I moved from PA to NJ in June. While several of my friends were getting jobs in the Philadelphia area, I had just accepted an offer in Northern New Jersey 2 hours away. Despite being excited to start my new career, I soon realized that I knew absolutely no one in the area. To make matters more terrifying, I would be living alone, which was basically setting myself up to have a hard time meeting people.
I’m a people person. I like being surrounded by my friends and family, and spending time with them whenever I get the chance. The thought of sitting alone in my apartment on the weekends made me cringe, so I knew I had to find a way to meet some new girl friends.
Enter: Bumble BFF. Yes, Bumble is a dating app, but what many people don’t realize is that it actually has a “friends” setting too. All you need to do is go into your settings and turn “on” BFF mode to start seeing girls in your area instead of guys.
I made a profile complete with a short bio about how I had just moved to the area and was looking for friends to make my new “home” feel more like home. As I swiped my way through potential BFFs, I was surprised to see how many other girls were in a similar situation as me.
Much to my surprise, I found myself matching with a lot of girls in the beginning. I figured I had nothing to lose, so if a girl didn’t message me first, I messaged her. Some of these conversations were more extensive than others, and some girls never responded to my messages. Some girls who I thought seemed cool never even matched with me. These digital rejections were hard to accept at first, especially since I never had trouble making friends in the “real world.” However, I soon realized that it wasn’t worth getting upset over; after all, I was talking to so many different girls that someone had to be similar to me… Right?
The only problem was I would have to start meeting girls in person to find out. In the beginning, the thought of meeting up with a complete stranger for a “girl date” sounded ridiculous and slightly terrifying. I had never used dating apps to meet guys, so this concept was completely foreign to me even in that sense… Add a girl into the equation and it just makes it that much weirder. I was getting desperate for friends, so I decided to suck it up.
Over the course of three months, I met up with four different girls. While I thought each meetup went well, I soon learned that no two Bumble BFFs “dates” are the same.
For example, I thought my first meetup was best case scenario at the time. We met for drinks after work, and it was not the slightest bit awkward, even though I was fully prepared for it to be. We seemed to have a lot in common, and even left on a positive note that we would stay in touch in terms of our weekend plans. However, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and we never spoke again. I never reached out to her, but at the same time, she never reached out to me. I didn’t know the protocol for “friend dating.” If you go out with a guy and you never hear from him again, you assume he isn’t interested. But how does this work when it’s two girls? I didn’t know, and part of me thinks she didn’t either.
For my second and third meetups, I vowed to not let communication drop off afterward. While I wasn’t as enthusiastic with how these went in relation to the first one, I remained optimistic and followed up with each of the girls I had met. Despite attempting to make plans a second time around with both of them separately, I have yet to see / talk to them again.
It wasn’t until my fourth Bumble BFF meetup that I finally met someone I felt like I could be myself around. This time, we exchanged contact information prior and were friends on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram before we had even met. I really do think that this helped us to feel more like “friends” rather than just two strangers meeting up. We knew a decent amount about each other beforehand from our social media profiles and from talking outside of the app (texting) – something that I hadn’t done with my prior BFF matches. After the fact, we still talk multiple times a week, and have plans to get together this coming weekend.
So what have I learned from all of this? Bumble BFF dating is surprisingly a lot like romantic dating.
Rejection isn’t the end of the world. It happens to everyone, and taking it too personally won’t end well. Be optimistic and focus on the future, not lost potential friendships in the past.
It can be awkward at times. Try to get a good read on someone through texting/social media to avoid a super awkward meet up. If it is awkward, roll with the punches and make the best of the situation; it’ll be over before you know it.
It can get comfortable quickly. You’ll feel more connected to certain people over others – that’s natural. Embrace your similarities and use them to help build a meaningful friendship.
You shouldn’t waste your time on someone you don’t see in your future just because you’re lonely. If you don’t feel like you can be yourself around someone, they probably won’t make a good friend. Don’t settle for someone you don’t have much in common with just because you so desperately are in “need” of a friend.
It requires effort from both parties. Communication is everything, and letting that go means letting go of an opportunity to get to know someone better. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to reach out.
Will I continue using Bumble BFF to expand my friend circle? Absolutely.
It’s just much more reassuring knowing how to use the app to its full potential moving forward.