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Friendzoned. Are friendship apps the next big thing?

Remember when it was easy to make friends? There’s no denying that the older we get, the harder it is to get to know someone outside our existing social circle. But, what if that circle has depleted, you’ve just moved to a new city, or maybe you just want to add a new member to your squad? Well, Bumble – dubbed the “Feminist Tinder” – is here to help!

If you’ve never heard of Bumble, it’s a dating app created by former Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, which came onto the scene at the end of 2014. It works much in the same way as its rival in that you swipe right to like a profile and left to dismiss it, however only women have the ability to talk first. It’s designed to empower women and make them feel safe in a potentially daunting environment. It’s been hugely successful thus far, with over 3.5 million users giving it a try.

Bumble BFF

With dating covered, the app launched a brave new update in March sweetly known as Bumble BFF, which wants to help you find a new best friend. The feature works just like regular Bumble, only instead of swiping to find dates, you have a pool of potential buddies to choose from. To avoid any misdemeanours, Bumble BFF limits your choices to those who are the same gender as you. Perhaps a little presumptuous, but it is an understandable first step to take in the initial rollout of the update to avoid any confusion.

Some may find the idea of a friendship app ridiculous, but it is arguably a natural progression of friendship in an ‘always-on’ era. In a world where social media is meant to keep us more connected than ever, studies have found that people are actually feeling increasingly lonely and isolated, creating online personas that don’t accurately reflect our lives. When was the last time you actually hung out with more than a handful of your Facebook friends? Would you actually pick up the phone to call one of your Twitter followers?

The solution to loneliness?

Bumble BFF highlights an issue that is prevalent amongst an increasing number of young adults, but is rarely spoken about – loneliness. It acknowledges that you are, in fact, not alone and there are other people in the exact same position as you, who you can reach out to. It hopefully signals a shift in attitude towards friendship apps as something that is important and healthy, providing a solution to a problem we should no longer ignore.

With the stigma all but removed from dating apps nowadays, friendships apps could be the next big thing if Bumble BFF is anything to go by.