As someone who recently relocated to New York City from a small town in Arizona, there are a number of things I've had to quickly become accustomed to when it comes to big city living. But, it's nothing one or two “moving to NYC” Google searches couldn't school me on.
There's one thing, however, everybody knows will eventually happen upon moving here. But, no one really writes about it, let alone talks about it. That's the crippling loneliness.
I'm a naturally introverted person, and it's becoming especially pervasive as I enter my late 20s. Whereas five or six years ago, I would have felt like a worthless human being if I wasn't spending my Saturday gyrating with some stranger to Rihanna's “We Found Love” in a sweaty club, today, I cherish the time I spend binge-watching Netflix, reading or even working out on my lonesome.
However, being an introvert has a different look and feel when you pack up and move to a new city like New York. If I was feeling especially lonely back home, I could call up a friend, meet for a coffee or a hike, and my loneliness would instantly be cured.
It's not so simple here in New York City. Making friends is actually really, really hard. This place also houses the most driven, inspirational people on the planet, so I find it understandable that Taylor Swift's girl squad isn't posting Craigslist ads for another member. (Unless, Tay, are you reading this? We're in the same zip code now, girl.)
So, imagine my surprise when I learned Bumble had just introduced a social app for girl squads. That's right; there is now an app that will help you find your newest hiking, running, brunching, getting sh*tfaced and inhaling pizza with buddy.
OK, I've got this Bumble BFF thing in the bag. I mean, how different from the original Bumble or Tinder could it be? Well, I was very wrong.
Here are some of the most horrifying thoughts that ran through my head as I used Bumble BFF for the first time:
1. I haven't the slightest clue what my profile picture should be.
Similar to other dating apps, Bumble BFF automatically uploads your first six profile pictures after syncing with your Facebook page. At first glance, mine seem decent. There are a few with me and my boyfriend, a solo pic of myself from a music festival last year and a shot of me and my brother tailgating.
But, as I began to browse through other BFF pictures, I started having second thoughts. These girls are cool, like, really cool. Being in Manhattan, you're likely to see a ton of women who are either supermodel gorgeous, work for an insanely prestigious company or all of the above.
Based on my current profile pic rotation, I'm pretty f*cking boring. If I want to get girls to swipe for me, I have to look like someone they would actually want to be friends with.
With traditional opposite-sex dating apps, getting a guy to swipe right isn't rocket science. Although I give kudos to the guys who actually read through bios and look for intellectual cues, let's be honest: Good lighting and angles are your friends here. Finding out if you and that person are a true match comes after the connection.
So, unless your potential BFF is same-sex leaning, those “sexy” pics won't work. This makes the experience doubly hard. I have to convince someone I'm a fun, likable person (which is more difficult than it sounds).
2. I can't come up with a non-generic bio to save my life.
If my Bumble BFF spirit sister is anything like me, she's going to read through bios. (Also, she should be. Isn't that what the app is for?)
Here's what I initially typed: Just moved here from Arizona to NYC. Writer, editor, runner, hiker. Always down for a drink.
Again, this is boring. It quickly became clear to me this would be even more challenging than the picture fiasco. So, I revised: Love meeting new people. Let's explore NYC.
Now, I sounded like a wide-eyed foreign exchange student. Let's try this again: A/S/L?
OK, now I'm sounding like a dude from "To Catch A Predator." But at the rate I was coming up with dreadful bios, using pervy chatroom phrases wasn't far-off.
Eventually, this is what I landed on: Just moved here from Arizona. Writer, editor, runner, lifter, but most importantly, always down for a drink (or five). Current likes: Justin Bieber's latest album (no shame), "The Mindy Project," my cat (certified cat lady).
Let's see which lady friend bites.
3. Is it possible to find BFF love at first sight?
I'm not sure what I was expecting as I launched into my first round of swiping on Bumble BFF, but I certainly didn't expect the vast majority of girls to be, well, normal.
Well, what do you know? The very first female to pop up graduated from Arizona State University in 2011, just like me. Holy f*cking sh*t. You know when you have that ridiculously good looking guy on your Tinder or Bumble rotation, and hope to god he swipes right back? Well, this was the BFF equivalent.
She was perfect, as creepy as that sounds. She had a few pictures of herself tailgating at ASU and attending her friend's wedding. She even had a few selfies that were just so darn cute.
Immediately, I swiped left. “Congrats! You and Alissa both want to be BFFs!” Success. Although I immediately wanted to call Alissa, buy us both a bottle of vino and cue up Netflix, I knew I needed to play the BFF field.
4. This is making me feel judgmental.
As I continued swiping, something just started to feel off. Humans are natural judgers. Our ancestors had to judge sketchy situations for potential threats. We judge prospective mates based on their physical characteristics, to ensure our future offspring have stellar genes. Heck, as shallow as most dating sites might be, they're really only streamlining one of our most basic human instincts: to pursue a hell of a good-looking mate.
But, this kind of judging felt more like Regina George than ancestral instinct. As I scrolled through potential BFF after potential BFF, I found myself defining them based on pretty trivial stuff.
“Eh, too hipster.”
“Too much of a partier.”
“Definitely not into that kind of music.”
“We have absolutely nothing in common.”
But the worst thought of all was, these girls were probably thinking the same things about me.
5. I actually have to talk to them first?
By the end of my first Bumble BFFing session, I had four matches. In the traditional opposite-sex swiping world, my effort would have stopped here. Call me backwards or old-fashioned, but I've hardly ever struck up a conversation with a guy first.
Well, that game plan wasn't working so well this time around. Thirty minutes later, no response. One hour later, still no response.
Five hours later? Alissa, what are you doing, god dammit?
As I assumed Alissa was busy working, running, babysitting, passed out drunk somewhere or doing anything besides looking at her phone, it dawned on me. I had to make the first move.
A/S/L? Just kidding. Ultimately, I decided to strike up a conversation by using the trait that enticed me to swipe left in the first place: our mutual college.
Hi, fellow Arizona State alum. How are you liking NYC so far? Not going to lie, I was pretty stoked to see another ASU-er on here.
Unfortunately, Alissa never took the bait. But, that doesn't mean I've given up my hunt for the ultimate BFF as I continue to draft clever pickup lines for new matches and scout the Bumble BFF pool.
(But really, Taylor Swift, we're neighbors now, girl. Think about it.)
This article was originally published on the author's personal blog.