There’s a great 2012 article from the New York Times by Alex Willaims that detailed the hardships older adults have in making and maintain new friendships. And for some reason, my little high school brain read this and freaked out at the idea making friends would get even harder. Honestly finding people I liked to be around was hard enough. My worries were quickly assuaged because within a week I went off to an art program and met one of the great platonic loves of my life.
Yet, even with many great loves later and college behind me, that article still pops up in my brain from time to time. And when I moved away from the state I had called home for all of 22 years I started wondering if this would be the year I’d run into that friendship brick wall. I had friends in the city, it was one of the reasons I moved to NYC, but a few semi-close friends with their own understandably busy lives don’t make much of an adventure team.
That’s when an ad for Hey! Vina popped up onto my facebook. Now I’m not sure how the algorithm knew I needed more friends, but it wasn’t wrong. Usually, I’d pass on hokey stuff like this, but the fact it was specifically designed for women to meet up had me intrigued. So I downloaded it and started flipping through. Here are my thoughts:
So the app is marketed and operates like a pseudo-tinder, but for women looking for female friendships. You put in your preferences for age/location, fill out your own bio, and start swiping. Except because the app is built for platonic relationships, it asks you to fill out a survey about your interests and personality traits (extrovert vs. introvert, coffee vs. wine, etc.) beforehand. So when I’m looking through profiles I’m checking out what we have in common and their short bio.
This was both my favorite feature and the most disconcerting because with tinder I usually swipe ruthlessly stopping only to read bios when someone catches my eye. Yet when the dating aspect is gone I got very methodical trying to discern which of the many wonderful ladies could be a life-long friend.
And here’s the truth…it’s probably the best app I’ve ever downloaded. Like my brand is built around being picky both in food and in friends, but I actually found really interesting people on this (like a future law student, fashion stylist, and social worker). Also, I’m woman enough to admit some people just aren’t into all this (*gestures to all of me*.) So the fact that in the span of two weeks with this app I have made two awesome new friends and talked with three more ladies is amazing. I mean I have better friend game than any other game I’ve ever played.
Now for those who are extreme extroverts, this may seem like a really small number, and for some introverts it’s monumental. But for this ambivert, it’s just right.
Some methods I found to be really effective in using this app are as follows:
- Be bold: Send the first message. The first friend I made on the app went to the same college as my mom and that was my in. So far I haven’t had a message ignored yet. Just find common ground and start there. You swiped each other, so obviously they’re interested in you too.
- Show off personality in your photo: This is about showing yourself in the most authentic way. Make a silly face if you’re loud or wear something fashionable if you need a shopping buddy. Make sure it stands out.
- Try to meet up asap: After the obligatory small talk, ask them to go do something. You need face to face to really cement this new friendship and make sure it doesn’t fizzle out. My favorite first friend date is a flea market because it’s fun to walk around and get to point stuff out to each other.
- Fill out all the quizzes: Because they’re fun and why not honestly?
- Be openminded, but selective: Real talk, ladies. Sometimes you need friends who come from a different place, both metaphorically and literally. A different perspective is refreshing and necessary to live a well-rounded life and you’d be surprised how much two people from vastly different upbringings can still share a love of psychological thriller flicks and orange dreamsicles (just as an example). Don’t assume you’d have nothing in common with someone based on looks or where they went to school. Branch out! Also, keep in mind that there’s no real shame in discovering that you don’t mesh with someone like you thought you would. Your time is precious and while it’s never ok to be rude, it is ok not to be someone’s friend. Friendships aren’t a science and sometimes you’re just two people who aren’t meant to be each other’s ride or die. And that’s perfectly ok. Maybe the next swipe will get you to another bridesmaid, who knows!
I’d highly recommend this app to anyone in need of a more clear-cut way to get that first intro to a new friend. I really love this concept and while it makes sense why it’s only for the female-identifying, it’s so effective I almost wish I could meet platonic guy friends on here too. But in the meantime, I guess I just keep trying to fill out my perfect heist crew.