Mate Dates and More 

Sitting among some friends, sipping on some Friday night drinks a conversation starts up about the increasing number of decreasing friends that now gather. Most lost to relationships, others to kids or some are afflicted with the common late 20’s pre weekend fatigue.

So we are sitting reminiscing about the good old days of packed house parties and lamenting about our dwindling friendships when someone mentions Girl Crew (sorry guys).

Never heard of it? She explains, that it’s a Facebook page for making new friends. It acts like a forum where girls can go and ask for advice about everything from adult braces recommendations to information about what is happening near you.

How did it start? On tinder. Founder, Elva Carrie wanted someone to go to a gig with but all her friends had plans that night. So, she adjusted her Tinder profile explaining this. The responses came in, 100’s of them. All from girls who wanted the same thing as her, a mate date.

She moved the idea over to Facebook in 2014 where GirlCrew was born. The move allowed group interactions rather than the one-to-one limitations of Tinder. It also meant that non-singles could now join. Girl Crew is now in over 40 cities around the world and has over 20,000 members.

I talked to Pamela Newenham, Co-founder of GirlCrew to find out more.

What is the most positive story you have heard to come from GirlCrew?

There are so many, I’m not sure I could choose one. Women have got jobs through GirlCrew, got promoted, made new friends, learned new things, travelled to places they might not have gone to. Some women have met their boyfriends/fiancés on nights out with other GirlCrew members.

GirlCrew has helped ensure thousands of women are never bored on a Friday night. Furthermore, every member has an entire sisterhood to back them up and support them should they ever need help.

One story that I like, is that I had an elderly woman contact us, asking was she too old to join GirlCrew. She was in her late seventies. I told her there was no one else her age in the group, but she was still welcome to join. Then a few days later, another woman of the same age contacted us asking the same. I was able to introduce them both to each other.

Another time, one of our members discovered there was a woman homeless on the streets of Dublin. She started a campaign within GirlCrew to raise money for the woman and others in the same situation as her. They donated over €1,000 to the cause. The money was then donated to Focus Ireland and the Senior Citizens Fund.

GirlCrew has experienced firsthand how powerful a tool social media can be to companies. What have you learned about social media since Girl Crews creation?

Social media has made the web all about me, me, me. People are tweeting, instagramming and posting to Facebook everything from what they are eating, to what they are doing and where they are going. They are called social networks, but they are not very social. Everyone is stuck on their phone, or their laptop/tablet at home. GirlCrew is putting the social back into social networks. We get people out and about, meeting up. Whether it’s going for brunch or a hike, participating in a book club, or pottery class, we’re focused on events and encouraging people to meet in real life, as opposed to just chatting online.

There was a GirlCrew created for guys why do you think this didn’t catch on?

WingMan was the male version of GirlCrew. Lots of men said they loved the idea of GirlCrew and would like something similar. However, the same formula doesn’t work for guys. I also think women are less shy about striking up conversations with each other at events, or chatting online.

What do you think the future of GirlCrew is?

In the last 18 months, GirlCrew has grown from a handful of members to over 20,000 spanning 43 cities worldwide. We have groups across four continents in cities including Dublin, London, New York, Melbourne, Portland, Toronto, Brussels and Aberdeen. The next step will be to keep growing the groups, and to move from Facebook to our own app. We are currently entering the development stage for our app.

Have you faced any challenges personally?

Right now I face the challenge of effectively having two full-time jobs. My day job is as a technology journalist for The Irish Times. By night, I put a lot of time into running GirlCrew. Thankfully everyone in The Irish Times is supportive of GirlCrew. We host all our careers events – GirlCrew Pro – in the Irish Times building. My co-founders Elva and Aine are in the same boat. We all have full-time jobs, but then put huge amounts of time into GirlCrew. With so many groups worldwide, there is a lot to keep on top of.

In a recent campaign we did for Lily O’Briens women were asked: why don’t more women ask men out? What are your thoughts?

The tradition has always been for men to ask women out. Ireland as a country is quite traditional, and is slower to embrace certain ideas/innovations/concepts than other countries. However, the rise of dating apps such as Tinder have led to a lot more women asking men out. I think lots of women will contact the man before he contacts her on dating sites.

GirlCrew are hosting ‘The Very Special GirlCrew Christmas Party’ on the 28th of November. Tickets available on HereThis event is open to everyone. For more details visit their Facebook event page

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