Tinder For Friends: 6 Tips For Meeting Your New BFF On Friend-Making App Hey! VINA
Let's be real: making new friends can be HARD. Especially if:
- You moved to a new city
- All of your friends have been moving away
- You're no longer in school
- You haven't clicked with any of your co-workers
- You work from home
Can I get an amen?
A little over a year ago, I moved to Atlanta. I had a few connections in the city (mostly work-related), I traveled a lot, and I worked from home. Growing up, I always preferred a tight-knit group of close friends. Friends who I could hang out with one-on-one. Friends who wouldn't hesitate to dive into deep conversation. Friends who I could build real relationships with. I wanted that again.
One day I thought to myself: there's a million dating apps—what about an app for making friends? I whipped out my phone and googled "friend making app". That's how I discovered Hey! VINA. It's basically Tinder—for girl friends. Turns out I wasn't the only one who had thought of that idea!
I was equal parts excited, skeptical, and nervous. I had never met up with a complete stranger before. Would it be awkward? What if we didn't hit it off? What if they didn't like me?
I pushed my fears aside and created a profile. The reason I chose Hey! VINA over similar apps like Bumble BFF is because the app encourages you to share more about yourself—your guilty pleasure, how you spend Sundays, how you would describe yourself in 5 emojis. You can take personality quizzes and even join communities like DIY Enthusiasts, Lit Lovers, Sober Sisters, and Entrepreneurs. Side note: Hey! VINA is geared towards women, so if you are a guy I'd recommend trying Bumble BFF.
Out of the seven gals I've met up with, a few of them have turned into really great friends. One of them is a complete soul-sister to me. And I've only met one person who severely turned me off. Is it weird making friends on an app? Sure. But no weirder than finding your future fiancé on Tinder. Why not take a chance? You never know—you could end up meeting your new BFF!
Thinking about trying a friend-making app? Here are some of my tips:
1. Put effort into your profile
Hey! VINA has a generic place-filler text that reads, "Hey! I'm new to VINA, and I am excited to start meeting new friends" if you choose not to personalize your profile. Don't be that person! That spells ZERO EFFORT. I can guarantee when someone is prospecting a friend, "lazy person" is not what they're looking for. Another recurring pattern I see commonly on these apps is: "Loves wine, brunch, mimosas, shopping, and Netflix".
Speaking from personal experience, those types of profiles tend to turn me off. Write something interesting that is unique to YOU. If you like to cook, what do you like to cook? If you like Netflix, which shows have you been watching? If you like podcasts, which ones are you currently listening to?
Here are a few examples: You're a tea sommelier who makes homemade peanut butter. You binge on Tedx Talks and read every self-help book you can get your hands on. You're a body positive yogi who is anti-diet. You're an intersectional feminist who is obsessed with listening to the "Serial" podcast.
See? The more specific you are, the better.
In addition, list things you would like to do. Maybe you want to improve your handlettering skills, practice Spanish, volunteer more, find recipes to cook at home, or get your butt off the couch. This gives potential friends a few actionable activities to envision doing with you.
2. Ask a question
When creating a profile, it's natural to focus a lot on ourselves—our hobbies, interests, etc. But one of the most intriguing profiles I read included a question: If you could live in any TV show, which one would you choose?
This gives your "matches" an immediate ice breaker. They are more likely to reach out because you already gave them a question to respond to. Relationships are all about give and take—asking questions and sharing about yourself. Let that reflect on your profile!
3. Include information that may turn someone off
This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. Friendship relies on shared values and common interests. If you are an atheist, mention it. Chances are, you probably won't hit it off with a Bible-quoting Christian, so that will help you weed out anyone who you have a major difference with. Same if you like to drink, smoke, and party a lot. Or if you hold extremely liberal political views. While it is great to surround yourself with people who are different than you to expand your horizons, it's probably not what you're searching for on a friend app.
4. Be picky when swiping
You don't want to waste your time. You also don't want to waste someone else's time. Be honest with yourself when you're swiping. Do you have a lot in common with this person? Does their profile sound interesting? There is nothing worse than meeting up with someone, spending your time and money on coffee or a meal, and having awkward, forced conversation. There is never a surefire way to avoid this, but try to give yourself the best chance by truly vetting on the front end.
5. Reach out immediately upon matching
Statistically speaking, about two out of every ten people I matched with would actually take the initiative to message me. I was usually the one to reach out first. Maybe the other person is nervous. Maybe they don't know what to say. You hopped on this app to make friends after all, right? Don't wait too long to make a move.
6. Don't spend too much time messaging on the app
After a few cordial exchanges, schedule a time to meet. If you sit around texting each other, you will either get too comfortable remaining that way or get nervous and psyche yourself out. You're not looking for an Internet buddy, you're looking for a real-life friend.
Nervous about making conversation? Try this:
1. Plan an activity
Go bowling. Try a yoga class together. Break out your watercolor paints. Bring a game to the coffee shop. Planning an activity will help take the pressure off of conversation and actually give you situation-specific things to talk about.
2. Bring the Book of Questions
My brother gave me the Book of Questions by Gregory Stock and it's honestly one of my favorite activities to do with new friends or people I have known forever! The questions are intriguing, hilarious, controversial, and really get you thinking. It's a great tool to get out of small talk or a boring conversation rut.
3. Lead with these questions
- How long have you been living here?
- What brought you here?
- Do you like living here? (the answer to this can give you a lot of insight into a person)
- What are you favorite things to do in the city? (gives you ideas for future activities together)
- If you could live anywhere else, where would you choose?
- What are you passionate about? (rather than the generic "what do you do for work?")
- What is your favorite thing to do in the (insert whichever season it is)? (again, this will give you activity ideas)
- I've been really in the mood to see a great movie/read a new book/find an interesting podcast. What have you been loving lately?
Make a point to actively listen. That will help you think of other questions to ask. But also remember to share about yourself because you don't want it to feel like an interrogation!
Have you ever tried a friend-making app? Would you be open to it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!