Roughly six months ago, I finally took the plunge and followed my dreams across the river and moved to New York City. Although I have been working in the city almost three years now, my group of friends (acquaintances) was almost non-existance. High School friends either stayed local or moved cross country and between 10 hour work days and two-hour commutes, time certainly didn’t permit for extensive friend search parties. Everyone I met was always a one-night bar crawl type of friend who loves to text back “we should hang out again soon!” never to make concrete plans. Well, I have had enough and desperate times call for desperate measures.
On October 22nd, I joined Bumble BFF. You may be more familiar with Bumble as a dating app where women make the first move – a concept I was never really behind but luckily I’ve been in a loving relationship for four years now and don’t have to worry about openers, or so I thought. The whole idea of choosing your friends feels a bit deranged. When looking for suitable partners, of course, it’s easy to choose based on looks. I know I like brown hair and won’t settle for someone with poor dental hygiene but would that matter in a friend? I wouldn’t be kissing my friend so who cares if her teeth aren’t perfectly straight or white, right?
Before I began exercising my thumbs, a profile upgrade was in order. Anxiety washed over me. Women are far more judgmental than men so the pictures I choose really have to tell a story. Do I emphasize my love of frozen margaritas or do I underline the importance of culture? Disclaimer: throughout my time on the app, I adjusted my photos and bio multiple times. Here’s my current profile.
I opted for pictures that showed my interest in fashion.. and alcohol since I can never pass up a good cocktail. I also connected my Instagram for easy stalking and Spotify for music comparability. While I love all music, a girl who can get down to Korean rap as much as Migos is okay in my book.
Now for the swiping. I blindly began skimming through girls in my area. I set my preferences of age for 23-28 since I’d love to find girls my age because, well, relatability? I quickly realized a common thread among the majority of the profiles – brunch, wine, soulcycle, and the Bachelor. No hate towards any of those but how can I pick between 10 profiles who are basically the same person. I knew I had to dive deeper, find meaning in their pictures, harness my inner Nicholas Cage in National Treasure.
Profiles with solely bikini pics and snapchat filter edited photos i.e. puppy ears were a quick swipe left. That is not my personality and I know we wouldn’t mesh well in person. I tended to always swipe right on profiles with careers similar to mine since we would have common ground to talk about. In terms of looks, I have to say my choices surprised me. 80% of my matches looked exactly like me. Who knew I loved myself so much? But it’s true – who better to get along with than yourself? That doesn’t mean every girl was a 5’11 blonde-haired, blue-eyed polish girl but a majority of the time they were Caucasian, with natural-looking makeup, trendy clothing with a well thought out bio.
In the beginning, my matches were quite frequent because I spent a good deal of time on the app. Unfortunately, the more matches I had, the worse the conversations were. Let’s be honest, it’s awkward finding friends through an app, there’s no doubt about that, but what’s even more awkward is trying to pick up a girl to hang out with you.. on an app. What do you even say, hi? How original. Every conversation would start the same – “hey, hi, how are you, great, where are you from, how long have you been in the city, where do you live, cool” – like clockwork.
Eventually, I got fed up with one-liners and struggling to think of openers to catch the other person’s attention so I changed my bio to be direct and it worked! Girls started messaging me their numbers and we made plans to meet up before even sharing any information about ourselves. This is what worked, this method made me two new friends.
Date One: Victoria
We went to the Polynesian, a bar I had been DYING to go to. These “dates” were the perfect excuse to try out new bars and restaurants that had been on my radar. Disclaimer: drinks at this place are very overpriced but definitely delicious! Victoria works at Conde Nast so we definitely had things to talk about work-wise. The conversation was great but I wasn’t sure we would ever hang out again. Before parting ways, we made indefinite plans to hang out again but I thought of it as a polite goodbye rather than a genuine attempt at friendship. Roughly two weeks went by with no communication until I received a text asking to hang out again. I was definitely caught off guard and nicely surprised. Since then, we have hung out twice and even text every now and then.
Date Two: Mallory
Mallory and I really hit it off. We went to Fonda which was cozy and quaint, almost romantic which made us laugh. She too works in public relations so our work experiences were extremely similar giving us a great topic to start out with. We ended up chatting for hours about work, music, hobbies, family, relationships and just about everything. For the first time, I felt as though I found someone I could truly see myself becoming close with. When ordering drinks, we even ordered the same thing without consulting each other – Love me a spicy margarita sister! She even offered to pay for half my uber ride since my apartment was a bit away from the restaurant. I would have never expected that from friends I’ve had for years, let alone someone I met three hours prior. Before parting ways, we made concrete plans to hang out again – and sure enough, we did!
What I learned: Making friends is hard. Really hard. Just like dating, it may take a few people for you to find someone you really get along with. I was naive to think friends would simply find me. Life isn’t a scripted movie and as much as we’d like to think best friends just happen, sometimes they don’t. In fact, for most people they don’t. I was ashamed for not having many friends and decided to do something about it. My initial perception of the app was that it would be filled with girls who are a bit shy and maybe struggle to fit in but I was completely wrong. There are people just like you looking for friends either because they moved or their friends moved or they simply don’t have the time to put themselves out there. The internet is a beautiful thing. Put yourself out there because only good can come out of it.