The friendsfirst Service
The friendsfirst Service
Who is this service for?
friends1st is a dedicated service for single (single, divorced, separated, widowed) Christians of all ages who live in the UK.
Why is friendsfirst for Christians only?
friendsfirst was set up specifically for Christians who want to meet other Christians. Therefore membership is only open to people who hold the Christian faith. This ensures that when people meet each other, they know that they will share their faith in common. There are many other organisations where people can meet others who are not specifically Christian, but this organisation has Christianity at its core.
What do you mean by Christian?
We understand Christian to mean people who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and who generally associate themselves with mainline Christian denominations. It doesn't necessarily mean that you will be a regular church goer - in fact that is NOT one of our criteria. However you do have to have a Christian faith (as opposed to being someone who considers themselves to have Christan VALUES but wouldn't call themselves Christian - which to us is two completely different things!) If you go on a date and your date asks you to describe your faith, you would need to do this in terms of being a Christian. Do talk to us if you are not sure whether you 'qualify' or not.
How does the service work?
friends1st circulates members profiles to each other. Profiles are selected for each member based on the age criteria specified on each member’s application form (and our guidance that this should be at least 5 years either side of the members own age). We send you people who fit your age criteria as long as you also fit theirs! Therefore the wider your age criteria is, the more profiles you will receive. For example if you are a lady aged 45 and your profile specifies you want to meet a man aged between 35 and 60, we will send you details of all of the men aged between 35 and 60 who want to meet a 45 year old. We will not send you a 61 year old; nor a 40 year old man whose profile states that he only wants to meet woman aged between 30 and 40. We also try to select profiles of members who are geographically as close to you as possible. Where this is not possible we send you profiles of members living further afield. Maximising the choice of people you can meet is very important to us and therefore we do not select on a range of other criteria – e.g. marital status, smoking, interests etc. We firmly believe that these sort of criteria restrict your choice and may ‘cut out’ people who might be very compatible for you.
Why is friendsfirst an Award Winning Service?
When you begin your search for a soul mate, making a decision on which organisation to choose is a huge responsibility. It is a much easier choice if there is an option to go for an agency which has won awards for the service it offers. Friends1st has won such awards which is why we are proud to say we are an Award Winning Christian Dating Site.
By winning the award of Best Christian Dating site, we couldn’t be prouder and it gives you confidence that the service you are looking at is recognised publicly for their work.
Here are some of the reasons why we won the award:
- We are well established – although Heavenly partners is an extension of friends1st, it is run by the same people, using the same methods and using their wealth of experience. We come highly recommended by many churches
- We are well respected – based on our success with many members meeting, forming lasting friendships, relationships and marriages, many of our members hear about us through word of mouth.
- We are genuine – our team genuinely care about our members and working with them through the tough times and the celebrations to help people change their lives for the better.
The Wise Woman Award
Katharine had the pleasure of being nominated for the Business category in the 8th national Wise Woman Awards. She felt incredible privileged to be surrounded by many wonderful people including Angela Sarkis CBE and the truly lovely Doreen Lawrence (Stephen Lawrence’s mother).
You can read all about the evening Katharine won the prestigious Wise Woman Award here and watch her ‘adlib’ acceptance speech below!
What do you mean by marital status?
We mean whether you are single (never been married), separated, widowed or divorced.
As Christians should we need to use the services of an organisation like friends1st to find a soulmate?
God does not just expect us to do nothing: He does not always drop our soulmate on to our laps, He expects us to look about & try different avenues. We don’t generally move churches just to find a mate and there is a limited amount of other ways to meet other Christians, so this is a great way of meeting new friends.
Is it safe to use a service like this?
There are risks to most things we do in life. And sadly this is occasionally the case when you meet people through organisations like ours. However we’ve set friendsfirst up with your safety and security in mind. When you join we’ll give you lots of advice to ensure you minimise any risks there might be in meeting new people. In the meantime here are some things you should think about:-
- Until you are absolutely sure about who you are contacting, never reveal contact information about yourself (ie home/work address, telephone numbers etc.)
- If you are corresponding with someone you don’t know by email, ensure your email address does not give away your full identify. Consider setting up a new account with a different name if necessary
- Be wary of agencies who focus solely on photographs and ‘looks’ to match people up.
- Take time to establish good initial communication –get to know the person you are in touch with before you arrange to meet.
- Be honest about yourself. Keep track of the information the person you are contacting gives you and make sure it’s consistent with everything else you know about them.
- Ask lots of questions, both before and during a date – it helps identify liars, as well as working out compatibility.
- Trust your instincts to how you feel about people. If you’re unsure why not ask a friend to read over the emails or messages to see if you overlooked any thing that might be out of the ordinary.
- Don’t assume everything someone says is true – people can pretend to be someone they’re not.
- When you arrange to meet someone always meet in a public place , never at your home, and make sure your friends know where you are going and have the details. It’s a good idea to ask a friend to call or text you half an hour or so into your meeting to see if you are OK. If you are not, they can come and distract you.
- Arrange for a friend to meet you at the end of a date and drive you home – this way you get a second opinion on your date plus, added safety.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol on your first date and never leave your drinks unattended.
- Watch out for dates who avoid your questions, making odd remarks, and avoid eye contact.
What denominations are your members?
friends1st has members in almost every denomination of the Christian church. These are some of the denominations listed by our current members: Anglican, Apostolic, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, C of E, Charismatic, Christian Fellowship, Church of God of Prophecy, Church of Scotland, Church of Wales, Community Church, Congregational, Ecumenical, Elim Pentecostal, Evangelical, Free Church, Free Methodist, Independent, Lutheran, Methodist, New Frontiers, New Life Church, Pentecostal, Pioneer Network, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Society of Friends, URC, Unitarian, World Wide Church.
What age groups do you cover?
friends1st has members from the age of 24 to 96 and everything in between..
Will I find someone on your books who lives close to me?
We have members in hundreds of towns across the UK so there is a good chance we will have someone living near where you do. Obviously we realise that making friends is much easier if you live in the same vicinity but we always advise our members not to select someone based on where they live as this changes and isn’t a good foundation for a relationship. If you want to see where our members have come from click here.
What nationalities are your members?
friendsfirst members are mainly British in nationality but the organisation is open to people of all and any nationality and we do have members who are not British: for example, Africans, Brazilians, Australians, Caribbean, Dutch, German, Greek, South African, etc.
Why don’t you have a trial period and why is membership for a full 12 months?
Making new friends takes time and cannot be rushed. Finding the right person if you are looking for a meaningful relationship also takes time, and success rarely happens overnight. At friendsfirst we provide you with all the information you need to decide whether we are an organisation that will suit you. You don’t need a trial period to find this out. If you are committed to finding new friends, and/or a relationship, then you need to commit to a proper amount of time to doing so, and we consider a year’s membership to be at least the right amount of time for this.
What is the difference between the Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Plus subscription levels?
Our four membership levels offer a variety of all inclusive features. All membership packages differ in what is included. They also differ in how often other members’ profiles are sent out to you. So if you are on the Silver membership you will receive a profile mailing four times a year – i.e. every quarter. If you are on the Gold membership you will receive a profile mailing every other month – i.e. bi-monthly, and if you are on the Platinum or Platinum Plus membership you will receive a profile mailing every month. However, whatever level of subscription you are on, your own profile will be circulated to other members each month. For more information on the benefits of each level of membership please click here.
Why do you have four different levels of membership?
Our four levels of membership were put in place to reflect the variety of needs that our members have. We offer a large variety of services and want every member to have access to all of these services. With regards to the differences in profile mailings some people are happy to work their way slowly through a list of profiles received every three months. Others perhaps have more time and want to be really pro-active and receive profiles very regularly, so the Platinum level is best for them. And there are those who would find every month a bit too much and prefer to stagger their receipt of profiles to every month or quarter.
What level of subscription do you advise me to take?
This is a difficult question for us to answer because only you know how pro-active you are going to be and how much you value finding new friends and/or a partner. Our advice is to join the level of membership that you think meets your needs best. In all cases we are delighted to discuss your own personal circumstances with you and help you decide which really is the best level of membership for you.
How do I join friends1st?
friends1st is very easy to join. Simply fill out our application/profile form (either on or off line) and submit or send it to us. You also need to send us a form of identification. You can either pay on line through using our online joining payment gateway (the only thing we do online!) or you can send us a cheque.
Can you tell me how many members you currently have?
We are more than happy to discuss how many members we have in the age groups that relate to you. This information is what is relevant to you personally rather than how many members we have in total. Please feel free to ring us on 0121 427 1286 and we will tell you how many members we have that are relevant to you and also which areas of the country they live in.
Can I upgrade my membership?
Yes, membership can be upgraded to the next membership level at any time you want.
How do I terminate my membership?
You can terminate your membership at any time by contacting us by telephone, post or email to let us know that you no longer wish your membership to continue. However please be aware that all memberships are for a minimum term of 12 months so if you wish to cancel before that date your subscriptions will still be due until the 12 month period has expired
Can I put my membership on hold?
You can put your membership on hold at any time by contacting us either by telephone, post or email, and you can reinstate your membership at any time as long as you are still within your membership year.
Do you give refunds?
We have a no – refund policy in our Terms and Conditions which all members agree to before joining. We only give refunds in exceptional circumstances and they are only ever considered after a full year’s membership has expired. Refunds for subsequent payments made originally by standing order will only be given on a pro rata basis. Very few similiar agencies offer refunds – so it’s not just us being mean!
Some people ask us for refunds because “No-one contacted me” but the way our system works is that you receive profiles too and you are supposed to be proactive and contact other members and not just wait to be contacted yourself. If you choose not to then that is not something that we can control.
What is your bespoke service?
We can offer a few members a highly personalised and individually tailored bespoke service to meet any particular needs they have whether that’s because they need additional support or are lacking in time to meet people themselves. Every bespoke service offered is different – if you think we can help you in additional ways, we’d be delighted to discuss our bespoke service with you. Please call us on 0121 427 1286 and speak to one of our team who will be delighted to talk to you.
How important is my friends1st Christian Dating profile?
Your friends1st Christian Dating profile is very very important and you should make sure it reflects the real you - and not necessarily an 'advertising' you that isn't the real you! When you have a friends1st Christian Dating profile it's the thing that will create a first impression of you. And you want that first impression to be not only good but accurate. We will work hard to make sure your friends1st Christian Dating profile sounds good but we can only go on the information you supply us - whether that's in writing or over the telephone. We advise you to discuss the information that give us for your friends1st Christian Dating profile to check that it reflects the real you and is as compelling as possible.
Should I include my email address in my friends1st Christian Dating profile ?
Many people find using email quick, easy and safe, so we do recommend that you include your email address in your friends1st Christian Dating profile. Consider setting up an email account just for this purpose – free accounts like Hotmail or Yahoo are easy to set up and use and you can choose a name that doesn’t reveal your full name and surname.
What is a friendsfirst personalised email address?
A friends1st personalised email address is an email address that we assign you – it is normally your friends1st Christian Dating profile name and number @friends1st.co.uk eg Dave1234@friends1st.co.uk. Our servers use a clever system of rerouting all emails sent to this address to your personal email address eg DaveSmith@hotmail.com. The benefits of this are that you can include an email address on your friends1st Christian Dating profile – with email being received straight to your normal account – but without your personal email address being made public. We are very ‘hot’ on security and if your own email address includes your surname, then having a friendsfirst email address is particularly recommended because we don't want your surname being shown on your friends1st Christian Dating profile.
Can I change my friends1st Christian Dating profile?
You are free to amend your friends1st Christian Dating profile at any time and as many times as you like. It is important to us that you are happy with your profile and that it reflects the true you, and any lifechanges that may happen over the course of your membership. After you’ve told us you are happy with your friends1st Christian Dating profile at the beginning of your membership, we do make a small administration charge for changes after this point.
Can I change my age criteria?
You can change your age criteria at any time you want.
Is it possible for me to receive profiles but not have mine circulated to other members?
Although we don’t recommend just receiving other friends1st Christian Dating profile s, we can offer this service and do occasionally provide it for people who feel they are in a very public position/role and who need to keep their identity highly secure. Please call us to discuss withholding your friends1st Christian Dating profile if you feel you might benefit from this service.
Privacy and Security FAQ’s
Are my personal details secure?
Yes, your personal details, such as your address, are completely secure with friendsfirst. They are never given out to other members even if you decide to do so yourself. If you have requested in your profile to keep your telephone numbers and email address private, these also will not be disclosed. Your Privacy & Security is our priority and we will only disclose the information you feel comfortable providing on your profile.
How do people contact me if they don’t have my address?
Each friends1stmember is given a ‘box number’ and other members use this to send letters to members through the friends1st office. We match up your address with the box number and forward the letters on. In this way members can contact each other without having to disclosed their addresses. This makes contact with other members very safe and secure.
How can I protect my identity?
For some people who are working in high profile or particularly public jobs, protecting their identity is important. Although their full identity will be known to us, it is possible to use a nickname in the profiles so that the identity becomes less obvious. In addition to this the town where a person lives may be listed as a wider area e.g. West Midlands rather than Birmingham.
Why do you ask for ID?
We ask for a form of identification so that we can verify to ourselves and others that you are who you say you are. This is very important for members security and safety.
What sort of ID should I provide?
Identification should be something that has your name and address on it, that corresponds to the name and address you have used in your application form to join friends1st. The following are accepted by friends1st:-
- A copy of a utility bill – e.g. gas, electric or telephone bill
- A copy of your driving licence
- A copy of your passport.
Do you pass any of my details to third parties?
friendsfirst registered with the Office of the Data Protections Registrar. This organisation monitors how we use the information we hold on computer. Your details are for friendsfirst use only and will not be given or sold to any other organisation without your permission.
FAQ’s about friendsfirst
When was friends1st established?
friends1st was established in late 1999 and it has been running continuously ever since. Find out more about friends1st here.
What backing does friendsfirst have from the church?
friends1st has received numerous letters of support from churches across the country. When friends1st was originally set up in 1999 a number of meetings were held with church leaders from different denominations and support was received from all of them.
How can I contact you?
You can contact us by ringing us on 0121 427 1286
Or emailing us on email@example.com
Or writing to us at friends1st,
PO Box 4853,
Stratford upon Avon
FAQ’s about Joining and Paying
Can I pay by credit card – is it safe and secure?
We have the facility in our office to take credit and debit card payments. We use extremely secure servers, that encrypt your details making it a very safe and secure way to be joining & paying. If you would like to pay by credit card, please ring us and we will take your card details over the telephone.
Who should I write my cheque out to?
Cheques should be made payable to friendsfirst.
Why don’t you believe in free trials?
friendsfirst don’t believe in giving people free trials for a number of reasons.
Firstly the ‘free trial’ offer is most commonly used as a technique by online dating agencies (including online Christian dating agencies) to bolster their so called membership numbers. People sign up for a free trial and then leave. What happens is that further down the road when real members try to contact these ‘free trial’ members, they no longer exist, causing frustration all around. All friendsfirst members are live and paid up and reachable!
Secondly making new Christian friends and finding a relationship takes time. You can’t do it in 10 days or in the short period of time that a free trial allows.
Thirdly – what are you trialling with a free trial? If its how the system works, you can find this out from our website and talking to us. There is no such thing as trialling our members – as they are constantly changing. You might not like one person sent to you in a free trial, but they’d be no indication of the next member. We’re all individuals and all different.
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