it and apply real-world ‘know-how’.
You can get your cafe brimming with customers in two simple steps:
1/ List your cafe (for free) with 5050 Cafe Friends by joining as a cafe.
2/ Print out, giveaway, share, or display Clever Cookies (the more the merrier) so that more people can know about meeting people who share common interests at your cafe.
Here’s the process in a little more depth:
You can start your own cafe marketing campaign for free if you follow the below guide:
1/ Head on over to 5050cafefriends.com and select the option ‘Join as a Cafe’ and start your cafe’s listing (it’s free to do this).
a You will be asked some rudimentaries as well as to agree with the 5050 Protocol which supports gender equality and to agree with complying with covid 19 requirements for your cafe in your country.
b Complete all fields such as:
Upload a food photo
Add a description
Add a Deal of the Day
Add your website’s URL (if you have one)
Add WOO (What’s On Offer) icons for your cafe
c Lastly, as a way of saying: ‘Thank you’ and to increase customers to your website and to increase customers to the 5050 Cafe Friends website they encourage you to exchange links.
You will have already entered yours on the listing form, but if you haven’t, you can go back and log in and edit and add your URL.
They will then request that you ‘copy ’n paste some code onto the appropriate page onto your website if you have one. This will help drive traffic to your website as well as to theirs.
2/ When you list your cafe, you will also see an option for printing out Clever Cookies.
Clever Cookies promote the free trial at the 5050 Cafe Friends website for Cafe Friends.
(Simply put, Cafe Friends are people who join the website and then invite people for to a cafe for 5050 Coffee). Clever Cookies also promote the free listing for cafes (which should not be confused with the cafe friends listing). They also contain a qr code that when scanned takes you directly to the website.
There are some options for giving away Clever Cookies which include:
a/ A business card sized printable option which can be given away with every dine-in or take-out coffee.
b/ An A4 sized sheet of Clever Cookies which can be cut out by your staff and given away.
c/ An A5 sized option where you need only print one to display on your counter or in the window of your cafe.
Or a share option which you can add to your facebook page or send to a friend.
Every time you log in either as a Cafe Friend or as a Cafe you can view the options for sharing or skip.
The cycle goes from Clever Cookie> Customer > 5050 Cafe Friends website > Your Cafe > Clever Cookie
5050 Cafe Friends Free Trial
If you’ve listed your cafe for free, you may also like to experience what a cafe friend experiences by taking up the free trial on offer. This way, you’ll know first hand how your customers get to know about your cafe via the listing you create.
When you giveaway, share or display a Clever Cookie and take up the free trial at 5050 Cafe Friends you’ll have access to some great features such as:
Instantly becoming 5050 Verified when you ‘Vlog to Join’. But if you choose instead to upload a profile photo, you can add a vlog later on to become 5050 Verified. A short vlog with a simple script such as: ‘Hi, I’m Susan from Sydney invite me for coffee,’ is all you need to say to be 5050 V which means that you are who you claim to be.
Add interests to find like-minded people when you join and be notified of other people who also share your interests
Use the 5050 Intro form (just fill in the gaps) to introduce yourself to potential friends who share your interests or send to potential friends you are ‘interested in.’
Send 5050 Coffee invites to any friends to any cafe in 5 different countries
Choose the ‘Bring a friend’ option on your 5050 Coffee invite if you identify as female when you join
Choose to ‘Pause’ someone who you have lost interest in
Meet-up with potential friends from your area
Be in control of your own information
Adjust your Settings to suit your requirements. You can switch the auto-renew to the OFF position and then back to ON when you’re ready to meet friends or deactivate your account or cancel at any time
Marketing your cafe shouldn’t have to be expensive. By letting your customers know about 5050 Cafe Friends and by making sure your cafe has secure wi-fi (so they can join the internet and access the website easily), you should be able to give away, share or display enough Clever Cookies to start getting customers returning to your cafe and bringing a friend or bringing friends. Remember the magic formula, retaining just 5% of your customers can boost your profits by 95% so a handful of people that can find like-minded friends who share their interests who would like to continue the conversation by meeting up your cafe for 5050 Coffee can make your cafe a hub and a place for people to meet.
‘Sometimes, having coffee with your friend, is all the therapy you need.’ – Unknown
Are you spending money marketing your cafe? And if you are, do you know how many return customers you are getting for your money? Print and digital media are notoriously expensive and hard to track insofar as ROI (return on investment) goes, so is there a better option?
Traditionally, cafes have relied on securing a premises with a high foot count to guarantee customers but have had to pay a King’s ransom in rent in order to secure this type of position.
Being reliant on adjacent office buildings and other businesses for lunch time trade seems to be a fading practice as more businesses allow their employees to work from home.
Bricks ’n mortar type businesses may find themselves having to rely more and more on technology as a way of attracting customers as the advantages for businesses and employees to work from home saves money all-ways-round. But when is a cafe a cafe?
Sure, you can have live in managers on a premises but you can’t actually turn your home into a cafe if it is zoned otherwise, so what is a viable solution?
As people self isolate and social distance more and more, the need for cafes grows and grows and is probably needed now more than ever as an affordable, sociable outing.
So how can you attract more customers to your cafe without investing in huge advertising costs but also market your cafe to customers directly so that you are not wasting your own time as well as making it as easy and as cost efficient as possible?
So your food photos look great on facebook and instagram but how do you know that your social media account(s) are working for you and actually increasing your customer numbers?
Most cafes these days, tend to have a facebook page if they don’t have a website, but how often are you updating your facebook page? Most businesses agree that facebook and other social networking platforms act more to validate your business rather than to actually help increase numbers. And we all know that the ‘hard sell’ on social media can turn the customer smile upside down.
But one of the things that is so necessary in any cafe or restaurant is the hard sell. How many times have you been asked in McDonalds whether you’d ‘like fries with that?’ Selling is what it’s all about.
In fact, many of us don’t really think we’ve had any service in these places until we’ve been sold to. So how does facebook and instagram help cafes with the hard sell? Well, it doesn’t.
Helping out in your community or holding an event at your cafe is a good way to attract more customers. Managing the catering for an event but posting pictures of food on offer at your cafe without a price tag seems to leave out part of the equation, perhaps this is the difference between fast food and slow food?
Fast food offers price certainty and consistency and gets bad press because we can afford more of it whereas cafe food is less about price and more about quality.
But whichever way you promote your business it’s all going to be extra work at the end of the day and running a cafe seems hard work enough without having to pay someone to run social media campaigns simply because ‘that’s what you do.’ Is the ‘nag’ of social media really the answer to your business success or just more of a time waster? Or is there an easier way?
Letting Technology Help
It would seem that we are still learning how technology can help us in everyday life. So how should we be using technology in a way that helps with getting more customers in cafes?
One way technology helps food businesses is by making it possible to order online and then collect your order or have your order delivered. This is one way of using technology to help increase sales.
Although there is nothing particularly new about this, it must leave a lot of seats empty in your cafe and of course it costs to have empty seats. And if everything is delivered or take-out what is happening to cafe culture and the art of socialisation?
Don’t say it’s over pluh-ease. Because if it is the beginning of the end, how will people ever meet? And where will they go?
A New Way To Attract Customers
If you’re a cafe/coffee shop owner/operator and you’d like more customers coming back to your cafe then you should consider listing your cafe (for free) with 5050 Cafe Friends and displaying, giving away or sharing Clever Cookies.
When you list your cafe, you will also be able to print, share or display Clever Cookies to give to your customers. Clever Cookies let your customers know about the free trial on offer at 5050 Cafe Friends.
When your customers join 5050 Cafe Friends as a cafe friend, they are able to take up the free trial on offer. This will give them the ability to be able to select your cafe as a place to meet up with their friends.
All you have to do is promote the free offer to your customers by giving out business card sized Clever Cookies (available for download when you list your cafe) or display an A5 Clever Cookie (available for download when you list your cafe) in the window of your cafe or on your counter top. Or you can also share CCs (electronically) to social media or with friends.
This is how you can increase repeat customers to your cafe and it’s all completely free!
Some of the benefits of listing your cafe are:
It’s within your control and your listing can be easily managed and updated by you.
It combines technology with real world interaction which means you’re using technology (and so are your customers) to increase in-person socialisation at your cafe.
It supports local cafes.
It supports faraway cafes by making an invite possible to a cafe in another country, state or territory.
It offers an exchange of links (on the cafe listing form) to boost website Google rankings.
It offers the ability to display a food photo and a description of your cafe
You can set the duration of your ‘Deal of the Day’ to promote what you’re offering at your cafe and update it at any time. Your Deal of the Day might be something like this:
‘Try a free cronut with every coffee bought this week (we bake them fresh every morning!)’
10. It asks all cafes to agree to the covid requirements for their country.
11. You can add WOO (What’s On Offer) icons to your listing like ‘Free Wi-fi’ or ‘Outdoor Pet Friendly Area’ or ‘Organic Coffee’ there are over 13 to choose from.
12. You don’t need to be a tech wiz to create a listing and it can be easily managed by staff.
What Makes A Great Cafe?
Whether it’s good coffee, great ambience, a great deal, great decor or simply the people that go there – a great cafe is one that you spend time in, oh, and one with secure, reliable, fast and free wifi. Make sure you’re accomodating your customers with free wifi so they have the ability to go to 5050 Cafe Friends, ‘Join as a Cafe Friend’ and send an invite to meet up with a friend/s at your cafe for coffee.
The process on the website makes everyone choose ‘A Cafe Near You’ before they can send out an invite for 5050 Coffee. The choice you want your customers to make is of course to choose YOUR CAFE. And if your cafe is the cafe in which they received a Clever Cookie in, in the first place and has an updated listing, then it’s quite likely that your cafe will be the cafe in which they will choose to invite a friend to.
This is how to get your customers returning to your cafe, by giving them the opportunity to select it on the website.
Keep Customers Coming Back
As a cafe owner/operator you can follow the easy guideline below to keep customers coming back to your cafe.
1. Free Wifi
In order to get customers coming back to your cafe, you’ll need to offer good, fast, secure and reliable wifi. Add the WOO icon ‘Free Wifi’ to your cafe listing. Look around, everyone who’s on their own these days (or briefly left on their own) in a cafe, flips out their phone, laptop or tablet to either catch up on work, read, flip through their social media accounts or look for stuff on the internet.
For Cafes/Coffee Shops
Secure wifi for your cafe is a must nowadays and most customers look for cafes where they can surf the internet securely while sipping a coffee. Ensure your cafe keeps your public network secure so your customers access the internet safely.
One of the most important things to look for is end to end encryption. Look for https (the ’s’ stands for secure) on every page you visit.
2. List Your Cafe For Free
5050 Cafe Friends is about turning online friends into cafe friends. People who join successfully are able to find friends they share something in common in with or find friends that they’re just ‘interested in’ and send an invite out to that person or (multiple) people for 5050 Coffee to a cafe of their choosing.
The first thing you can do as a cafe/coffee shop is to go to 5050cafefriends.com and ‘Join as a Cafe’ which means beginning the process of listing your cafe on the website. This is completely free and when you do this, your cafe becomes a 5050 listing and will stand out in your area. Each time you update your listing it will jump to the top of the search results for your area. Cafe friends can then choose your cafe to invite friends to. All people who join as Cafe Friends must choose a cafe before they can send an invite out for 5050 Coffee.
You’ll then be asked to agree to the t’s & c’s for cafes and also have to tick a box to do with complying with your country’s covid requirements as stipulated by your government. This is necessary to keep customers and staff safe.
A verification link will then be sent to your cafe’s email.
Add Details Of Your Cafe
a/ Add the address of your cafe
b/ Upload a food photo
c/ Add a description of your cafe like: ‘Creative ambience with good vibes and good food.’
d/ Add your Deal of the Day
About Deal of the Day
Everyone loves a good deal. Adding your Deal of the Day (D of D) at your cafe is one way of letting Cafe Friends know what’s special at your cafe. You can set the duration of your D of D by selecting the start and end date.
A typical D of D might say something like this: ‘A free cronut with every coffee sold today.’
e/ Add WOO
Woo short for ‘What’s On Offer’ icons can also be added to your listing. There are 16 WOO icons to choose from including:
Pet Friendly Outdoor Area
No Plastic Straws
Staff Wear Facemasks
Used Coffee Grinds For Gardens
Sells Reusable Cups
Gluten Free Options
Plant Based Options
No Plastic Cups
Clever Cookies (on display/giveaway)
The WOO icons you select for your cafe will appear on your listing. Cafe friends are able to see them when they send out a coffee invite and may choose a listing that displays the icons which offers what they require.
For instance, if someone requires a Pet Friendly Outdoor Area they would be able to see that your cafe would accommodate them if this icon has been added to your listing.
3. Giveaway, Display or Share Clever Cookies For Free
Clever Cookies are free to giveaway, display or share but also offer a free trial at 5050 Cafe Friends. You can print out and giveaway a business sized Clever Cookie with every coffee in your cafe or display a Clever Cookie with a QR code for your customers to scan.
If you scan the QR code on the Clever Cookie it will take your straight to the 5050 Cafe Friends website where you can take up the free trial. An A5 sized Clever Cookie can be printed out to display in your cafe window or on your counter top. The free trial enables your customers the ability to turn online friends into cafe friends by sending an invite for 5050 Coffee to your cafe.
Yes, Cafe Friends are able to select your cafe to send an invite out for 5050 Coffee to whomever they choose to meet-up with at your cafe.
This is how you can return customers to your cafe, simply by giving away, sharing or displaying Clever Cookies.
4. Be A Partner Cafe
You can be a partner cafe of 5050 Cafe Friends simply by adding your cafe’s URL to the listing form. When you become a partner cafe by adding your cafe’s url on the listing form (optional) which can help improve visibility on the net.
More importantly, if your cafe’s linked logo shows on the cafe’s carousel of partners it will tell potential customers that your cafe shares similar values to 5050 Cafe Friends and supports equality.
5. Link Exchange
When you create a free customised listing with 5050 Cafe Friends it will standout in your area and feature in the top 10 of search results for your area and so will easily be seen by cafe friends (people who join the website) when they go to select a cafe.
When you update your listing it will go to the top of search results for your area, so updating your Deal of the Day frequently is a good idea.
If you exchange links by copying and pasting the code provided by the 5050 Cafe Friends website onto an appropriate page of your website, it will provide a valuable link back to the 5050 Cafe Friends website which in turn will result in more people viewing your listing.
The Marketing Cycle
Is there a cycle around marketing your cafe to increase your customers? Yes, but does it begin with the cafe listing or the Clever Cookie?
It starts with the cafe listing which will also enable you to share, display or giveaway Clever Cookies. By starting this process, your cafe is bringing people together which is what cafe society is all about.
A Word About Equality
Equality needn’t be a difficult concept to grasp if you understand the principal of 50/50 or ‘going Dutch’ which at 5050 Cafe Friends is simply about paying for yourself which in turn creates a level playing field or state in which you can ‘be equal.’
This does not mean that everyone has to be the same, but that rights, responsibilities and opportunities should not be based on being born male or female.
Everyone who joins must agree with the 5050 Protocol which brings an awareness to all members around the importance of equal decision-making and gender equity.
Gender equity (going 50/50) paves the way to gender equality which is about fairness and changing traditional behaviours and attitudes around gender role play. When everyone pays for their own cup of coffee (5050 Coffee) it makes meeting friend/s affordable and creates a sociable environment in which people feel more options are open to them.
This is in turn sets any friendship off to a great start and sets the tone for a meeting based on mutual respect, fairness and safety.
A Word About 5050 Coffee
The term 5050 Coffee probably won’t be found anywhere, however going 50/50 (fifty-fifty or Dutch) is a common way of expressing the desire to meet up and split costs among friends or parties known to each other.
As the term 50/50 is used and understood universally and often when referring to custody arrangements or purchases made between known parties, it is also recognised as a universally fair way in which assets, custody and payments can be divided, arranged or allocated.
It is the desire to seek the most equitable and equal arrangement in order to bring about the best outcome for all parties wishing to meet that forms the basis of 5050 Cafe Friends.
In this way, meeting new friends is made affordable (no bill shock), easy and stressless. If you’re interested in making new friends who share the same interests or just meeting people who you are interested in, send them a Clever Cookie, let them join as a cafe friend or as a cafe, send them an invite for 5050 Coffee courtesy of 5050 Cafe Friends and meet up with them at your local cafe!
“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.
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!
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
‘Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.’ – Woodrow T. Wilson
How many times have you been online and thought: ‘I’m messaging back and forth with this person as if I know them…but I don’t, do I?’
Do online friends give you a false sense of security or are they real friends? Is it possible to turn online friends into cafe friends and potential real-life friends who may become life long friends, colleagues, future employees or partners?
It’s possible to make it possible.
The World We Live In
We live in an increasingly technological world where physical tasks like grocery shopping, paying bills, banking and clothes shopping can be done online. These aren’t typically places where you’d find online friends, but what about Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram?
On these social networking websites people can view personal photos, you can ‘like’ and send ‘a friend invite’ and receive birthday greetings on your birthday from people you’ve never met in person, so are these people you are connecting with your friends?
Well, perhaps some of them may have the potential to become real life friends but they are more likely to remain as online friends.
You may have found an online friend that connects with you over something you’ve commented on or something you have in common, but will you ever meet? Probably not.
Online friends tend to stay as online friends. But be aware if you’re friends online with someone, just remember that at the other end of your message or behind that phone or keyboard there could be a real person and even though you may never meet these people in real life, they are however ‘real’ people who if they’re human (not bots) may react in a similar manner to you regarding a comment or something shared or similar.
So is it possible to tell if you’re messaging online with a real human or just a bot? Yes it is, but we’ll get to this later.
We live in an increasingly isolated world. 2020 was the year when people were forced to self-isolate and practice social distancing, to reduce the spread of the covid 19 pandemic, so what did we do? We spent a lot more time online. More time online reconnecting with friends and family meant the creation of more online friends.
What are online friends?
Essentially, an online friendship is one created exclusively online. Generally speaking it develops by forming a bond with someone who shares same interests or leaves a comment or replies to something in a message. To understand the benefits of an online friendship it helps to understand some of the differences between an online friendship and an ‘in person’ friendship and the value of anonymity.
An online friend can nearly always be reached but also you can leave the discussion and then pick it up again later. They tend to be ‘lower maintenance’ friendships that don’t demand your physical presence. The only thing missing is physical touch but that can be replaced with sending a love heart emoji.
Online friends may communicate more openly with you due to the anonymous nature of being online. This is also why they say that people who communicate via say, email or who use social networking sites to create communities can develop a close relationship faster and boost engagement in the workplace because anonymity creates less personal accountability and scrutiny.
Online anonymity makes it easier to share interesting facts about yourself which you may not otherwise reveal in a ‘face to face’ relationship. People tend to disclose more when they can remain visually anonymous as they are not encumbered by prejudice or stigma based around gender, age or physical appearance.
Re-inventing oneself by (whilst not being seen to do this by remaining visually anonymous) can also make someone represent themselves in a more authentic way.
With an online friendship you can be detached but attached at the same time. Although you can be in different geographical locations, online friends are able to be emotionally immediate even though their locations might be miles apart.
Social networking enables us to easily create social ties that were impossible a few decades ago while technology has developed relatively quickly, human relationships are a little slower to catch up and we may not be aware but our online friendships can develop at a rapid rate and more quickly than we think.
Social networking can help us to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, customers and clients. But what is meant by the term ‘social networking’ if we talk about it in the strictly social sense – meaning (offline) in-person socialising?
We know that being online allows like minded individuals to stay in touch, create meme’s, send emojis, view gifs, laugh at funny animal videos and absorb more information than ever before. But is it allowing us to form the deeper bonds required to take an online friendship to the next level by developing it into a real life friendship? When does social networking tip over from the online world into the offline world and help us to establish in-person friendships?
Messaging back and forth with a profile image that you’ve accepted as a true representation of the person you are ‘getting to know’ can feel quite personal. Let’s assume that the profile image is of the person you are communicating with and you’re discovering that you have things in common such as shared values, experiences, hobbies and sports. In fact, the relationship has developed to a point where you’re starting to look forward to ‘a reply’ from the person in question. Then suddenly you ask yourself…
Why do I like this person that I haven’t even met? Why do I look forward to a reply from them? Could it be that online friendships form as a consequence of ‘hope’ and that without access to the internet, we realise that it would be impossible to make a friend as quickly and in seeking a friendship we are comforted by the thought that we are not alone? Is it this, that makes us exchange information with a complete stranger who at this point is just a profile image on a screen. Or is it the beginning of a promising online friendship?
You don’t have to meet them. Online friends are abundant and there are usually plenty more where they came from.
Online friends really aren’t very demanding. You can usually message them when you want and they you.
Online friends can live in different countries or States and you can learn about their culture or lifestyle.
Even if you’re shy or a little socially awkward, you can easily approach people online. Typing (in private) rather than talking (in public) means that you can express your feelings in a way where you there are no real repercussions if your comments are taken the wrong way.
You can learn about someone, sometimes more easily often through their profile or by asking them questions. For some reason this seems more acceptable online (probably because again of anonymity and distance) than in person where someone may object to you questioning them.
Online relationships can make you feel that there are other people out there (just like you) and you are not alone. They offer hope.
You can bond with online friends by exchanging information about your shared common interests.
But, if you’re getting excited with the thought of receiving a response from someone you’ve only just made contact with online, then you might be starting to engage with a profile image on an emotional level. Just be careful not to it let it result in fanciful feelings and unrealistic expectations because you haven’t actually met the person in question yet.
If the idea of meeting the actual person who is the profile photo (bursting the bubble so to speak) does not appeal, then you could be in danger of becoming obsessive and this is not where you want to be. One of the ways to kill the obsession is of course to simply meet the person in question. They are usually never as you anticipated and so the bubble is burst.
The experience of meeting someone in real life that you previously only knew online can be very different to what you had imagined.
But at this point, should we be asking ourselves: ‘Am I developing an unhealthy relationship with someone who I’m connecting online with?’ Or should I make the effort to meet this person? Do I want more than just an online friend? Be aware, it’s important to note at this point most online relationships go no further as meeting someone does take effort and sometimes it’s just easier to make a new online friend.
Social networking communities such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that provide no opportunity for people to physically meet rely on the ease of a ‘click’ to create an online presence only.
But if you’re getting to the point where you’re asking yourself: ‘What now?’ And think you may be in danger of exhausting your online friendship, then a physical in person meeting may be necessary, but be warned: Many people will ghost or walk away at this point leaving you a little miffed that they were not prepared to put the effort into meeting you.
Or it may feel like outright rejection for no reason. Be inclined to put it down to online behaviour – a phenomenon of the modern human condition that if you’re online frequently enough you’re sure to experience.
Developing a relationship with an online profile photo (and that’s all it is at this stage because you haven’t met the person who claims to be the profile image) then be aware – your online relationship may developing at a rapid pace that may end up in you exchanging too much information too soon.
Suddenly your online friend is no longer there. For whatever reason (and you’ll never know the reason because they’ve ghosted you) and your online friendship will never result in a real world friendship and so you may never meet in person.
It’s important to note at this point most online relationships go no further as meeting someone does take effort and sometimes it’s just easier to make a new online friend. Social networking communities such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that provide no opportunity for people to physically meet rely on the ease of a ‘click’ to create an online presence only.
But if you’re getting to the point where you’re asking yourself: ‘What now?’ And think you may be in danger of exhausting your online friendship and a physical in person meeting may be necessary, then be warned: Some people will ghost or walk away at this point leaving you a little miffed that they were not prepared to put the effort into meeting you.
Or it may feel like outright rejection for no reason. Or, you could just put it down to online behaviour – a phenomenon of the modern human condition that if you’re online frequently enough you’re sure to experience.
But how do you ensure that a valued online connection will develop into a more meaningful relationship and what can you do to facilitate this?
You’ve reached a cross-roads or a bridge in your online friendship where you really do have to ask yourself a serious question: ‘Would I like to meet this person?’ If the answer is: ‘Yes,’ then you may step onto the bridge. But if the answer is: ‘No.’ Then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what you’re really doing.
Purely online relationships that continue over a (sometimes) long period of time where neither party have any intention of meeting – tend to bubble over into the ‘unhealthy’ range. Unless you have a good reason for not meeting (like for instance you can’t travel) then you really should be making the effort. Why? Because even an online relationship needs to go somewhere.
Online relationships can be like hungry fishes that require fish food, so feed your fishes.
So you’re at the bridge and you’re looking along it and it looks a little unsafe maybe even swaying a little, questions are flooding your mind like:
How did I get here?
Do I really have to do this?
What if the bridge gives way?
What if I fall from the bridge?
What if they change their mind and don’t want to meet me?
What if meeting this person feels awkward?
At this point you really do have to say to yourself: ‘These are just insecurities and I know that a real experience will result in a positive outcome. So there’s no good reason not to do this.’ You’ve gone over the checklist in your mind and you know the persons exists and is not a bot, because they’re 5050 V (5050 Verified) and you’ve viewed their vlog. You’ve also:
1/ Established a first name basis.
2/ Established where each other are from.
3/ Established what each other does for work.
4/ Established common interests or the things that interest you.
5/ And very importantly, established that you’re dealing with a real human (and not a bot) by dealing only with 5050 V people. (5050 V is 5050 Verified at 5050 Cafe Friends which means a vlog has been uploaded to verify a person’s identity).
Then it’s time to broach the subject, by messaging something like:
‘I’ve enjoyed our conversation so far and would like to continue the conversation by sending you a coffee invite and meeting up for coffee, would that be ok?’
If the reply comes back in the affirmative. You’re on your way to taking your online friendship to the next level by continuing it over coffee in the real world.
Right Place, Right Time, Right Circumstance
They’ve said: ‘Yes,’ so congratulate yourself and take another step on the bridge. You’ve risked rejection to take your online friendship to the ‘next level.’
They’ve also given you an idea of when, where and what and although the process has taken a little longer than you thought it would, you’re starting to feel that you’re going about making a new friend the right way, but now you’re faced with, ok, so, who invites who? And who pays for what? And where do we meet? Even though you’ve told yourself: ‘Let’s do this.’ How do you actually do it?
The beauty of 5050 Cafe Friends is that they take the agony out of the situation by handling it all on the website. All you have to do is choose ‘A Cafe Near You’ and you’re on your to making a new friend. So take the plunge (no, don’t dive off the bridge), simply send a 5050 Coffee invite.
The 5050 Coffee Invite
A stressless, no fuss way of meeting with your online friends? Impossible. At 5050 Cafe Friends they’ve taken care of the situation by creating an invitation for 5050 Coffee. All you have to do is tap on the coffee cup icon, choose a cafe in your general vicinity, select the day, date and time and hit ‘send.’
The person/s receiving the invite will be able to accept, decline or bring a friend. The ‘bring a friend’ option is only available for people who identify as female when they register though. This option is designed to reduce anxiety (for females) about meeting someone new for the first time, so they can feel more comfortable with the situation. The person who has invited you, is then notified that the ‘bring a friend’ option is a condition of meeting.
Everyone however, must agree to the 5050 Protocol when registering. The 5050 Protocol is about going 50/50 or Dutch by paying for your own cup of coffee. This is a very simple thing, but a great way of making a new way of meeting people affordable and safe. This way everyone knows where they stand and a level playing field is created where no person need feel obligated in any way to the other.
Which means, if you’re under no obligation because you’ve paid for your own coffee or preferably non-alcoholic beverage you can leave when you want.
When everyone agrees with the 5050 Protocol it changes attitudes and behaviours and makes equality a reality. It makes equality a reality by affording all parties the same rights and privileges.
Then all party’s are meeting because they share some of the same interests or they’re simply interested in each other. They’ve established an online friendship and now want to take that step onto the bridge.
The days of anyone having to feel obligated to anyone because they have made the conscious decision to meet them or because someone paid for a cup of coffee are hopefully well and truly behind us.
Let’s assume that the online friend in question has accepted your 5050 Coffee invite. By now, you can see the end of the bridge and it looks like you’re going to make a safe crossing. The last few steps will be the ‘actual meeting’ in the destination agreed to.
So what are cafe friends, exactly? Cafe friends are simply the people you have invited for 5050 Coffee who you’ll be meeting up with in a particular cafe. A cafe or coffee shop is a great place to meet to continue the conversation you enjoyed online and to get to know a friend (or friends) better.
Cafes provide the perfect space and ambience in which to converse and socialise. Being able to hang out with a friend/s in a place that’s not going to cost an arm and a leg is an attractive option.
Many cafes aren’t restricted by opening hours either. You can virtually turn up when it’s convenient for you and enjoy a barista made coffee or (preferably) non-alcoholic beverage of your choice.
Just remember to enjoy the freedom provided by the 5050 Protocol by paying for yourself. And when you think about it, it shouldn’t really matter who invites who. The only thing that should really matter is that everyone is meeting because they want to.
So you’re in the situation and your online friend turns up and on time. They follow suit and pay for their own coffee/non-alcoholic beverage. The conversation begins almost where it left off online. There’s no tension, there’s no stress and you both have established what you have in common and the conversation is flowing freely.
You’re even starting to discover that you have many more shared experiences and things in common than you first realised which will help forge a deeper bond between you. You crossed the bridge and got to the other side, safely.
With the help of 5050 Cafe Friends you’ve just turned your online friend into a cafe friend who may even become a real life friend.
You now know how to find friends online and convert them into cafe friends which could lead to forming a life long friend. You’ve discovered a new way of meeting people!