Whether you’re looking for true love or a quick hookup, dating apps have become the go-to for finding what you’re craving. But what about friends? After using Tinder and OKCupid for dating, I was actually more interested in finding new pals and I figured I could keep using the same tools but with a different purpose.
I’m open to love but not looking for it. I’m taking a very chill approach to new relationships these days, preferring to let the right connection come to me rather than chasing it. That said, I’ve always found dating apps really interesting and I love dating, so even though I’m not looking for romance, I still enjoy that aspect of it. Why not keep the parts of dating I enjoy and use the same approach to simply find cool people to hang with?
I’m upfront about it. I state in my profile that I’m looking for friendship so it’s clear to anyone perusing my stats what I’m open to. I also make sure to talk about it explicitly before I meet anyone in person. A dating site isn’t the typical place for people to find platonic connections, so I make sure I’m upfront about it. I have no interest in leading people on.
Friendship is more important to me than partnership. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in a relationship, but the older I get, the more I realize that a solid network of good friends is much more important. I want to have a community of amazing people around me more than I want to find “The One.” I’ve spent way too much time giving up my friendships for the sake of whichever relationship I was in at the time. Now it’s time to start putting friendship first.
An online connection doesn’t mean a real-life romance. Even if I meet someone online who I think could be an incredible partner, you never know until you’ve actually met them. I’ve met a few guys who, on paper and from our messages, seemed like real keepers, only to find there was no chemistry in real life. In those situations, I was open to keeping them as friends rather than scrapping all that potential because the spark of romance wasn’t there.
Not everyone has the same idea. Unfortunately, some people aren’t into it. Some of those dudes just dropped off the face of the earth when they realized I wasn’t interested romantically. I get it, they were looking for something specific and I just wasn’t on board. To me though, it just seems like a shame to shut off the possibility of platonic connection just because I wasn’t DTF.
It’s hit and miss. Just like searching for real-life romance through a screen doesn’t guarantee a connection, neither does looking for friends. I love dating because it’s an opportunity to meet an entirely new human being and friendship dating is no different. That said, some people just do not fit together and there’s a lot of time spent awkwardly sipping coffee over a forced conversation, calculating how many minutes until I can politely exit the interaction.
I’ve had some weird dates come out of it. Even if I say on my profile that I’m looking for friends, and even if that’s explicitly stated before we meet, there are still some people who equate dating apps with, well, dating. On the one hand, that’s totally fair enough. On the other hand, we’re all adults here and we (hopefully) all understand the concept of consent. When one of us is looking for friendship and the other is only interested in hooking up, nobody wins.
If we can use apps for romance, why not for friendship? We’re living in a world that is steadily becoming more and more digitized and if we can use technology to find our soulmates, why can’t we do the same to find friends? There’s an app for that, right? The social stigma around online dating has pretty much disappeared, but when I tell people I find friends online, I still get some funny looks.
The tech world is catching on. For a hot minute, Tinder launched a version of the app created for exactly this purpose. Unfortunately, the idea tanked, probably because as a hook-up app, it’s not particularly geared towards meaningful connections. Nevertheless, there are a bunch of other apps that are designed for exactly that market if, like me, you’re not opposed to finding cool people through the power of the internet.
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