A few months back, I tried Tinder for friends. And it was awkward AF.
Here’s my story of what went down and how I even got to that point:
Late last summer, I moved here to Columbia, Mo. for a new job. A few months prior, I had just moved back home from spending a year at school in Georgia. The reason this matters is because it meant that I had spent a year away from everybody I know. When I went back home to Missouri, I was able to reconnect with a few good friends.
Nobody tells you how making friends as an adult in a new city is really hard and at times, disappointing. Back in college, you didn’t have to work hard to make friends and keep them because they’re always around. But when you’re working a full-time job, you come home tired, and it is dang hard to drag yourself to events and places where you’ll meet people your age.
I’d heard about the rise of new apps that help young women who want to make friends in new cities meet up, and since I figured I could use some new friends, I decided to give one a try. Hey! Vina is a friend app that acts a lot like Tinder. You set your preferences for what city you’re in and age limits, and then you swipe left for ‘I’ll pass’ and right for ‘I’d like to be friends, maybe.’ If you both swipe right on each other, then you match and you can send messages about meeting up.
I felt weird using an app to make friends to begin with, because I felt like maybe it meant I was terrible at making friends in real life. But I gave it a shot and quickly matched with a few people in the area. However, despite attempting to make plans, only one of them actually followed up.
We decided to meet at a coffee shop downtown that we both loved. The woman I was meeting, let’s call her ‘Ruth’, was already there when I arrived…but it took us seriously nearly 10 minutes to even ID each other.
Firstly, Ruth didn’t look anything like her profile pic, which didn’t bother me like it would if I was on a date with a guy, but it did make it super hard to figure out who was her. Secondly, once we did find each other, it quickly became apparent that she was very, very sick.
Like, coughing every three seconds and eyes red sick. While we ordered some coffee and found a seat, I tried to be sympathetic to her apologies for being sick, but I couldn’t focus on what she was saying between all the coughing. I hardly drank my coffee because I didn’t want to get sick. It was honestly a shame because Ruth was probably a very interesting person and we seemed to like some similar things. But I couldn’t shake the thought that somebody who shows up to meet a stranger this sick might be too desperate to make a friend. When we walked out and Ruth said she’d love to meet up again and I agreed, I already knew I didn’t really mean it. I deleted the app soon after that.
I’m sure people do make friends over these apps if enough work is put into it. But just like Tinder, you’ll go through a lot of messaging that goes nowhere just to get one meet-up. And then that one meet-up might suck. Personally, I’ve come to realize that I prefer making friends the old-fashioned way. If that means I have fewer friends, but the ones I do have are high quality than that’s okay with me. I still try every month to try new things and places that might lead to a new friendship.
But making friends through an app? Just not for me. And that’s okay.
Have you ever tried a friend-finding app? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!