Interacting "live": Phone and video calls

Text messaging is great; a little secret in your pocket or tucked away in your laptop waiting to be discovered. But for true intimacy, nothing beats a live phone or video call. The inflections and tone of your voice, the subtle changes in your facial expression--these just can't be simulated in text, no matter how good you are with emojis. That's why we offer both phone and video as additional connection options.

Remember: The person who sends the first chat message is the person who will pay for all chats going forward. But whoever initiates a phone or video call will be the one who pays for that individual call.

Reaching out to others

Ready to take the leap to live? Check that your phrend is available for phone or video by confirming the appropriate icon is green. To place a call, just click the phone icon or call the (512) area code number that is shown (it's the same number you use to text this same phrend). To make a video call, just push the video icon and follow the on-screen steps.

Here are a few things to know:

  • Sips are not shared or earned until both parties are actually connected. Once connected, they'll be shared at the rate set by the recipient. As an initiator, you'll be reminded of this and will always be given the option to ensure you have enough drinks in your account so that you don't get cut off just as things are getting good.
  • Whoever initiates a phone or video call is the sender of sips, the other phrend receives them (even if you're the one who pays for chats). Ask your phrend to call you every now and then if you want to change the pay direction once in a while. They can use that same 512 number that delivers your texts to them.
  • The value of a video connection is roughly 25% more than that of a voice-only connection, i.e. phone or video with camera turned off. If the recipient of the call turns his or her camera off, sips instantly slow down to the phone/voice rate. Sips will be fairly exchanged no matter how many times the camera goes on or off. As for the initiator of calls, the sip rate is unaffected by his or her camera status; it's governed completely by whether the recipient's camera is on or off.
  • Phone calls actually ring your phone! But don't worry, your phrend cannot possibly see your private number because the Phrendly system calls both of you and bridges the calls behind the scenes.
    At best, Caller ID will only show the Phrendly system's 512 area code number. Your privacy is ensured! The first thing you're asked on the call is to confirm that you want to take it, so if something comes up, you can politely decline. Declining a call with make you unavailable for phone calls until you manually say you're good to go again.
  • It's possible to recharge during a phone or video call with the press of a single button! To take advantage of this feature, make sure you have a credit card on file. Go to Settings > Balance to set this up. When you're running low on drinks, you'll be given either a visual or auditory prompt, depending on if you're on a video or phone call, respectively. Press the button as explained by the prompt and a single drink will be added to your account--no disruption to your rap! The joy!

Receiving phone and video calls

You know you're awesome and you can expect others will want to chat with you via phone or video. Can you blame them? To ensure they can, set your Availability to "available" for phone and/or video. On the web, the Availability section is in the right-hand panel of your Profile page; on a mobile device use the availability button (the slider looking thingy). Once set, the icons for phone and/or video will be green on your profile, meaning phrends can contact you via these "live" methods.

As with text chat, your relationship speed preference is relayed to your phrend, so there should be no mis-match in expectations. Note also there is a Do Not Disturb feature that will prevent people from calling you outside of hours that you set. Finally, if you'd prefer to get to know someone before a phone or video call, take advantage of the checkbox that says "Don't allow video or phone until we've exchanged messages". If checked, your Phrend will need to exchange at least three messages with you before being allowed to call you.

One final note: To ensure that you get notified of video chats when you are away from the site, make sure you set SMS forwarding of messages to “On”. That, or download our iOS or Android apps. If you don’t, your poor phrends may be trying desperately to chat with you while you are blissfully unaware of their adoration.

Can I change how I value my time?

Phrendly is all about valuing each other's time. While text chat values are fixed (you earn $0.35 for each volley), you have freedom to adjust how much of your time you are willing to give for a drink for phone and video chats (you'll keep 70%). The more time you give for a drink, the less expensive you become; the less time you give, the more expensive. See how that works? We have picked default values we hope are reasonable for both earners and spenders. However, these can be changed in Settings-->Payout Info. If you wander too far from the defaults, you might end up creating a bad deal for either you or phrends who reach out to you--just keep that in mind. Note that video calls are always valued roughly 25% higher than audio-only calls.