Shall I or shan’t I? I’d come across Friends First some 12 years ago when I was first sent some literature. At that time I was happily married and kept the information in case it would be helpful to a parishioner. When my husband died nearly 5 years ago I thought I would be fine; still working in a lovely parish where I feel loved and cared for, I thought about eventually retiring somewhere where I could find a similar situation without responsibility. I have been alright but, as retirement comes closer, I’m starting to feel more alone and wondering whether it would be nice to have someone to share my retirement with. I did approach Friends First a couple of years ago but chickened out during the first telephone conversation. Having chatted with my daughter over the summer, I started to think again whether I should do something – just see if there’s someone out there who would be a soul mate in my retirement years. One day I filled in the form on line and when Ella phoned she was so lovely and it felt as if she understood how I felt. I agreed to give her my credit card details and set the ball in motion. She said that I would receive my first profiles at the beginning of September and asked if I was excited about that. ‘Certainly not’, I said, ‘I’m absolutely terrified’ .I’ve now sorted out a couple of photos and Ella has put my profile together and I have days when I think, ‘I shouldn’t have done this’ and days when I am nervously anticipating things to start happening.
“The difference in the people you have is amazing. It’s a lovely class of people on your books. They are all so caring, loving people.
‘’Your brochure is fantastic.’’
“Many thanks for your help and encouragement in joining me as a life-time member of friendsfirst”
“You guys run a really excellent service. You do a very very good job”
“I think what you at FF are trying to do in the way you bring people together is first class”
“I was touched by Keith’s testimony and the way God has used your site to bring him and his wife together, hence my decision to join your site”
“I have been very grateful for the time I have been with friendsfirst and for all the profiles I’ve received.”
Many thanks for sending feedback testimonies. Please may I request not to receive further testimonies because I believed in your organisation after your wonderful talk at the Temple of Praise….besides I’m not divorced or cynical :-). With an uplifted heart and a bounce in my step I’m very interested in how to become a member. Blessings
Your marketing is absolutely superb, second to none, you do urge members to treat each other with respect.
“I find your emails really useful and informative – thank you.”
Dear Katharine, Thank you for your e-mail. I watched the recording of the BBC4 programme. It was a beautiful, lovely story, – inspiring and encouraging.
“Your brochure is absolutely brilliant and I was very impressed with what you have done.”
“I’ve been finding membership of friendsfirst a really positive experience. I will be recommending you to all my Christian friends.”
“I go to HTB and heard about you there and also have heard really good things about you at dinner parties in London. I really like the fact you do things so differently.”
Thank you for all your replies, your professionalism, care and thoughts. They are greatly appreciated.
I read carefully through all the feedback gave to you by the people using your services and I am impressed by their positivity. I know now that nice people like you are there to help single people to find friends and potential partners.
I would have been sceptical about joining you if it was a generic online dating site like Plenty of Fish or Match.com. I joined as I was looking to meet only genuine Christians. I liked Friends 1st as my details weren’t online for everyone to see. I’m 42, never been married and I was stuck in a rut of going to work and back home again. Everyone I socialise with is married and I needed some way to put myself out there so I could meet new people for friendship and a possible partner. I really like the the Christian basis of your organisation as, having come to Christianity as an adult, I knew that having a secular partner like I had in the past, would not work. I’ve really appreciated your enthusiastic staff who are very approachable. I’m feeling very glad that I have been proactive about doing something for my personal life. My elder sister is married with children and I see how happy she is with her husband and I want someone to come home to after work too. Someone to share holidays with, watch films with. I don’t think humans are made for being alone forever. We thrive when we interact with others. We have a few single adults in my church so I will mention friends1st to them as I know it’s easy to leave things as they are but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. It makes life more exciting.
“Dear Katharine Just to say many thanks for this and for meeting last night. It was really great to see you and your proactive encouragement is really much appreciated. It makes such a difference to have someone “rooting” for me in an area of my life which I find tricky.”
“I’ve got better at contacting people and am now in touch with lots of women.”
“I think it’s a wonderful thing you are doing. Everybody needs somebody in this life. It’s a truly lovely thing to do. Many congratulations for doing it.”
“I’ve just come back from your summer holiday in the Isle of Wight. It was such a beautiful place with beautiful views, and the activities they laid on were really excellent.”
“A word of appreciation here. I really do not know if I am suitable material for the rest of your clientele. However I am grateful for the hope which membership brings me. Joining feels right.”
“I had a fantastic time with a very interesting group of people, it couldn’t have been better. My room was absolutely wonderful overlooking the water. I plan to have a reunion at my home to encourage everyone to stay in touch. Geraldine and Andrew were fantastic.”
‘’I’m just going to enjoy this, make the most of it and laugh.’’
Robert married in 2009 – whilst he hadn’t met his wife through friendsfirst, his membership had given him more confidence in relationships. He said it was the best thing he did!
“I am so impressed with your website. I think it’s absolutely amazing. I love the success stories – the way they are written is brilliant”
“I thank God for you. God has put this into your heart to give people a second chance at happiness and to find joy. I thank God for those people who’ve received this joy from you. “
“You seem to be unlike all the internet sites which put the fear of god into me”
“Dear Katherine, a testimonial, thought it was a touch soon , but here we go. I was very sceptical about joining , as one hears so much about the goings on and the reasons why people join , and so often it’s just away for people to meet for a one night stand. My wife had obviously contacted you before we came together, and she was level headed and a lovely lady, and I could not see her getting involved in something sordid. You sent mail to Christine which I opened then phoned you to let you know she went home, I spoke to a lass called Trish , she encouraged me to think about it and would send a brochure, which she did. At present there seems to be a lot of paper to read and understand, with all these offers and add ons , and as yet I have just sent a profile, so I seem to be inundated with paper etc which I’m sure will sort itself out. At the same time am trying to understand computer/pad. I get a sense of bewilderment/bafflement yet as things develop will seem to become easier. How do I feel now that I’ve started the journey? Apprehensive, I know I’ll be needing help from time to time, quite looking forward to the year ahead. Thank you so much.
Thank you for sending my finding someone special pack. I am very grateful for all of the help you and your staff have given me
“I didn’t realise how many women you’ve got – wow I see what you meant by giving me lots of choice.”
“The quality of your communications shows me that you have something that is worth selling.”
“I’ve spoken to so many tremendously lovely people on your books”
I wasn’t sure about joining ,it has taken a long time, have been a member of another dating site, on line , not great, no support etc, I’m not very good on computers, so never had much success’s joined friends 1st, because I have spoken to Katharine quite often, and met her in London, she is very passionate about friends 1st ,I can tell, and I feel she’s genuine about bringing people together, have also spoken to other ladies in your office, all have been helpful and I felt at ease with. You have been sending me e mails on nearly a daily basis, which has kept my interest , I always new i would join, sooner or later, but you didn’t. I’ve only just joined so its early days, just a few hours after joining i have already spoken to 3/4 of your staff all who have rang me to wish me well or ask if they can help. I’ve booked my photo shoot for next Monday, easy just like you said, really looking forward to that, any photo s I’ve got of me make me look like a convict. I’ve also just received my welcome folder huge, just started reading, very interesting, so all in all very happy with everything so far, all very professional, I’m looking forward to my membership. I do belong to a social group and there are a few people i will talk to about friends 1st , after I’ve been a member a while.
Overall my friendsfirst experience has been useful. I learnt quite a lot about myself. I have now met someone through other circles, and that relationship is developing. Thank you for your service.
“Many thanks for the 7 Deadly Sins! I wish I had read them 35 years ago! A lot of them are so obvious but I was rather lacking in confidence and didn’t go sufficiently for being ‘warm’. I tended to sum people up too soon. Also being tall I would walk into a room and check out the heights, depressing! I think I have got over that, hope so anyway.”
Thx a lot Katharine for your encouraging words! I’d love to go back to & spend at least a couple of nights in Exeter! One of my cousins married a Devonian girl from Exeter! All strength to you for all of your good efforts to bring folk together!
“ Katharine your marketing has definitely worked. Each time I get something from you I think am I going to miss out? You have got the marketing absolutely right I would not be buying it if I hadn’t had all your emails!”
“Your newsletters and links are a great support and interesting and I pass any interesting items on to our church groups and I know a couple of people who have benefited and joined.”
‘Thank you for sending me a copy of the ‘Top Tips for making new friends and enjoying successful dating’. I appreciated the prompt response to my request for this book! I feel sure I shall find the book most useful. Although it is early days in my membership, I feel that I have joined a really caring organisation. Thank you again.’
“I have such a good feeling about friends first!”
“I am very encouraged on receiving my first profiles mailing and want to thank you for being so efficient and prompt in setting up my membership. I think that the introductory video on your website proves how much you are on the right lines as far as I am concerned. Because I have moved so many times, I have a large circle of friends, including “single” men but who are scattered across the country. My aim in joining “Friends First” was in the hopes of finding a special person who lived nearer and able to share my on-going life. So, in making my first selection I have concentrated on gentlemen who live near enough for us to be able to meet more regularly. I shall begin that process with confidence, so thank you again. With all good wishes
I was sceptical about joining a dating agency because, there is a fear that you will meet a complete stranger or someone you might not like. All sorts of reservations such as the person having deeper issues of life that they either refuse to get help for or they actually just ruin your hopes to be candid.
“I have been glad to meet a range of people – and have been shown respect, integrity and honesty by them all.”
“friendsfirst is a wonderful organisation, thank you for giving me the opportunity to join”
Within a few days of my joining friendsfirst I was delighted to receive my first batch of profiles, a total of 47 in number. I enjoyed sitting down and methodically reading through them and noticed several ladies lived within reach of my home address. In virtually every case there was one or more photographs of the lady concerned which is so important because it gives the recipient an “all round picture” of the person confirmed. Furthermore the profiles themselves not only detailed the person interests but further information was included which enabled one to have a good insight into their personality. Most agencies only concentrate on the former. I have made contact with your office on two occasions and found your staff helpful and friendly. It was obvious that members interests were at heart. It is also good that you offer so much friendly advice whether it be verbal or in writing and any question anyone wants to ask or any assurances answered. Few organisations are so caring and supportive. There is so much information on how to make ones membership so successful with many tips and useful hints. I would imagine therefore, several members find a suitable partner reasonably quickly.
“Thank you again for the opportunities you offer Christians”
“Thank you so much for your lovely Christmas blessing, May you both be blessed this Christmas in the work you both do, providing a service much needed for committed Christians. May 2009 bring many new clients. Also keep us in Gods will always.“
“friendsfirst appears to be very professional and friendly, I’m very much looking forward to beginning my membership and resuming a positive social life.”
“Hi Jackie Thanks for sending me the beautiful brochure for friends first. It is very inspiring and eye catching. I like the way that it feels you are opening up a present taking the wrapping off till you get to the actual gift
Inspired by the quality and encouragement of your excellent organisation. Thank you again and God Bless.
I must say my recent-date with Joanne Barnes on Monday 17th-Dec , attending your event on Saturday 15th-December, my first-date with Joanne Barnes on Wednesday-14th-November-2012 and attending your event in Stratford-Upon-Avon on Thursday-20th-September-2012 WERE MY MOST-ROMANTIC-EVENTS N DATES HERE IN 2012 SO FAR
“I like all the information on the guidelines sheet. I know it is all really common sense, but good to have it pointed out and the importance of not waiting for someone to contact me. After all, you only get out of life what you put in! I am looking forward to receiving my first set of profiles and hope to make some new friends.”
“I am writing to someone in Cornwall the old fashioned way and it’s really quite nice.”
“I can see you’ve changed from being Ryan Air to British Airways”
“web site looks good, you do a personal service, someone to talk to which Christian Connect doesn’t do. Ive been with them before. I think Friends 1st has gone up a gear or two with the re-launch, well done to you all.
Joining you and going out with Peter was a great experience. Sadly it didn’t work out so I am ringing to rejoin again.
“I was a member a few years back. I have no doubt that it is one of the best Agencies”
“You have wisdom born of experience”
I have tried a couple of internet based networks but have found them either a complete waste of time, or a complete con I always thought friendsfirst was run in a really good way and I would definitely consider rejoining if it was open to people in my position – ie people living abroad.
Hi Katharine, I’m delighted to reply to you with my observations and experiences so far.I have been on a dating web site for the last 6 months and when my membership expired last month I was pleased as, on the whole, I had been disappointed. Having been single for many years, now retired and a grandparent, it was a difficult decision to contemplate going out of my comfort zone to try to meet a potential partner. I wavered between feeling foolish even imagining I might meet someone and a deep longing to share my life with someone special. Although my daughter encouraged me to join a web site, I couldn’t really discuss fully my hopes and fears with her. I wish I had known about your agency then. However I chose a website called Christian and single as that seemed to sum me up and I presumed that I stood a fair chance of meeting someone of a similar persuasion. That wasn’t to be the case, in fact I only came across one guy who was spiritual. I found out that the web site is one of many owned by a parent company and that information is passed from one site to another. I know this as fact because I met another guy that way and, in conversation, realised we were from different web sites. As it happened we got on very well and met several times until we agreed to go our separate ways. however there were a large number of contacts I made where as soon as the other party read my profile which made it clear that I am a Christian, they broke off contact. So perhaps they too were from a different web site. The other feature of the web site that I was on is that it is alleged by its critics that they make up false profiles to whet your appetite. I have found that since my membership expired I have been inundated by a number of apparent contacts who exactly fit my ideal partner profile. I might be cynical, but….So, it is very refreshing and reassuring to be in touch with yourselves. I do feel that I am being processed ( for want of a better word) as an individual. I have spoken to a member of your team on two occasions, once before I had made up my mind to join (Jake I think). On both occasions I was listened to and my questions answered. I came across you on Google, and really liked everything I read. It came across as sincere and potentially exactly what I was looking for. The subsequent reading material you provide is helpful and relevant. There is a clear Christian ethos in the way you conduct your agency, from my perspective. I like that you require ID, seems obvious so why don’t others do it, and I like the extras that you offer. If I could afford them I would take them up. My experience to date has been positive to the extent that I look forward to the next part of the journey when my profile is completed. Thanks for the opportunity to give feedback, that’s another first! Kind regards,
“I can see what you are doing is very valuable.”
“You’re sending me some great profiles – it’s keeping me really busy.”
“I’ve really enjoyed reading all your emails – they really are good”
‘I felt that the Brochure was like faces unfolding and I was very encouraged by the spirit behind it all. I found it inspirational and was thinking about it for days after.’
“It’s a wonderful selection of profiles this month – thank you”
“You have so many extra things that I haven’t seen on other sites. You are very supportive.”
Hello Katharine, Thank you for your email with the Profile attachment and for a greater explanation of how the sending of Profiles works. I am grateful to you for this. I am certainly open to friendships with those of other Christian denominations. I was brought up in the Baptist church. The reason I raised my question re the 2 gentleman who were Roman Catholics was not so much that they were Roman Catholics but rather that one made it clear he was looking for someone who had “a strong Catholic faith” and the other that he was a “daily communicant”. As the official line of the Roman Catholic church is not in favour of Women being in the ordained ministry and that is clearly my calling I felt that from the beginning these were a mismatch. With your reply and explanation I feel happier now about my membership after the initial shaky start and look forward to further dealings with the Team. Kind regards
“I’m not going to renew my membership this year due to financial/work commitments but please thank everyone for their time – I have very much enjoyed myself with your club.”
“I feel the more people you have contact with the greater the chances are of meeting the right person”
“Dear Katharine, Many thanks for your lovely Christmas card and the good wishes and prayers expressed therein. As it is still actually Boxing Day (am taking a small break from the family festivities to catch up with people), may I wish you and your husband, also all the staff at friendsfirst, a very happy Christmas and a blessed New Year.Thank you for all you do for your clients, especially the personal care and concern. The articles you send are extremely helpful and contain a great deal of wisdom. I truly appreciate being a permanent member, although naturally hope it won’t need to be for too much longer! Every good wish,”
“I’ve never done anything like this before. I really like how everything is set out on your website and brochure – it’s very encouraging, I’m really looking forward to joining.”
I was worried about online dating, so discovering you in the “Inspire” Magazine while doing some church cleaning was intriguing, you saying that I could be “offline” in the process. My identity is of importance to me, and I have a job that is known to attract deliberate unwanted bother at times from those we attempt to serve. Since the turn of the new year, I sensed that God was asking me to “let in the sun” and stop hiding. At the same time, I was feeling quite miserable as I have moved three years ago and not found many friends my age, at least not on a deeper level. It seemed that others do not need my friendship and love to the extent I need theirs- they appear to have their friends and loves already. Oh, and the biological clock.I have been wrestling with the paradox that I don’t want an “Ishmael” instead of waiting for the “Isaac”, and I cannot even be sure that God’s will is that I remarry, though I hope so. As I have matured in faith, I realise that God wants people who have “come alive” and God has told me to take time to be beautiful as that glorifies Him. I think it is truer that God moves and opens and closes doors as we move and seek, and yet there is a responsibility to listen and obey as we move along. Well-meaning people in the church family can have quite a lot to say about “waiting for the Lord to act”, and that feels quite intimidating as I step out. But I think about how Esther had a spa season, and how Abraham’s servant came up with a strategy and the Lord worked with him as he went. I feel happier now I have started with you on this adventure. I do not have big sisters and I welcome your chaperoning, as it were, and your ear that will be available. I also feel that you have covered me in prayer from day one. Even though we have not spoken yet. Thank you. Your advert in Inspire caught my attention, and your website details, easy to follow, and being audio-visual as well as written. Convincing in its honesty and I think other people’s testimonials were probably key.
“It has been a great joy to see your organisation grow from its very small beginnings into the successful venture it is today, and I am happy to have played a small part in that.”
“As I read all the information on your website the intensity of my emotions of loneliness lessoned. I felt the Lord say there is something very positive here.”
“Thank you for being so gentle and understanding.”
“Congratulations on building what is obviously a most successful business. That Friends1st has succeeded is no doubt due to your own initiative, skill and dedication, and that of your team. You’ve done a great deal to help people over the years, as endorsed by the excellent testimonials both from members and prominent members of the Christian community. Regarding my own membership, you’ve dealt with everything in a most efficient way, providing a good number of profiles, and other useful information, including your newsletter.”
Dear friendsfirst, Just a foot note would you please send me new profile when done ,I hope it will be ready to send out for the next batch of profiles going out. I’m really excited about it also do you have any members to match me in the Hastings area I just seem to be drawn there at the moment ,a couple of people have bought it up lately .You never know do you, hope this doesn’t put you under pressure you are such a lovely lot pure gold.Yours faithfully,
I listened with interest to Sunday and heard Katharine speaking about Friends First I thought you came over very well and it gave you some quality advertising! Well done.!!! Many thanks for explaining all about friendsfirst on the phone – it did reassure me that you are a sage and trustworthy organisation. I was impressed by your website as well as the professional standard of your brochure.
“I must say I have met some very nice girls through friendsfirst , and feel that your organisation is very good. I have had a lot of contacts – say 20 or so in 3 months”
“Hi Katharine and team, just a short testimony from me. I found your website by accident, a new resident in the surrey area with all the challenges as a single woman. Although i am not a member, your testonies gave me new insights which have enriched my life. It made me realize that there are 100s of people where I live with questions about single life, that anything is possible in relationships and that there is a good God who is very much interested in meeting our needs. Before I was a bit desperate about my life situation, but your website has inspired me to rethink my own situation, I am now more happier and content and enjoying my life. I am a single psychiatrist, solving other peoples single issues all day, but reading through your testomonies, I have a new perspective on my own difficulties as a single woman and GODS way of bringing potencial soulmates together. I appreciate all the success stories, it gave me fresh apprecaition on GODS way of working in our lives, I have a new zest for life and feel inspired and less troubled. Thank you blessings.”
We had a really good week at Beechwood Court – 24 of us in all, 8 men, 16 ladies, and the group ‘gelled’ very well – lots of laughter, fun and fellowship. It was my first visit to Conwy and I hope to go again, even though I suspect that I was almost the oldest there! Helen and Chris looked after us really well –
“I know how time consuming it is and how much commitment you need to run an organisation like yours, so all credit to you! I hope that my points didn’t come across as dismissive of all that you are doing, which is fabulous. I personally think that you do a wonderful job and have surely brought together many lonely people who otherwise might never have found someone compatible to share their lives with. That counts for a lot!”
I think that what you are doing is brilliant
I’ve just watched you on TV. The programme was definitely worth watching.
“Everyone I have met has been really genuine and really nice”
‘I learned about you from the television programme this week and thought that your service was just what I needed in my life at the moment .’
Many thanks for the booklet. I thought it was very well composed. Thank you.
“Thank you also for giving me (and I’m sure many others) true hope in finding the right person.”
“It’s just lovely to talk to someone and I really appreciate that. I loved the humour in your Top Tips book. It appeals to me very very much. I’ve tried online Christian dating sites but found it so so cold.”
Hi Katharine. I found out about friends first from my mum. She told me about the whole thing,,about how it’s offline and you can get both friends and partners etc. I joined because nothing in the past had quite worked. I joined a site called Christianmingle and, even though I got in tough with a few people, nothing ultimately came from it. I’d had a look at the site before hand and had a talk on the phone with the management there and they seemed lovely, so I thought even though it’s on the expensive side, I thought I’d try it. Even after a matter of days subscribed, I’m impressed by how dedicated they are. I’ve received things through the post and phone calls and reassurance. I’m really excited about doing this. I love meeting new people. Hopefully I can find a partner through this process and I’m enjoying it already.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience with you. I’ve realised how secure friendsfirst is and I’ve had a great time so far.”
“I’m absolutely delighted with this (friendsfirst) – we have nothing like this in Ireland.”
“Please renew my membership. I remain glad to be a member of your organisation.”
“Your letters and care have touched me”
You made us in our hearts and minds feel we can find someone which you don’t get online
“I am seriously interested in your organisation as it seems to be entirely ethical, unlike other similar companies. I did dabble with Christian connection but it wasn’t a good experience. I felt there were lots of ungenuine people on there. I was contacted by one scammer and although the site did something about it, it unnerved me. When you can join a site like that on a free trial basis people have nothing to lose and it does therefore attract ungenuine people. Also I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t ever talk to anyone.”
“Dear Katharine, I want to thank you for your e mails and letters re friendsfirst.I have decided for the time being that my life is very full and interesting. I have a lot of friends in the work place and at home. I enjoy painting holidays, dance classes and singing in a choir. I have been single now for 10 years and am a much more confident person, so am happy to stop looking for another half as I feel complete in myself. You run a great organisation. Thank you again, Yours sincerely,
“Thank you for encouraging me to increase my age range. If I hadn’t done that we’d have never met”
7 Deadly Relationship SinsAre you faultless or do you commit any of the 7 deadly relationship sins?
“I’ve tried so many agencies but had no success at all. I’m going to rejoin you now because your service was much more personal.”
“Please find enclosed some letters with stamps and Box Numbers for forwarding to potential suitors. Thank you for a First Class and brilliant means by which us ‘singletons’ can connect […]
“You have all been very very helpful.”
“Thank you for your email Katharine it was kind of you to keep me informed. It is reassuring to know that you are concerned enough to contact us all about […]