My first time on a friend app I learned a lot about making friends, swiping right, and the importance of not getting discouraged. Here’s everything you need to know before setting out to find your new BFF.
Making friends as an adult is hard. There. I said it.
In elementary school, it seems so easy to make friends. You just have to show up on the playground with a good attitude and a few Pokémon cards (kids still play with Pokémon cards, right?) and you have plenty of bffs to hang out with at recess every day.
By high school, teenagers form into cliques (you’ve seen TV shows) so sometimes it can be a little harder to make friends, but if you join a club or sports team, you eventually find your group.
But by the time you’re an adult, friend-finding feels impossible. And when finding the right partner can come from a friend or a friend’s recommendation, creating a friend group is important. You’re so busy with work and relationships (and laundry) that it’s easy to lose touch with your old friends and forget to make new friends. Suddenly you find yourself feeling lonely, and no amount of Pokémon cards will help.
Thankfully, that’s when friend apps come in.
That’s right, it’s like a dating app, but for friends, and if you’re like me, you might feel skeptical about them at first. Personally, I’ve never been on a dating app. I met my fiancé before apps were even invented (back then we all had flip phones and spent most of our time talking about how awesome iPod shuffles were), so when I first heard about friend apps, I was nervous.
There are so many of them: Bumble BFF, Hey! Vina, Skout, and Peanut (which is specifically for moms) and the whole thing seemed weird and awkward. I could just picture myself saying “hey want to be friends?” and someone responding, bluntly, “no” and then feeling totally down.
But as it turns out, friend apps are kind of awesome. They’re fun, easy to use, and they help you connect with people who you may have never met. I ended up using Hey! Vina, met some amazing people, and learned a little bit about how to become a better friend. Now, I’m hooked, and I think everyone should have a chance to find friends this easily.
Here is my list of the top five things you need to know before getting on a friend app (and meeting your new BFF!) And don’t forget, if you’re trying to cut through the noise of the dating scene, join LOVETV today.
1. Your bio is everything.
I’ve heard that your picture is everything on a dating app, but in a friend app, your bio takes priority. When I first got on an app I didn’t spend a lot of time on that “about me” section. I quickly typed and honest, but simple, “I like cats, pizza, and wine” and drowned the text with a crap ton of emojis.
I knew my bio was nothing fancy, but when I started swiping through profiles, I realized that I should have put some more work into it. I found that so many people had spent a lot of time describing themselves, creating descriptions that were funny, sweet, and really clever. And those awesome bios were what made me want to reach out to these cool women. I quickly made it a priority to update my profile.
I wrote more about me and tried my best to showcase my personality. By the end, I was proud of my bio, and sure enough, pretty soon I was getting more matches too.
2. You don’t have to find your perfect match.
On a dating app you’re probably looking for a great match: a like-minded person who has a lot in common with you. And that’s probably a good tactic, you need common ground when it comes to starting a relationship.
But with friends, that’s not always the case.
In the beginning, I only swiped right on potential friends who seemed to have a lot in common with me. It seemed like a good idea at first but after awhile I found that I wasn’t swiping right very often. (I mean, come on, how many twenty-seven-year-old grad students getting married in July could I have possibly have found?)
Plus, I realized that it was more fun to strike up a conversation and share experiences with someone who was in a different place in their lives or had different interests.
Don’t swipe left because someone likes country music while you’re into classic rock, or loves waffles when you’re all about pizza. You learn from people who are different from you, so embrace those friendships.
3. You want to take the pressure off your first hangout.
It’s scary to meet up IRL with someone you met online, but if your goal is to make friends, you’ll need to meet up with them eventually.
Still, asking someone if they want to have lunch one day can feel a little intimidating, and your first hangout might end up feeling a little stiff or awkward. The best way to avoid this is to simply tell your new friend where you’re planning to be one particular day, and invite them to join you.
Do you have a coffee shop that you like to hang out in on Saturdays? Are you planning on going to a local concert one day? Telling a new friend what you’re doing, and inviting them to join, is a great way to take the pressure off a new friendship.
If they can’t make it to your weekly bowling hangout, no sweat, but if they do stop by, it can be a great way to make a first meeting feel casual and natural. No pressure, just friendship.
4. You might end up using every app as a friend app.
The truth is that any social media is a great place to connect, and once you get into the mindset of making friends, you can do it anywhere.
After signing up for a friend app, I realized that I was sending more texts and direct messages to old friends from high school or college. I started reaching out to old classmates and acquaintances who had added me, and I ended up connecting with a lot of people.
Friend apps will give you a friend-making mindset, meaning you’ll always be on the lookout for friends. You might not be close with every person you’re friends with on Facebook, but you just might start messaging someone you used to be in a class with, or a friend of a friend you met once or twice.
5. Know that making friends is hard, even on an app
One of the hardest parts of making friends is forming a strong connection, and that doesn’t change on an app. But don’t get discouraged. Finding the right people, and cultivating a friendship, might take some time, but there are some great people out there.
With some time, a good mindset, and maybe a little bit of luck, you’ll find your friends—and together, you guys are going to have the coolest happy hours, the best movie nights, and the most amazing brunch dates.
Maybe making friends isn’t quite like it was when we were kids… and maybe that’s okay. Friend apps are here to help us meet our new besties, and I can’t wait to keep swiping.