HOUSTON — If you're one of the thousands of women who moves to Houston each year, you may not know how to make a new friend. The city is huge and social media is intimidating. It may seem like every gal already has all the pals she needs. Sparking a conversation at the gym can be hard and some women don't feel comfortable making friends with women they work with.
So, why not download an app and swipe left or right?
Dating apps like Bumble have figured out the formula.
So in 2016, the company launched Bumble BFF. It's a friend-finding feature on the app that works just like the dating app. According to Bumble, Houston is one of the top five cities that use Bumble BFF the most. We're talking women between the ages of 23 and 39.
Bumble BFF works just like its dating counterpart. Men and women create a profile and share details about their personal lives, hobbies and things they're looking for in a friend.
If you match, you're immediately connected so a conversation can start.
As of January 2020, more than 35 million connections have been made on Bumble BFF and over 200 million messages have been sent on Bumble BFF globally. 23 to 29 is the most popular age group to use Bumble BFF and the app is also for men.
The company says the number of men who use the friend-finding features has increased 55 percent in the past year.
Lizzie and Christine both live in the Houston area and formed a friendship with the help of the app.
“I was new to the city of Houston. All of my close girlfriends lived in other cities, and at this age, I knew that having a quality female friendship was very important to me," wrote Christine. "One night, I discovered Bumble BFF and was swiping along when I saw Lizzie's profile. We swiped right, chatted up a storm, and set our first date at Wooster's Garden."
"We had never been on a Bumble BFF 'date'/meet-up before, so we were a little nervous. Over drinks we had discussed many things including our families, travels, favorite shows. Three strong cocktails and several hours later, we joked as if it were the end of a romantic date and said things like "This was great. Would you like to do this again soon?" in a somewhat awkward manner," wrote Christine. "Our second date was at a Frida-themed event at a Mexican restaurant in Houston. Guests were encouraged to dress up as Frida, and she did so without hesitation. Bonding over Frida Kahlo, delicious Mexican food, and dressing up, I knew I had found a lasting friendship."
Other friend-finding apps exist.
In August 2016, KHOU told viewers about Hey! Vina. It helped creator Olivia Poole find friends of her own when she moved to San Francisco.
“We’re bringing together women for social experiences to network like friends and use modern dating technology to make it happen today,” said Poole who launched her app in January.
“I’d say we’re best friends,” said 24-year old Kate of her new friend Michelle. “We text each other every day.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT HEY! VINA: App created to help women make friends
The two matched and met through Hey! Vina back in May.
“And, we hit it off immediately. It was just instant,” said Michelle.
According to the Texas Demographic Center, about 160,000 people moved to Houston between July 2014 and July 2015. According to state statistics, a bulk of them moved from California, Florida and Illinois.
“Houston now feels way more like home because I have people here that I associate home, and love and friendship and fun,” said Michelle.
Hey! Vina works like a dating app. You upload photos, fill out a profile and swipe left if you’re not interested in the match, swipe right if you think you’ve found a friend.
According to Poole, Vina is the Icelandic equivalent of “gal pal” or “amiga.”
“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” encouraged Michelle.