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 the new Bumble BFF app. 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:
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 AF. 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 moustache.
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, binge watch The Mindy Project and take pretty photos in cool places. Perfect! We have so much in common already.
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.
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.
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.
I Met Some Really Awesome Ladies. 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 stupid 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.
… 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 clingy 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.
It May Be Weird, But It’s 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 though, 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.
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