Teen doesn’t want to celebrate a life alone
TARIE McInnes will celebrate her 18th birthday in a couple of weeks but fears she'll have no-one to invite to her party.
Ms McInnes moved to Bargara from New South Wales eight months ago to live with her grandad and said despite her best efforts, she's desperately struggled to make friends.
Unable or wanting to go out clubbing or drinking, Ms McInnes said she didn't know how to meet likeminded people.
"I don't go to school anymore so it's really hard to meet people your age because they're either busy or you don't have a way of talking to them," she said.
"You can't just walk up to someone and say, 'hey, be my friend'."
Determined not to give up, Ms McInnes shared her plight on Bargara Facebookers asking anyone interested in being her friend to "apply within".
"I've lived here in Bargara for eight months now and still haven't made a single friend," Ms McInnes wrote.
"I have an 18th in less than two months and my invite list has one person on it and it's my boyfriend."
The trying teen said social media had helped her search.
"If it wasn't for Facebook, I doubt I'd have many connections around Bargara and Bundaberg," Ms McInnes said.
Ms McInnes said she used Facebook to search for people in her area.
"You can go through and (search) in an area and it will come up with lots of people's names who live in that area," Ms McInnes said.
"What I did (then) was, I went through and sent friend requests to people who look around my age.
"I explained to them that I had just moved here and I'm looking for friends and what not and that's mostly how I made my friends around here."
Ms McInnes said it was that method that introduced her to her boyfriend.
"And we've been together for five months now," she said.
The Bargara Facebooker's post attracted more than 50 comments as others shared their struggles to find friends in Bundaberg too.
Seeing comment after comment from girls finding themself in the same situations as Ms McInnes, Take the Plunge Cafe co-owner Beth Boorer proposed an idea.
"I have a community café ... wondered if you would be interested in starting a social group here," Ms Boorer offered.
The idea was a hit and Ms Boorer created an event, Apply Within Friend Group, to first meet at 10am on September 1 at her Electra St cafe.
Ms Boorer said reasons like this were exactly why she created the community cafe.
"To be a part of connecting people in the community with each other," she said.
"So it feels awesome."
Ms Boorer said she'd also been approached by a 50-year-old woman who, like Ms McInnes was searching for friends and said Take the Plunge started a relevant social group for her age.
"It's a slowly developing thing (these groups)," Ms Boorer said.