Every Stitch member is unique, with their own distinctive personalities, interests, backgrounds, hopes, and dreams.
All members of Stitch do, however, have one thing in common. They all joined Stitch to enrich their lives by finding new social connections, friendships, and companions.
Different members choose to do this in different ways: some attend or organize in-person events and activities, some connect one-on-one, some prefer virtual get-togethers, and others connect around ideas in the discussion forums. But no matter how they do it, the general idea is always the same: interacting and engaging with lots of other members as a way to find the ones you "click" with, and then building relationships with them over a sustained period of time.
We've now seen this process work so consistently for so many members that we've built it into the very fabric of Stitch itself.
Here's a picture that helps describe how it works:
Stitch members usually find their journey goes something like this:
Community ➡ Connections ➡ Contacts ➡ Friends ➡ Soulmates
From Community to Connections
The start of every member's journey begins with the Stitch Community, which consists of all members in the entire community. The community represents all the potential companions you could possibly meet. Of course, unless you are incredibly dedicated, you won't meet every member of the community around the world! Your personal social network on Stitch will only consist of the members you interact with.
You'll most likely start by coming along to a Stitch activity with other members, either in person in your local area, or online. (Perhaps even a Welcome to New Members event, hosted by yours truly!)
Everyone who attends the event with you — whether you talk to them at the event not — is now one of your Connections. Stitch uses the person icon ( 👤 ) to indicate that someone is one of your Connections.
Stitch calls these members "connections" because you have established a connection with them within the community. You are closer to them than all the other members of the community (the ones you haven't met yet). And if you want to follow up with one of your connections after an event, you can click on their profile and send them a message.
From Connections to Contacts
If you do send a message to another Stitch member — whether that's after attending an event with them, or by clicking their profile in an online discussion, or via the Members page on Stitch — and they reply to you, that member becomes one of your Contacts. Stitch uses the envelope icon ( ✉️ ) to indicate that someone is one of your contacts.
You can think of your Contact list like your address book on Stitch: it lists everyone you've had a one-on-one conversation with through the Stitch system.
From Contacts to Friends
Over time, you'll find yourself doing more and more with some of the members in your network. So much so, in fact, that they become real, living, breathing, Friends. How amazing!
Stitch doesn't automatically mark someone as a Friend for you: that's something that is a very individual choice and we think it's best to leave the choice of who is a "friend" totally up to you. But Stitch does let you mark someone as a friend, which makes it easier to search and find them within your personal Stitch network. Stitch uses the star icon ( ⭐️ ) to indicate that someone is one of your Friends.
Note that your Friends list is private to you. If you mark someone as a Friend, Stitch won't notify them, so they won't know about it unless you tell them.
Finally, from Friends to Soulmates
Finally, if you're patient enough, some of your friends will eventually become your true soulmates. Stitch doesn't have a way to track soulmates, as we don't think you need the system to help you keep track of something so special. You'll know your soulmates when you've found them!
Having said that, if you do find a soulmate on Stitch, we'd love you to let us know. We love hearing from members who have built incredible relationships through Stitch!
Your Network Page
The Stitching journey outlined above is captured on a special page on Stitch called Your Network. It's your personal address book of Stitch contacts, connections, and friends, all in one convenient location.
You can find Your Network on the main Community menu on Stitch:
Stitch members who throw themselves into engaging with the community by attending events and welcoming other members to the community via private messages generally have the most extensive networks.
Why is that important?
Having a large network and being connected to many community members doesn't just mean you have a greater chance of finding the friends and companions. We also know that those members who develop large social networks on Stitch are more likely to report higher levels of happiness and contentment, reslience, personal wellbeing, and optimism about the future.
And that's why we try to encourage all members to grow their Stitch social network as much as they can. Simply by getting active and engaged in the community, you'll be growing your network and improving not just your own wellbeing, you'll be improving the lives of the members you meet.
So get out there and start getting involved!
Now that you know what your Stitch network represents, the Your Network page should be reasonably simple to understand. Let's take a look at each part of the page in turn:
The filter buttons at the top of the page let you filter your network to view just your Friends, Contacts, Connections, or any combination of the three
The sort button lets you order your network list by name, when you last interacted, or when you first met
The search box lets you search your network. You can search by name, location, interest, and even profile description. So if you can remember you met someone who likes canasta, for example, but you can't remember their name, just search for "canasta" here and you'll be able to find them!
The profile card lets you open the member profile, or click "Details" to view more information about how you met
The "Add to friends" button lets you add one of your connections to your friends list, while the "Message" button lets you send them a message
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions about the Network page.
Do people know if I add them as a friend?
No, your friends list is kept private to you. But if you want to tell someone they are a friend, why not let them know? You'll brighten their day!
What is the best way to grow my network?
Far and away the best way to grow your network is to attend (or organize) Stitch events and activities. If you attend an activity with 20 attendees, for example, your network will instantly grow by 20. This reflects the fact it usually takes more effort to attend an activity than simply sending someone a message, so it deserves to be rewarded!
Why is the number of connections shown to other members?
If you've read anything about Stitch, you'll know we are on a mission to change the way that people think about the importance of social connections: not just in their own lives, but in society as a whole. We want everyone to realize that building new social connections as we age is essential to our wellbeing.
We also know, however, that it can sometimes feel like an impossible task, particularly if you've been feeling isolated or lonely for some time. Showing connection numbers on profiles is one way to highlight how many Stitch members have built connections through the community, and help you understand that it's easy for you to do so too.
Remember, it's not the size of your network that matters, it's whether you're taking steps to keep it growing. We want all members to adopt the mindset that we should never close ourselves off from making new social connections, no matter what age we are. As long as you keep on being open to making new friends, your network will reach the 500+ mark just like so many of Stitch's active members!