Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat

Local family wants to bring friends together


October 26, 2018

Photo courtesy of Fawn Anderson

Allegra Anderson shows off some of the BeFriendlee.com merchandise she created.

Technology seems to have suppressed the ability for many of us to connect with our fellow human beings. Standing in line used to mean starting conversations with strangers and waiting for the bus gave us time to know our neighbors. Those opportunities to connect have been replaced with the all-too-common scene of 10 people waiting for the bus, with nine of them staring at their phones.

But what if our phones and computers could bring us back to finding friends and making those everyday, human connections a part of our lives again?

Enter BeFriendlee.com, the passion project of Fawn and Matt Anderson of Niwot. BeFriendlee.com’s mission is to bring friends together, and according to their website, “shift our culture back to connecting with our true friends in real life (not on social media).”

The Andersons first conceived of their platonic matchmaking service in 2009, when they were living on an island in the Pacific Northwest and struggling to make meaningful, warm friendships.

“Matt and I were walking along the beach, discussing how hard it seemed to make friends. And I told him it was like dating all over again,” Fawn said. “And that’s when the idea was born.”

“We always do this thing as a family,” said Matt, ”where we throw around random ideas, like, ‘What if we owned a restaurant? What would that look like or feel like?’ Then it evolved into ‘What would be the 10 questions you could ask someone to figure out if they could be your friend?’”

“Everything starts with questions,” said Fawn. “People loved to be interviewed, they love to talk about themselves, because everyone is special and they would like to express that.”

“Everyone has the most incredible story they can tell,“ added Matt. “You just have to ask the questions.”

Signing up for BeFriendlee.com is easy. The free service asks for some basic information and a profile, and then the fun starts. The Andersons created questions that help the algorithm match friends, and are entertaining to answer.

“People have lost the idea of what a friendship is,” said Fawn. “We noticed that when things get a little difficult, some people tend to take things a little personally and they’re not able to see beyond their own perspective what could be going on, and they walk away. We’d like to change the culture a bit, and remind people about the art of friendship. You can disagree and still be friends.”

The Andersons’ daughters, Elle, 10, and Allegra, 8, are a large part of the effort, brainstorming questions for the website and helping design merchandise that will be available in the near future.

“Right now, we’re sticking to Boulder, Niwot and Longmont until we know everything is working properly,” Matt said, but the Andersons’ goal is to eventually take it worldwide.

“We want to get away from social media, and we want people to be in person together,” said Fawn.

Matt added, ”It’s kind of a weird world where you have Facebook friends, but you don’t have friend friends anymore. I read an article that the more friends you have on Facebook, the lonelier you are. So, obviously there’s something unfulfilling about social media friendships.”

“It’s an epidemic—how lonely people are. We thought we’d probably get a lot of people (using the service) who are elderly, but the feedback we’ve been getting?... People 18 to 24. They email us and tell us, ‘I really need this’,” said Fawn.

Thanks to the Andersons’ brainchild, we can use a little technology to bring back the old-fashioned but nourishing notion of finding and spending time with some true friends. You can learn more at http://www.befriendlee.com.

Ed.note: As research, our reporter went through the whole process of signing up for a BeFriendlee.com account. She found it easy, and suggests you grab a nice cup of tea while you answer the question portion. It’s fun and it takes a while. At press time, she has not made a friend match, but the website is brand new.


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