Making Friends As An Adult: Bumble BFF


“Do you guys know each other?”

“We met on Bumble”

“…”

“Oh, there’s a BFF feature for friends!”

Sometimes I forget that not everyone meets their friends online. It’s still seen as strange and a little bit psycho-killery. But anyone who thinks that is wrong.

In 2017, how the hell are we supposed to meet anyone anymore? Once you’re out of education, you’re left with flatshares and work colleagues to form the ultimate #SquadGoals-level friend. You’re stuck choosing from people who have no guarantee they’ll like the same things as you. That’s why I’m fully for shopping for friends on the Internet.

When I was 14 I made a friend on MySpace and traveled to meet up with her. At 15 I became nocturnal to hang out with my American YouTube friends. And after a brief period of normality making friends at university… in my twenties I was back on the Internet. After all, I’d met my boyfriend on Tinder and everyone accepted that as the norm – why couldn’t I make platonic friends this way too?

I’ve written about my experiences with Bumble BFF before and in Madrid it worked out well for me. So with the second major move in my life (back to the UK, but further south than I’ve ever been before – whaddup Brighton), I was back on the Friend Dating scene. What can I say? I like swiping.

Moving to a new city is hard… especially when you take a risk and move there without a job lined up. I spend my days applying for jobs and sneaking in a few HIMYM episodes on Netflix. The app provides me a sense of normality that I just don’t have here yet. I have people to talk to (albeit through a screen), but they give me advice on good coffee and tell me about their job struggles when they first moved here. Without Bumble BFF I would probably be going insane right about now. And as with Tinder, sometimes these online meetings go well, and your Friend Courting continues into the real world.

So I’m going to keep singing the praises of making friends online. As a teenager, I made some of my best friends on the Internet. People who lived entire continents away and who I wouldn’t have known existed at any other time. On a smaller scale, this works in a city too. Why should I miss out on a great friendship just because we didn’t meet at a coffee shop like we might have had to ten years ago? Forget your prejudices of how weird it is to judge someone over a picture and a bio, if you can do it to find your ~true love~, you can do it to find your next gal pal too. It’s convenient, chill, and just all round cool.

BRB, gonna go swipe right some more.

Advertisements

Bumble BFF: Expat Adventures in Friend Dating

One of the biggest struggles of expat life, other than language barriers and cultural mishaps, is finding and maintaining friendships. Not every expat enters a country at the same, but most importantly, not every expat leaves at the same time. At any moment one of your closest friends can up and leave and you’re left with some major free time on your hands. Sure, the usual rules about making new friends can also apply as an expat: socialise with your colleagues, join a class, stalk out mutual friends. But with the need to seek out new friendships multiple times a year (particularly in the dreaded summer months), these leads can dry out pretty quickly. Enter Bumble BFF, a new app that is here to change the way we platonically meet other people.

The idea of choosing friends solely online might seem weird to some people, but most of the friends I made in my formative teenagers years came from the Internet, and I met my boyfriend of two years on Tinder. So an app where you essentially judge people on pictures and a short bio didn’t put me off too much. When I heard about Bumble, I knew I needed to try it. If I can handle Tinder in Spain, I can handle anything.

I’ve been using Bumble BFF for about two months now and I feel I’ve got a good idea of what it’s all about. Most importantly, how weird it is to market yourself for friends. I know you can say that your profile is just a natural reflection of you, but that is still marketing yourself. If all of someone’s pictures were taken in clubs, I know we probably wouldn’t get along. So no swipes for them. Not in a judging way, just that I know I’d probably never hang out with them if their weekends are spent in six storey nightclubs and mine are spent in bougie dive bars. So it’s a good way to weed out the people you probably couldn’t form a friendship with.

Over my time on Bumble, I had some good conversations. Some progressed onto WhatsApp and some progressed even further onto actual Platonic Friend Dates. I’ve been on three now and finally think I’ve figured out the best way to navigate the app, because each Friend Date has gone better than the last. I’ve bumped up the age category and said bye to the young’uns (whilst simultaneously accepting that oh god I might be in my mid twenties?) and I know when to tell if the conversation is just normal dull-but-polite pleasantries or a dead end.

Overall, I’m a big fan of Bumble BFF and cutting out the middle man when it comes to making new friends. Using the app pretty much screams ‘HELLO I’M HERE TO HANG OUT WITH NEW PEOPLE’ and I love how unashamed that is. Especially for expats, ’cause we need all the help we can get. Even if, like Tinder dates, some of your Friend Dates don’t go anywhere, you still get a nice time out of it. So far I’ve had ice lollies, after work drinks, and mojito bar hopping; when otherwise I’d be at home watching Degrassi on Netflix. Both are fun, but one is slightly more beneficial to my inner happiness. And it’s not the Canadian high schoolers.

But let’s be real, as someone in a long term relationship, I really just miss swiping people’s faces.

Pros of Bumble BFF:

  • Everyone is there for the same reason
  • Super convenient and not time consuming
  • You can scope people out before you meet (you’re given enough information to sufficiently Facebook stalk)
  • Swiping is fuuuuuuun

Cons of Bumble BFF:

  • You’re putting yourself out there to be judged
  • Not a lot of people are using the app yet (at least in Madrid)
  • There’s still a chance you can be murdered

Verdict: It’s great for expats and people moving cities, but also an easy and fun way for anyone to meet new people. I’m really looking forward to how this concept develops in the future. The Internet has already changed so much about our lives, it’s only time before it starts to influence our friendships too. Yaaaaay Platonic Dating!

Expat Friendships: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Making friends as an expat is a weird experience. On the one hand, everyone has a shared experience linking them together; on the other, you’re introduced to people who you might not otherwise choose to socialise with. As many of us as there are (even in a city as big as Madrid), it can be kind of slim pickings on the friend front. Such is the life of an expat.

When someone moves abroad and begins the transformation into an expat, they follow a specific pattern. This is something I call the We’re All In This Together Mindset. But honestly, that only really works in Disney Channel Original Movies, not when it comes to building a solid foundation to base your new little expatriate life on. Sure, this theory works great at first. You arrive in a new country, nervous and second guessing yourself, and then boom… a whole bunch of other people in exactly the same situation as you. Of course you’re going to latch on. And this can be useful in the beginning when it comes to exploring your new city and figuring out the basics. But is it enough to base a long-lasting friendship on? Nah. As people become more comfortable in their new life, they begin to gradually move on. And I’m not just talking about your new found friends, you’re included in this too, Hypothetic Baby Expat Reader. It’s like the advice you always get before moving away to university: “don’t settle with your first year flatmates, there’s more people out there!” It was true at university and it’s true as an expatriate.

Obviously it’s not the case all the time, and I still have friends who I met when I very first arrived in Madrid two years ago. But for the most part, after everything settles and people feel more confident, they move onto bigger and better things. And that includes new friends. Which brings me to my next point…

You’ll meet people in the weirdest places. I’ve already spoken about how to meet new people whilst abroad, but I never really touched on the completely bizare places I struck up conversations with strangers. Trying to find my way into a locked building, searching for a bank, on an Irish pub crawl. People are everywhere. Keep your eyes open and don’t write off a way of meeting someone just because you wouldn’t do it back at home.

In a slightly related note, don’t completely dismiss people either. I’m friends with a whole bunch of people I probably wouldn’t roll with at home. If anything, my time in the expat pool has made me a less judgemental person. Of course, there have been exceptions to the rule. Times where I’ve been proved right and people have been exactly who I thought they’d be, but than can happen anywhere. At least in Spain you can dull the pain with churros.

And of course, the most obvious and painful part of any expatriate friendship: you go into it knowing it has an expiration date. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but as the months draw on it gets a little distressing knowing that L Day is approaching. The dreaded Last Day. This is especially annoying with those pesky Americans and their even peskier visas. EU friends are in it for the long haul, so stick with us. But it’s also disconcerting to know that eventually, it’s going to be you leaving one day. Everything is temporary! Time is fleeting! Aaaaaaaah!

So… expat friendships. In my two years here, I’ve experienced:

THE GOOD: Meeting a diverse group of people who have helped me grow as a person and have understood all those #expatprobs better than any family members or friends back home.

THE BAD: Finding your platonic soul mate and having them leave a year later. Then repeating the process every year until your little heart can’t take it anymore and shrivels up to die.

THE UGLY: Befriending someone you usually wouldn’t because of how tiny the expat bubble is, until they one day just completely snap and call you a “c*nt-faced bitch” for no reason and then you’re stuck in their social circle FOREVER*.

*Note: forever is only a year for expats because lol visas.