General and Group Friendships
Meetup offers ways for people to locate a group in their area, or start their own. The site boasts that over "2,000 groups get together in local communities each day." There is a wide variety of different groups available, such as:
- Business networking
- Movie groups
- Book clubs
- Stitching groups
- Sports meet ups
- Brunch and dinner groups
The site gets over six million visitors per month, and is free to join. Occasionally a group within Meetup may ask for a nominal fee ($10 and under) to help offset the setup cost, but that varies individually by group. Meetup is in 45,000 cities.
Companion Tree connects men and women looking for platonic friendships. Since they accept both sexes they stress that they are not a dating service. The site is named after the concept of a companion tree that is planted for the benefit of another tree. They use this idea to bring about the spirit of friendship, which is a source of strength and affection. Ten percent of their membership fees are donated to charity.
Yelp is a city guide with links to many popular cities throughout the United States, Canada, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and more. The site is user-driven, meaning people register and provide reviews and feedback on things like restaurants and businesses. Yelp also lists popular events going on each week, which makes it easy to plan out your time. The site provides a forum so you can chat with others, increasing the chance for an online friendship. Yelp also encourages members to invite their friends, and has an easy link that will send your friend a message asking them to join you on the site.
If you're a fitness buff, Active.com just might be the place for you. You can search lists for events and tips on all areas of sports (baseball, football, running, etc.), and connect with others either on the forums or at the event itself. You can also find other workout activities in your area, instructors, and even training plans.
Whether you walk for exercise or train for marathons, Daily Mile can connect you with friends or acquaintances you might know in the real world, or it can introduce you to new people through their community forums. Forums discuss routes, challenges, events, and more.
My Social Passport
My Social Passport (MSP) is a free site that allows you to search for and chat with people online that you're interested in learning more about. You can use it as a way to connect with people in other cities (such as when you're traveling or have moved), or can search for people near you or those interested in the same subjects (bands, hobbies, etc.) in order to find out more about them and eventually build an off-line friendship. To sign up, you provide your email and a city of residence at a minimum.
Life Knot encourages you to meet new friends, but also allows people to pursue romantic relationships. The thought behind this is that you can meet people in the relaxed environment of being friends first, then develop a romantic relationship if things progress in that direction. The site is geared toward singles but has a mix of individuals in varying stages of relationships. Members can post a profile, personal information, and photos. There is also a forum which allows you to interact with other members.