Andrew Amorelli Tristan Cary Closefriends
closeFriends Co-Founders Andrew Amorelli (left) and Tristan Cary (right).

This is a First Look: It’s the first time any news outlet or blog has covered this startup. You can read more First Looks here. (We do this a lot.) 

How are you supposed to make new friends when you can’t even make eye contact with the person standing a foot in front of your face on the T? In a world where we’re always staring at our phones, working at all hours of the day and too invested in catching up on Netflix to go out, interacting with others is practically impossible.

Tristan Cary and Andrew Amorelli, Wentworth Students and co-founders of an upcoming social application closeFriends, are putting an end to our technologically induced bubbles. With their forthcoming app, you’ll be able to forge new friendships with people nearby who also share your interests.

It works this way: closeFriends will leverage your Facebook “likes,” matching you with people who’ve listed the same interests. As soon as you’re matched with another user – one who’s also geographically close to you – a videochat session is opened through the app.

This gives you the chance to chat as long as you want with your new pal about the shared passions you put down on your profile. And if you’ve really hit it off, you can Facebook friend them directly through closeFriends.

Finally a place solely to make friends

The concept for closeFriends came about when Cary noticed how hard it was to expand your social circles once you’re out of college. Even though there were different technologies dedicated to improving your love life, the friend zone was being neglected.

“You obviously have your dating applications and friend applications that are meant to connect with people you already know,” Cary started. “So I saw giant gaps between these two existing categories.”

“I looked at different avenues in the social space,” he continued. “There’s Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram – but all of those are focused on letting other people know what you’re up to. They’re also limited because they don’t let you meet anyone new.”

On the other hand, there’s a new dating app coming out every other week. While some of these technologies prove anecdotally successful at connecting two people – in one way or another – none of them account for people who want to keep things purely platonic.

“I’m older, so I have a lot of friends who’ve moved all across country,” Cary began. “And they are meeting people on Tinder, Grinder, OkCupid.”

“Something like OkCupid is great if you’re trying to find someone completely compatible with you, someone you can have a romantic relationship with,” he went on. “But there isn’t anything for finding someone you just want to hang out with, talk with, watch a game with.”

So if you’re searching for someone with whom you can shoot the shit about Monday Night Football – or with whom you can literally (not colloquially) Netflix and chill because you both love Narcos – closeFriends will be there for you.

“We want to be there for the people saying, ‘Hey, I’m looking for something platonic. I want to have a genuine conversation with someone new,’” said Cary.

Making social media truly social

The app is still being worked out and tested, but it’ll be launching on both iOS and Android in the spring. When closeFriends is readily available, though, the founders maintain they’ll be making a positive impact in the social media space. Mostly because their app is actually social.

“Tristan came up with idea, and I’ve been focused on figuring out how to make it,” Amorelli said. “But the more I work on it, the more I realize there are a lot of things that have made me disenchanted with all of the social media options out there.”

“There’s something wrong with them,” he concluded. “They don’t do what they say they’re supposed to do: Help people be social. “

Cary put it this way: “Social media has become detached status updates and a series of blanket ‘likes.’ It’s made people self-absorbed, not social. It’s not about connecting anyone.”

“We’re hoping to let people make meaningful connections and have real conversations,” Cary concluded. “We’re not about one-night stands or arbitrary status updates.”

Image via Tristan Cary.