Making Friends Through Dating Apps, It Can Be Done!
One of the biggest unexpected challenges I encountered when I first moved away from home was learning how to make friends as an adult. As weird as it sounds, it was one of the most daunting tasks I faced as I ventured into city life; every attempt felt awkward and, quite frankly, it was much easier to sit at home and watch Netflix instead. On paper, it sounds easy; join a club, bond with coworkers, go somewhere that I could find people with similar interests, but in reality it just wasn’t clicking for me.
Coming from a small town, I was particularly interested in making friends in the LGBTQ+ community, but as I was new to the city I really didn’t know where to begin. Thanks to social dating apps, it was and still is relatively easy to find a date or hookup, but finding the long-term friendships I was looking for was not happening with a woof or right swipe…at least not to start. It’s not to say that there weren’t guys on those apps who were just looking for friends, but I had to adjust my way of thinking when using these apps in order to develop more longterm friendships.
Truth be told, this journey was much more difficult than I expected. I had to relearn how to use these kinds of apps. It all goes back to my closeted days; I really didn’t have any LGBTQ+ friends and even seeing someone I had chatted with on those apps sent a shiver of fear up my spine. The fear of being outed by someone I’d met on these apps made me avoid these potential friendships at all costs.
It also gave me the mentality that every conversation with someone on those apps meant that all of these conversations came at a cost or that they were only interested in a hookup. As someone who wasn’t out, I mainly chatted and hung out with other individuals who were not out; that way, if we ran into each other while out and about, it was easy for us to both mutually ignore each other.
However, I envied those who had their faces boldly displayed on their profiles and eventually, I came to be one of them after coming out on my own. It was easy to change my profile picture, but the mindset of “this isn’t a space to make friends” took much longer to shake off; it wasn’t until moving to the city that I really gave it a try and today I have only one regret: that I didn’t do it sooner.
Working on building friendships through dating apps led to so many more friendship opportunities than I would have found on my own: I’ve joined LGBTQ+ sports leagues, explored new bars and restaurants, and ultimately created a wonderful and diverse new friend group that makes city life infinitely more enjoyable. Once I discarded all of my preconceived notions about what everyone was on those apps for, I was exposed to a much more rewarding experience. All it took was a simple but profound change on my end.