A recent article in Maclean’s Magazine highlights the growing popularity of making friends online. While many people are well acquainted with the idea of online dating, the world of friendship sites remains a mystery. I did not know such sites existed, and they would have been helpful to me when I relocated across the country five years ago. That very situation is what prompted the founder of “Girlfriend Social” to create the site. Girlfriend Social is the largest female-only friendship site in the world, and was created in 2009 when its founder moved to a new city and found it difficult to make friends. Another popular site is “Mom Meet Mom”, where moms can make friendships based on a common ground (being a mom) but also on a variety of other factors such as hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. Launched in 2012, the website has grown to almost 30,000 members in the United States and expanded into Canada this summer.
While the stigma associated with online dating has decreased as more people take part (according to a recent eHarmony study, 35 percent of American couples who married between 2005 and 2012 met on the Internet) there is still arguably a stigma attached with finding friends online, as many of us still believe that friendship “just happens”. However, with more people finding out about such sites and using them, the stigma will likely be reduced over time, much as it was with online dating.