No one ever warned me how tough making friends as an adult would be – how do you start a conversation with someone when you don’t have a shared hatred of a teacher or love for a subject to bond over like at school?
Recently I joined Bumble BFF. After being in Sydney for a year and a half, I found that a lot of the friends I made when I first got here had left to go back home or travel elsewhere.
At first the thought of putting the amount of effort into making friends as I did when I landed made me feel sick. Then there was the fear that anyone I made friends with was only going to leave again and I’d be back to square one. I mean, who wants to have to keep constantly starting over?
So, I left it, but doing that meant I got into a funk where I sometimes felt lonely and it was starting to impact how I reacted in certain situations. Thankfully I am a pretty self reflective person and I saw what I was doing, so I decided to make a change.
Joining Bumble BFF was that change.
After only a few short weeks on there, I met some great people and had some really interesting chats. I was also ghosted for the first time in my life (not a nice experience!). I thought I’d make a list of things to help anyone who is debating downloading the app and taking the plunge into friendship dating.
- Start the conversation. Putting yourself out there is scary, but even scarier is missing out on the chance of meeting someone great. Starting conversations with a stranger is as nerve wracking and as awkward as you might imagine, but Bumble BFF offers ideas for conversations starters if you’re really feeling the pressure. The worst someone can do is not reply. If that happens, they obviously weren’t the person for you.
- Be honest. Some people’s bios say that they enjoy things like bouldering, horse riding and sailing. Honestly, I’m more of a good book and a gentle walk kind of girl. While at first it was tempting to make myself sound like an outdoor adventure junkie, I realised there was no point. If you’re wanting to make genuine friends, then you have to be genuine about who you are.
- Be selective. It sounds critical, but if you know you’re not at a point in life where you want to be going out and getting drunk every weekend, then skip those who do. At first I felt really mean swiping ‘no’ on people, but I came to realise that it would be a waste of both of our time for us to match then never make plans because clubbing all weekend isn’t where I’m at anymore.
- Put information about yourself in your bio. However awkward you might feel writing about yourself, there’s nothing more off putting than someone just sharing a photo of them self. It means potential friends know absolutely nothing about you and starting conversations is even harder. Again, this may sound harsh, but I swiped ‘no’ on anyone who had a blank bio because I didn’t know where to begin with getting to know them.
- Know when to ‘bow out’. Knowing what you want from the app is really important. I joined Bumble to meet one or two new people who I could meet for brunch or drinks, and I did that. When that happened, I backed away from the app. For me, friendship is all about quality over quantity and I didn’t want to connect with more people and put half the effort into my friendships than I usually would because I’d met more people than I had time to meet. Go into the app knowing what you want from it.
- Write one or two word replies. One of my friends put it best – ‘we’re not here to date, so why do people play hard to get?’. If you’re on Bumble BFF, you’re looking for friendship, so engage with people. Ask questions, read their profile, learn as much about the other person as you share about yourself. It sounds harsh, but anyone giving me flat, barely there replies were deleted.
- Beat yourself up if you don’t ‘click’ with someone. 99.9% of people I’ve seen or chatted to have been great, but I haven’t clicked with all of them and that’s okay. In school you didn’t gel with everyone in your class, so why would you gel with everyone just because you’re in a new country and want to make friends?
- Stick to people just from your home country. One of the best things about moving abroad has been meeting people from around the world, so use this opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally have the chance to. Some of the best people I have met here are from countries I’ve never been to before. Remember that you moved somewhere new for a reason and expand your horizons.
So there you have it, my Bumble BFF Do’s and Don’ts!
There is absolutely no denying that moving to another country and remaking your entire friendship group is tough. It takes a lot of energy to put yourself out there and you have to have pretty hard conversations with yourself about what you’re looking for. You also have to accept that you are never going to find friendships like you had with the people you grew up with. There simply isn’t the history there, and aged 27 I can’t see myself having many new fake tan disaster/wild night out stories that bonded my friendships like I did as a teenager.
But that’s okay, because the friendships you will experience are great in their own way.
You’ll meet people from all over the world. You’ll get to find out about new ways of life, new jobs and get to share new experiences. You’ll meet people who have travel as an interest and pick up tips from them. You’ll get a bunch of great recommendations for your new city. You’ll make fun friends, interesting friends, friends that soon become your new-country-family.
Plus, you’ll have all the friendship dating stories… isn’t that alone worth downloading the app for?
To follow more of my Aussie life, why not follow me on Instagram at @jesskitchingwrites?