I tried friend making apps so you don’t have to

I was having a full blown conversation with my dog on a Friday night over the politics of a fav Netflix show. That was the moment. The exact moment I knew I had to get out more and make some human friends.

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Moving to a new place far away from family or friends is really hard. The only people I know are my older and married co-workers who live scattered across the state, and my 70-year-old neighbor, Beatrice, who invited me over to can some vegetables and learn how to knit. I was even considering hitting Beatrice up when she ended up moving out of our apartment complex. I was truly out of options.

Unless you are some mutant who is just naturally amazing at walking up to strangers and making fast friends (TEACH ME YOUR WAYS), meeting people organically IS SO HARD. I can’t say I have been trying that hard, but I was trying. I went to a dog park and tried making small talk with some people but nothing came of it (other than a girl trying to con me into her pyramid scheme). I also attended a church but once again the only person I felt comfortable enough to say hello to was a 60-year-old man who was wearing a very snazzy tophat. Even he was cool enough to have friends to go find a pew with. So I was left with the millennial option to make friends…apps.

Are you cringing? Maybe you aren’t but I was. I really prefer to meet people organically. I think this is just me being annoying and stuck in my ways. I’m not sure. I feel the same way about dating apps. I just feel like it takes away from your story? I am truly trying to get over this because I know using apps to meet people will really open doors.

This will be a long post so buckle up and join me on my quest for a new BFF.

So my first step to this process was research. What are PLATONIC friend making apps? Which ones are the best? How do they work? Once I found a good selection, I started ‘socializing’. I guess you can call it that, right? Below are the apps that I decided to focus my efforts on and how they worked out for me.

Meetup is both a website and an app but I used the app for the sake of this ‘experiment.’ It allows you to join groups of similar interests/demographics/hobbies/etc and then the group organizer arranges meetups where you can mingle. If I am being honest, I would rather pour ketchup into my cereal than mingle. BUT I was determined to at least try it.  Below are some pictures of what the app looks like, some groups I joined, and some of the interests that I selected.

My first meetup that I went to was with the group Denver Small Dog Meetup Group. They arrange to meet up at a dog park every month on a weekend. This seemed like a perfect first meetup for me because dogs make everything less awkward. This meetup was at Earthdog and it was a super cool place! I was right in that it wasn’t too awkward and Zuzu had some good forced socialization. She is hella shy around other dogs. I got to talk to a few people but quickly picked up on the fact that everyone is there for the dogs and not the humans. Which I TOTALLY understand and have no problem with. So I smiled at the humans but mostly just pet every dog that I could get my hands on. I will definitely keep attending this group meetup but I don’t think this will be the way I meet my new BFF.

So after my small dog meetup, I looked at more upcoming events and chose an event by Strangers to Friends Meetup. At least everyone there will be there for the same reason, right?  I actually went to this meetup last night. It was at a pretty cool taproom called The Crafty Fox. I believe the only way for us both to get anything out of this ‘experiment’ is for me to be totally honest. I almost backed out of this meetup at the last minute. If it wasn’t for some aggressive encouragement from one of my best friends back home (see below) I doubt I would have gathered the guts to get out of my car. It definitely sounds silly but something about walking into a bar, not knowing who I would be meeting or even where inside we would be meeting was so intimidating.

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However, I DID get out of my car and was greeted by a giant sign directing me to go upstairs 🙌.  The cost of the meetup was $10 to help cover the room rental and we also got a raffle ticket. I would say there were about 30 people there of all ages. A worry of mine was that the age would be skewed one way or another but I met people in their 60’s, 30’s, and 20’s. The first thing I did there was get a name tag and write my name and my hobby on it. At first, I was annoyed by this because really my only hobbies at this point in my life are laundry and crying over my paycheck deductions. So, I wrote the first thing that came to mind: kayaking. I do love kayaking and it actually turned out to be a good conversation starter. After the name tag station, I was just kind of thrust into the mix which was genuinely terrifying. However, I quickly picked up a drink menu and picked out a peach cider (which was really good). I then noticed a girl next to me also looking at the drink menu whose nametag said Amber. “OMG WE HAVE THE SAME NAME (KINDA). ICE BREAKER. INITIATE MINGLING.” I smiled at Amber and told her I liked her name, which then led to her looking at my name tag, and then -boom- conversation started. After that first person, the rest of the night flowed along smoothly. Another winning piece of advice is that if you feel awkward or uncomfortable…just go hide in the bathroom and text your friends until you feel ready to go back out.

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I clicked with a couple of different people and even got a phone number! While I wouldn’t say I had the time of my life (there were definitely some awkward silences), I met some really nice, diverse, and interesting people that I hope I get to know even better. I have a lot of hope for Meetup and plan to keep on using it!

If you are trying Meetup and have social anxiety like me, my advice is to just force yourself to walk inside (or wherever the meetup is). Once you do that, half the battle is over. Just remember that everyone there is there for the same reason: to meet people. Worst case scenario is that you don’t meet anyone or you meet someone you don’t really like. Well, you don’t ever have to see them again and you were at least trying! Best case scenario is that you leave having a new friend which is worth a little anxiety in my opinion.

This app was probably my favorite. For one, it’s actually a fun app to use! It has quizzes (who doesn’t LOVE a fun personality quiz) to help you build your profile and it’s a ‘tinder style’ app where you swipe left or right to try to match (ditto) with lady friends. That was the only possible downside I saw to this app. It’s made only for women. Which, I have no problem with personally, but if you are wanting some male friends you won’t meet them on VINA. Below are some pictures of the app,

My ‘dittos’ or matches are in the center image. Out of all the ‘messaging apps’ I felt like I had the best conversations on VINA.

I love the idea of Bumble and the way it has positioned itself as a feminist version of Tinder. However, I am not on the market for a bae right now. I AM looking for a friend so when my research led me to Bumble BFF I was excited! It works just like regular Bumble except you are just swiping with people (of the same gender as you) who are looking for platonic relationships. Setting up your profile and knowing only ladies are going to be seeing it was somehow SO MUCH easier than setting up your profile for a dating app. I honestly felt like my profile was a little more personable than it would be in my dating profile. Once again, the downside to this app is that you can only interact with people who are of the same gender as you. Below are some pictures of the app. As you’ll see in the second photo, matches can expire if one of you doesn’t send a message before the 24 hours are up! While I got distracted and let a couple of matches expire, I did successfully get a conversation going with two ladies.

 

Patook was the most unique and interesting app that I chose to use. It uses a questionnaire and a mysterious algorithm to match people (both male and female) that they wager will be the most similar to you. They also have a strict no flirting policy and will delete messages that they consider flirty. This apps’ interface looks very similar to Facebook and honestly seemed a little clunky. However, I liked the option to interact both with males and females looking for platonic relationships. That being said not one male matched with me…lol.  I didn’t feel that my matches on Patook were ‘better’ than my matches on the other apps despite the algorithm. Below are some pictures of the app.

 

CONCLUSION:

So my goal with all of these apps was to meet up with someone off each one and tell y’all how that went. However, I have been using the apps for a couple of weeks now and have been talking with several people and I am just not sure when a ‘friend date’ is going to happen. I also took into consideration how long much longer that would make this post and made a decision. I am still going to attempt to meet up with some of my matches off VINA, Bumble BFF and Patook and I will write a part two to update y’all!

If I were to wager which app will lead me to my BFF…I would say Meetup. But I will update you as soon as I find them.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

LOVED the idea behind this app. However, it just didn’t open up doors to meet people. It honestly just seemed like an Instagram for dogs.

Same idea as Meet My Dog but I still didn’t have much luck interacting with people.

This seemed like a cool concept for a friend making app. You take a quiz about your hobbies, beliefs, personality, etc and then the app puts you in a ‘tribe’ or a group of three people. I didn’t get to try it because it wasn’t available in my area but if it’s available to you, give it a try!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and stay tuned for an update! If you have had any success with these apps or other techniques for making friends let me know!

P.S. I am altering my posting schedule to every other week for a while. This is due to me being a little overwhelmed with work at the moment. Not that anyone is reading…other than my neighbor, Beatrice. Thanks, Beatrice.

 

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