We get it, friendship is hard sometimes. Especially in college and when your schedule is jam-packed with club meetings, study sessions and midday naps. Finding ways to meet your new besties can feel impossible and overwhelming. But what if—like almost every problem we face in the 21st century—there was an app for that?
Sure, the idea of meeting people through an app might give you flashbacks to that awful Tinder conversation you had with a frat bro, but friendship apps don’t come with as many warning labels. (Of course, still be safe when using the Internet for anything!) After all, there are less expectations with friendship in general; most people are just looking for a new buddy to go to the movies with, or someone to tag along when they want to check out the new coffee shop in town.
But if you’re still nervous about the potential awkwardness or discomfort when it comes to meeting your future BFFs through an app, we’ve rounded up some of the best options for you.
1. Bumble BFF
Bumble is a tried-and-true dating app, but that’s not all it has to offer—they branched out into both friendships and business connections with Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz, respectively. Bumble BFF works much like its dating counterpart: once you’re matched with someone, you have 24 hours to send them a message, and then they have 24 hours to respond.
The app even had one million swipes the week that it launched, so there’s so many of potential friends out there. No shame in using a friendship app when everyone else is doing it, too!
It’s all in the name with We3, and they understand that meeting one-on-one with a potential friend you met through your screen can be intimidating. That’s why they match people in groups of three—we know it’s been said that three’s a crowd, but in this case, it could get rid of all those awkward conversation pauses you have when meeting someone new. The groups of three help establish that this app is for friendship, not dating. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than going on a friendship app only to see that one person is mistakenly hoping to score a hookup on there.
The app works by having you take a bunch of quizzes about your interests and beliefs, and then the algorithm matches you with your “tribe,” AKA group of three. I tried this one out myself, and rest assured that We3 really wants you to find your people, because there were so many questions, spanning from your political beliefs to whether or not you’re an outdoors person. You just swipe right on a question for yes, left for no, and up if you’re neutral about it. Sometimes they’ll even ask for more specific info. When you’re done, you’ll be able to see exactly which of your interests overlap, too, so you don’t have to think too hard about talking points. No pressure or stress, just new friendships. What more could you want?
Meetup is perfect for all those times you said you wanted to do something fun or different but didn’t have anyone to do it with. You can start your own group for people in the community to join, or you can hop into one of the popular Meetups. Examples include Book Club Meetup groups, fitness Meetup groups, networking Meetup groups and more. Whatever you like to do, we pretty much guarantee there’s other people in your community that like to do it too. Finding your new study buddies or workout partners just got that much easier.
Meetup is free to download, but if you’re hoping to create a new group, you’ll unfortunately have to pay. You can try out their unlimited 1-month subscription for $14.99.
4. Hey! VINA
Hey! VINA is marketed as “Tinder for (girl) friends,” so you can rest assured there’s no creepy DMs to make you uncomfortable on this platform. And anyway, lady-friendships are the best.
You take a quiz when you first sign up that will ask you about your interests and lifestyle, and then you can see how compatible you are when matching with others. Once you match with someone, you’ll be in a chat room with your potential new friend with the aim of making IRL plans ASAP—as little waiting for them to text back as possible. Then, let the wine nights and slumber parties begin!
We all love our core group of friends, but maybe you’re hoping to branch out a bit, because let’s face it: after a while, girls’-night-in can get a little boring. (Unless that’s more your speed, of course.)
This is where CLIQ comes in: It’s a group-based app that works a bit like social media. Your group makes one profile (a “Cliq”) and can then follow other Cliqs to get updates on their activities and to message them about meeting up. The app is all about making genuine connections and meeting up IRL with other Cliqs—when you match with another group, the app will send you suggestions for things to do or check out together based on your shared interests. Easy peasy!
Making friends can be hard, and turning to an app might not be your first chosen solution. But friendship apps aren’t as uncomfortable as people may make them out to be—in fact, they could lead to new connections you never would’ve known you could have. Hopefully these five apps are a great starting point for you to make all the friends we know you deserve!