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Apps for mates not dates

After what was a very isolating time for many around the world many people are using apps to find friends.

The pandemic was lonely for most of us but for those who had friends move away as a result or were unlucky enough to move to a new city just as it hit it might have been a particularly daunting time.

Apps previously used predominantly for dating are seeing an uptick in those searching for friends

"People are seeking friendship in ways they would have only done offline before the pandemic." Said Bumble CEO and Founder Whitney Wolfe. The company saw 9% of its total monthly usage come from its friend platform 'Bumble BFF' in September 2020

Wolfe also specified that they are increasing their focus in this platonic space in line with the increased demand.

Match, the company that owns both Tinder and Hinge, also seems to be expanding their offering in this space. The company acquired the platform 'Hyperconnect' which cost $1.7bn and lets people from across the world connect with each other via a real time translation tool to cross cultural barriers. Revenue for the company 'Hyperconnect' jumped by 50% last year.

Image Source: Photo by Tito la star on Unsplash

Meetup, the platform where people try to find those with similar interests has also seen a steep rise, with a 22% increase in new members since January - it's most searched word this year was "friends".

Other people are also using Facebook groups to connect with new friends in a new part of the world.

A recent New York Times piece that examines this growing trend of people meeting new friends online examines some interesting thoughts on this phenomenon and how it differs to online dating:

"She didn’t care what their jobs were, where they lived or if they were hot. The “friend” dates did not carry the same expectations. “Even if you go on a date, and you don’t like him, but he never texts you, your ego takes a hit,” she said. “With a girl it’s like we are having a bite to eat, it’s fine if I never talk to her again.”

So even if it seems a bit unusual just try to remember how strange online dating seemed once upon a time and whether you're new to a city or just want to branch out why not give it a whirl?

Zara Cooper

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