As someone who’s moved cross-country quite a few times, I’ve had to become accustomed to putting myself out there in order to make connections and form new friendships. I joined a sorority, socialized with people at work, and was always the first to introduce myself at a party. When I moved to Toronto with my boyfriend and became self-employed, I realized how difficult it was to get to know new people and decided to try Bumble BFF. It’s basically Tinder for friends, and it seemed like an ideal way to help me find my dream squad. Here’s what I learned.
What is Bumble BFF?
An offshoot of the main Bumble dating app, Bumble BFF was released in 2016 as a way for people who struggle to meet friends in person to connect socially. Given how tough it is to make friends as an adult, this is very welcome technology!
Since so many of Bumble’s users were finding platonic connections on the app, its owners decided to launch a mode specifically for this purpose — the first of its kind. The best part is that it’s not just for women. Regardless of your gender orientation, you can sign up to the platform to meet friends from all different backgrounds. However, if you simply want to meet other women or non-binary people, you can set your search options to say as much.
How does it work?
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a date or a new pal, you need to download the Bumble app. Doing so will give you access to Bumble BFF, Bumble Date, and Bumble Bizz, the company’s website explains. After registering an account, you can specify which section you want to use. From there, you can start building your profile to show off what you have to offer a new chum.
Bumble recommends uploading four photos minimal to show off your personality and interests. One of those should clearly show your face if you want to increase your chances of getting more and better matches. From there, you can start swiping and checking out other people who are looking to widen their social circles.
What I learned from using the platform
1. Making a friend-dating profile is super weird.
Setting up a dating profile is pretty standard — you choose the photos with your best angles so your potential love interest knows you’re hot. Creating a profile to attract potential friends, however, is just weird. I steered clear of too many selfies and opted to use snapshots that showed my personality and interests. In the end, my Bumble BFF profile was mostly photos of me eating, drinking, and one in which I was wearing (and actually weirdly rocking) a faux handlebar mustache.
2. Every girl has three things in common.
After adding your photos, you write a little bio blurb that’s basically an elevator pitch to potential BFFs. It’s your chance to say, “This is why you’ll love me.” When I started swiping through profiles, I learned pretty quickly that quite literally every single girl had three things in common: wine, traveling, and Netflix. I’m not even exaggerating. I dare you to find one profile that doesn’t include at least one of these. Basically every Bumble BFFer likes to get drunk on the cheap, have a “White Lotus” marathon, and take pretty photos in cool places. Perfect! We have so much in common already.
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4. It’s awkward choosing potential friends.
I still haven’t figured out how to pick out my next BFF based on six photos and 200 characters. When it comes to romantic relationships I know my type, but choosing potential friends the same way isn’t so easy. If I’m being totally honest, a lot of my swipes were determined by whether or not I liked the girl’s eyeliner. Wings on point? You get a swipe right.
5. It’s even more awkward making the first move.
Once you do actually match with someone, you have to start a conversation within 24 hours to keep your connection active. I like to think of myself as a pretty assertive person, but I’ll fully admit that it’s really awkward to make the first move. I have zero issues striking up a conversation with a potential date but totally froze when it came to approaching other women. After much deliberation, my go-to line ended up being, “Hey girl! How are you?” Creative, I know, but it worked at sparking conversation.
6. I realized how judgmental I am.
This is sort of a given when you’re forming friendships using first impressions based on appearance and a few select words. I’m sure I came across countless ladies with awesome friend potential, but just because I didn’t like something in their photos or bio, I silently rejected them. Too often, I found myself judging a little too harshly — too much of a hipster, too granola, I doubt we have anything in common. And yes, I fully hear how awful that sounds! I was on an app to find friends, so what made me think I could be so selective? When a new potential BFF is just a swipe away, it’s hard not to turn on Mean Girls mode and become ultra-picky.
7. I met some really amazing women.
After a week of texting with a couple of connections, I took the plunge and set up a friend date with one Bumbler I really clicked with. It felt more like an actual date than a meet-up with a friend. I was nervous, afraid I would do or say something silly and ruin my chances of social happiness. But after a few minutes of small talk, we began to hit it off and spent the next few hours laughing over coffee. We’ve since become pretty good friends, so I’d mark this one down as a win for Bumble BFF.
8. … and a few intense ones.
My success using the app is pretty much limited to that one connection. Though I did talk with a handful of other women and even met a few of them IRL, I quickly realized that actually forming true friendships is a phenomenon that’s few and far between. Some matches were a bit too intense for me, becoming weirdly needy and wanting to declare best friend status immediately. A few others refused to meet up in a public place and instead insisted I come alone to their apartment for drinks. As with any match-making app, it attracts all kinds.
9. It may be weird, but it was definitely worth it.
There’s no denying that the whole experience was unusual and far beyond my comfort zone. I took some flack from my family and friends, who teased me about my virtual friend-finding, and there were definitely fewer hits than misses. Still, I did meet one genuine friend. When you move to a new place, it’s never easy to put yourself out there, so Bumble BFF can be an ideal stepping stone to socializing once again.
This wasn’t the dream app I hoped it would be. Still, I did find that it opened me up to some new people. It also expanded my relatively small circle for a while. Admittedly, it wasn’t an outstanding success. But, it’s something I’m really glad I tried and would recommend to anyone. That’s especially true if you’re new to a city or struggle to form platonic connections these days.