That time I used Tinder to make friends.

AKA what I’m trying to do right now.

And when I say friends, I mean JUST friends. Friends sans benefits.

I’m not new to moving to a new place alone and building my [real life] friends list from scratch. In fact, I met some of my closest friends under these circumstances. So what’s different about this time, you ask? Well, for starters, I don’t have a real job this time around. I’m an au pair, so I spend a lot of time with toddlers, and married couples with more toddlers. Not exactly anyone you’d catch me barhopping with on a Saturday night (if I barhopped! ha!).

The language barrier is also a factor. While a majority of Germans do speak English, it’s not like they walk around speaking it amongst themselves. Opportunities to spark up conversations or even insert myself into existing conversations have been few and far between so far. Seriously. Starting an introduction with “Sprechen sie Englisch?” will never not be kind of awkward.

So I asked a few Tinder users their opinions on using the dating app for non-dating purposes, and I got a mixed response. Most were pretty sure that it’s not possible to form a platonic relationship on Tinder―not a sincere one, anyway. But I got a few optimistic views as well, and since I just so happen to be in need of a few friends at the moment, I’ve decided to test the Tinder waters out for myself.

Just so you know, Tinder wasn’t my first option. I made a MeetUp account and plan on attending some expat events in the coming weeks. I also signed up for an online community that connects expats in Hamburg. No connections just yet. Not to mention, there are about 100 other apps specifically for making friends. I tried out PatookBadoo, and MeetMe. What I learned from Badoo and MeetMe is that no matter what the official purpose of the app is, people are using it for dating. Immediately upon signing up, I was BOMBARDED with “views”, “likes”, “favorites”, “twinkles”, and every other method one can use to digitally flirt. I literally hadn’t even finished populating my profile with all the things that make me an awesome friend before I started receiving notifications aplenty. Very aplenty. A bit tooaplenty.

Patook, on the other hand, may have some potential. It matches you based similarities and interests–things you’d probably want a friendship to be built on. Unfortunately, Patook is still in the beta stage. I’m assuming that’s the reason my matches were all located outside of Hamburg. Maybe the app doesn’t have many early adapters in Hamburg just yet?

Anyway, that leaves us with Tinder. For starters, some of my friends use it and vouched that its users aren’t ALL weirdos. Secondly, I have some control over who can reach out to me on Tinder, which is a relief. And lastly, I pretty much know what to expect. People aren’t on Tinder for friends, nor or they pretending to be. It’s actually a relief to know exactly what I’m signing up for.

Sort of.

So here it is! My Tinder profile.

What do you guys think? How’s the bio? How’s the pic? Does it say, “Hey, I’m a really great friend! Hang out with me!” Or is it too leggy?

The one tip I got―besides “don’t do this!”―was to be straight forward about my intentions. I think I nailed it!

I’ve never joined a platform like this, to make friends or otherwise, so of course, I have some questions.

  1. How do you spark up a conversation with a stranger on the internet? How do I get the correspondence started?
  2. How long are we supposed to “chat” before we meet in person? (While this whole thing is kinda fun, I really do want friends to hang out with on the weekend.)
  3. At what point do I bring up that I’m REALLY not looking for a date? I said so in my profile, but once I “match”, do I need to reiterate?
  4. What happens when I match with girls? (I want girlfriends more than anything! Then we can go out and look for guys in real life.)
  5. How do I choose potential friends based off of a Tinder profile? I need some guidelines, right?

Help me out, y’all! And stay tuned to find out how my search for friends on Tinder goes. Is it possible? Can I find one? Comment and tell me what you think!

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