In 1967 the Beatles had us all swaying in one another’s arms GRINNING ear to ear ‘Ooooh, I get by with a little help from my friends Mmmmmmmm, I get high with a little help from my friends Mmmmmmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends’. To this day Tam Al-Saad is reinforcing that song with his growing friends site Foura. In our climate of digital socialness that sees a whopping 1 in 5 millennials feeling like they have no close friends to get by, get high, go try things with, loneliness becomes an epidemic in itself. It can be intimidating to go and try to build a new social connection, but Foura is uniting Aussies over their values, hobbies and interests rather than who can down the quickest pint.
Having the right friends can make us better people. Friends motivate us and support us to do ambitious things in life. They are our cheerleaders, our confidants, our inspirers. They give us a safe place to view the world from different perspectives and adults who maintain a close relationship with their friends are less likely to suffer from depression, high blood pressure and more likely to live a much longer and fulfilling life. Tam told The Jolly Times,
“I’ve been hosting a monthly Social Club for 11 years. I pick a different pub every Thursday. I invite pretty much everyone I know to come along, and then encourage them to bring other people. So the whole point is you catch up with people at least once a month, but you also meet new people. Everybody combined to have a good time and it was a good way for me to explore Sydney, that’s how I ended up making so many friends here in the end. That was just the best day of the month. So much fun.”
Tam at heart is a beaming social butterfly. When his parents immigrated to the UK from Bulgaria when he was 3 years old, he had no problems making a solid best friend to settle in with at school. They were such great best friends that the BBC did a documentary on the two when they were 10 years old on what it means to be the best of friends.
“I kind of never really thought anything of it until I got my name in the papers here (Australia) for Foura and then was like, I’ve been in the papers twice and it’s always been about friendship, and now it always will be hopefully.”
Secondary school lagged on with a more lonesome experience. 3 best friends, some bullies and a lot of overly relatable emo music later when college came, Tam rediscovered his flare for connection and created a thriving environment that has grown to be famous.
On Foura, you get to match with people who have true intentions of connecting with you based on shared values and hobbies so immediately you have common ground to build from.
The luxurious ease is what’s so appealing to users as the whole meet up from the moment you confirm is completely a surprise. The location is picked by Foura based on your drink, hobby and music preferences along with three other eager beavers ready to chat the night away.
At 7000 members strong Foura is rebranding Sydney from being notoriously cold shouldered to social, accepting and fun. Timeout released an article in 2022 that ranked Sydney the third hardest place to make new friends in the world, a perfect challenge for one of the friendliest guys in the world. Foura has now branched out to Melbourne and set to soon launch in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Perhaps Canberra as well to eventually add some spruce on that side of town. In the residue of one of our countries loneliest times, sprouts one of the most wonderful enterprises.
“I’ve heard of people who have ended up travelling together. A guy who said he’d always wanted to get into freediving for ages, met someone through a Foura event who was into freediving. He introduced them to the sport and they spend every weekend together now which is amazing.
One guy said he’d made a best friend for life off the first hang out he went to and ended up introducing his new friend to a romantic partner.
But what I found really fascinating is that there are people who write to us and thank us even when they don’t necessarily click with people that they’ve met. And ultimately, what they’re telling us is that they’ve really loved the experience of trying just the experience of meeting new people, I think particularly if you’re in a lonely mindset, or coming out of COVID, all isolated for so long. Just the opportunity to go out and have a conversation with new people is fun. It’s different.”
Different and not to mention confidence boosting to hell. One member has been to almost 20 events and claimed attending has brought her confidence up so high that she now feels comfortable to walk up to a group of strangers and start a conversation. She’s made countless friends since joining and continues to connect people she’s met outside of the framework. The social impact this is having on a generation that got a bit too ok with being inside is monumentous for mental health and vitality.
The 2022 People’s choice award winner says that he makes sure to meet up with friends at least once a week even more so now that his business is getting more intense as they help to slow the clock down a bit, and allow space to unwind and rest. Tam explains;
“When you think about it, it makes sense. We evolved as social creatures, we couldn’t have evolved as individuals. We needed society and there’s the old phrase of ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. We’ve had each other’s backs for 1000s, millions of years, and now, we are moving towards a world where things are a lot more individual. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I think the speed at which we’re moving is worrying for me. And these cracks are starting to show in terms of people’s mental health and what they’re doing. Going for a coffee with a mate every week is huge.”
More and more people living in Australia are about to have access to Foura as they expand to almost all major cities in the next few months. We’ll be met with a new jazzed up experience of the website that should make meeting up with a new bunch of mates a cool breeze on a summer’s day. Sign up is free and the world is your oyster. New experiences open up the world to us and this one is FREE. An hour for the tv could be an hour for a new pal if you’ve not been out in a while. A fantastic way to network or get out of the house if nothing else. Together, we thrive.