I’m no newbie to online dating. I’ve tried practically every app out there, been on probably 30 or so dates (good and bad), and after a year of dating someone I met online, I’d say I’ve found a little success! Romantically, dating apps can definitely work. But when it comes to friendships, do options like Bumble BFF have the same potential?
In the category of making friends, I don’t get out there very much. I spent most of my childhood having the same best friends, so when we parted ways for college, I had to basically start over. I’ve made some amazing friends in school, but as we all graduate and find jobs, my friendships don’t seem as strong as I once thought. So that leaves me, a 20-something in Chicago, a little lonely. And if you know me (ENTJ all the way), I don’t handle too much alone time all that well.
So I decided to take my knack for dating apps and see if I could make some friends. My favorite dating app was always Bumble (even though I met my partner on Tinder—shh!), so I decided to see if Bumble BFF could live up to the hype.
How It Works
Bumble describes its BFF feature as a “simplified way to create meaningful friendships.” Sounds good to me!
If you’ve used Bumble Dating before, it’s basically the same principle. You make an account with up to six photos, craft a bio (it’s harder than you think!), set your age, gender, and location parameters, and you’re ready to start swiping! Swipe right if you’re excited to get to know them and left if you’re not. Easy peasy.
I was so proud of this bio. Cute, fun, a lil‘ quirky—I’m going to make so many friends.
If you thought making a profile on a dating app was hard, you’re in for a treat. Who knew it would be scarier to try to make friends than to get a guy to want to date you?
Creating a unique bio that describes what you really want out of these friendships is a lot harder than I expected. Everyone wants a workout buddy who will always get brunch after, someone to watch The Bachelor with, and someone to be the Jess to their Cece—myself included! It’s hard to not sound basic and like everyone else when you truly do want all of those things.
From someone who really got into dating apps the past few years, I’m slowly realizing the effect “swiping culture” can have on us. We care so much about an image rather than getting to know someone. So I made it my mission to swipe right on mostly everyone. I based everything on the bio and nothing on looks. Let me be honest: It wasn’t all that easy! We’re so trained to focus on photos and how people look on these apps, but I knew if I was going to build friendships, I wanted them to be set on a foundation of mutual interest rather than outward appearance.
Being in a large city, I never felt like I was “running out of options” when I was swiping. When I originally set my location parameters to only a few miles, there were for sure less, but as I increased it to span basically the whole city of Chicago, I was in just about an endless pool of potential brunch buddies.
However, I got to a point after a while where I pretty much swiped right on everyone regardless of if it seemed like we’d be a good fit. I just wanted to make friends!
I was so excited to discuss my love for Trader Joe’s—and we never spoke again.
The extent of this relationship… womp womp.
Yeah, this is where my experience begins to dwindle a little bit from apps dedicated to dating. I got hardly any matches. If I did match (hallelujah!), I either got no response back or we said two things and they stopped responding.
I noticed a lot of my matches were looking for roommates or were promoters at clubs and wanted me to “get a group of girls together” for a free table and drinks. While I am always down for a free table and drinks, I feel like if I already had a “group of girls,” I probably wouldn’t be on Bumble BFF. Maybe just me though!
Do other women just not take Bumble BFF seriously, or am I that utterly unswipe-right-able?
When I Started Feeling Like Giving Up
Not meeting as many people (or anyone really) started to get to me. The rejection was honestly worse than dating because I was just looking for someone to hang out and have fun with! After looking at what felt like hundreds of photos of girls in their cap and gown from graduation, on some vacation with their boyfriends, or sipping a mimosa (Bumble BFF girls love brunch!), I started feeling like I didn’t measure up. What about me makes all these girls not want to be my friend? Is my bio not creative enough? Do I not have enough photos that make me look cute and fun? What am I doing wrong?
I started beating myself up over not meeting anyone that I started feeling like a friendless loser who was destined to sit at home and watch every new Netflix movie alone. I got into a comparison mindset, thinking that I needed to have a profile more like her or her, and then, I’d make friends. I almost asked a photographer I know to set up a photo shoot so I could have better pictures on my profile. That’s when I knew I just had to stop.
I stopped worrying about people on the internet for a second. People get uncomfortable and bored with dating apps all the time, so why is it so weird that I’m feeling the same way toward a friend app? I learned that my worth isn’t derived from people “matching” with me on an app, and I have an entire life full of friendships ahead of me. Women have found bridesmaids and best friends without Bumble BFF, so I think I’ll be just fine for right now.
I started making friends at work. I exchanged numbers with a woman in my yoga class (This was a bold move that I was very afraid to do, but now we’re going to another class together!). I also started taking myself on all those friend dates I was hoping to get from Bumble BFF. I took myself to the movies (everyone needs to see A Simple Favor ASAP), I sat at a coffee shop without my laptop for once, and I made brunch for myself at home instead (talk about a money saver!). I also encouraged myself to reach out to people I normally wouldn’t. My photographer friend and I did hang out, but the only pictures involved were the ones we took of our cheese board.
My Bumble BFF experience wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. While I didn’t really make any new friends from the app, it got me in a mindset to take chances and meet people IRL, so I can’t say the experience was totally unsuccessful. I don’t think there’s any harm in trying an app to meet friends, but I wouldn’t recommend going into it thinking you’ll meet your soul sister.
I’d also suggest remembering who you are through the process. Rejection, in any form, is so hard to deal with, and it can really impact how we view ourselves. Don’t let a bunch of people on an app decide your worth. That unspoken confidence might even help you score a few friend dates along the way!