Need New Pals? You Need Pal! The New App For Making Friends
Did you wake up in the new year and think dammit, I have no friends except the ones who live inside my computer/phone/tablet/other screen-based thing so I should really stop being such a billy-no-mates-anti-social-hermit who spends the entire day checking how many likes I got on my latest selfie and get out of the house and talk to people in real life instead?
No? Okay, this post isn’t for you then and you are welcome to leave.
The rest of you though, here’s a new app you might be interested in. It’s called Pal and – guess what – it’s where you can find some new pals.
Pal asked me to review their app and, as I moved to Folkestone a few months ago and am a billy-no-mates-anti-social-hermit, I thought I’d give it a go and see if there was anyone to go cycling or walking with.
Creating a profile is simple enough – you register with your email address and give details such as your date of birth, location, occupation and interests. There are plenty of categories of interests to choose from and in each category are sub-categories. I picked the sport category and sub-categories of cycling, gym, mountain bike, running and walking (although I can’t think of anything worse than having a gym buddy. I don’t want to talk to anyone when I’m at the gym and I want to shoot people who talk in the gym unless they’re crying out for help because they’re trapped in the abs machine or something) but you can choose other categories such as food/shopping/music/cinema/travel, etc.
The app also asks you your gender but only gives the option of male and female which will undoubtedly annoy people who identify as neither, then the app will further annoy them by asking if they’re straight or gay.
Then you’re asked to write a bit about yourself and I put in I’m new to Folkestone and would like some cycling/walking buddies (I left out the billy-no-mates-anti-social-hermit bit).
The last bit to tell the app before you can start having a nose is to tell it what language you speak and who you’ll allow it to find you – women/men/couples/groups.
That’s your profile done, so then you press ‘Go’ and off you go and find some friends to hang out with.
You can search for any activity you fancy doing or leave it at the default of ‘all’ and just see who’s up to what. I left my search on ‘all’ but asked it to find me things within 10km of Folkestone. You can also tell it what time of day you want to do something, set a budget and a skill level of beginner, advanced or professional (professional drinking? I’m up for that!) and also narrow down the type of person with regard to gender/identity/age/location/common interests and languages.
I clicked ‘Go’ and looked to see who my new local friends were but there was no one. Ah, still poor old billy-no-mates-anti-social-hermit. Still, Folkestone is a small town and this is a new app so I cast my net wider and got the profile* of Mo, 36, in Canterbury who liked shopping and extreme sports.
As I’m not into extreme shopping, I changed my interests to cycling and got Gilbert in Sevenoaks but Sevenoaks is a bit far away so I changed the age range to 35-60, added walking and got Richard, 42, in Eastbourne whose profile said he wanted to hang out for coffee, hiking, watersports and watching live bands.
Hmm, so, although there were people in the same county as me, no one had planned any activities, which is what I was looking for. They must all be hiding in London, I reckoned, so I changed my location to London, changed the activities to ‘all’, specified an age range of 25-50 and Melvin, 36, popped up with a cinema trip planned for 12 January. He didn’t say what film he wanted to see though so, if you fancy going to the cinema on 12 January and need someone to go with, Melvin’s your man.
I played around with it a bit more but couldn’t find any more activities, not even in London. You can of course add your own activity to the app and hope people find you and come along.
Pal is in its infancy but when more people join the app and start using it to its full potential, I can see it will be a great way to make new local friends with similar interests or find people to hang out with if you’re away from home for a few days and at a loose end.
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*names and ages have been changed.