Americans are turning to dating apps to find friends

Gaby Deimeke, 26, told Fox News she started using Bumble BFF to find friends when she moved to Austin, Texas

Looking for a new friend? You might consider trying a dating app. 

That’s what 26-year-old Gaby Deimeke did after she moved to Austin, Texas, in 2019. 

After hearing about Bumble BFF at a music festival, Deimeke download the app and gave it a try.

 Bumble BFF, which originally launched in 2016, is a platform within the dating app Bumble, specifically to help people connect with platonic friends. 

Deimeke told FOX News: "I just thought it was a really cool idea because being kind of a younger generation where we're really into technology, I thought that combining not just the dating app, but also the friend part …I thought it was really ingenious."

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The app was also especially helpful when, a few months later, the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. 

Gaby Deimeke, 26, from Austin, Texas, (left) told Fox News she used Bumble BFF to find friends when she moved to Austin in 2019. She met her friend Alex (right) and even invited Alex to her birthday party. 

Gaby Deimeke, 26, from Austin, Texas, (left) told Fox News she used Bumble BFF to find friends when she moved to Austin in 2019. She met her friend Alex (right) and even invited Alex to her birthday party.  (Courtesy of Gaby Deimeke)

"During the pandemic it was actually perfect because people weren't really going out and that's how you normally meet people," Deimeke said. "I had just moved to Austin from New York so I didn't know anybody and I needed a way to start building those connections."

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Deimeke isn’t alone. According to a survey conducted by OnePulse for The Wall Street Journal, 35% of Gen Z respondents – between the ages of 16 to 24 – said they used dating apps to find friends in the last year, including 27% who said they used apps for friends because they were lonely during the pandemic. 

Similarly, Bumble President Tariq Shaukat said the Bumble BFF platform has seen an increase in interest over the last year.

"During the first three months of 2021, the average time spent on Bumble BFF has grown 44% for women and 83% for men – which indicates that as cities are beginning to reopen, people are ready to meet new people and revive their social lives after a year of increased isolation for many," Shaukat said in a statement provided to FOX News. "Additionally, over 90% of women who initiated contact on BFF in March 2021 found at least one match."

Match Group also reportedly saw an uptick in interest in people’s interest in friendships on its platforms, which include Tinder, Hinge, Plenty of Fish and more, according to The Journal. 

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Meanwhile, the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel remains focused on helping its users find romantic partners for long-term relationships, rather than friendships. 

Dawoon Kang, the co-founder and chief dating officer of Coffee Meets Bagel, told FOX News that if the company does ever decide to help users find friends, it will be sure to separate those two platforms clearly.

"One of the biggest frustrations that daters experience on a dating app is this lack of clarity on what the other person might be looking for," Kang said, adding, "It creates a ton of confusion and frustration when we run into situations where clearly you've been matched with somebody that is not looking for the same thing."

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For Deimeke, Bumble BFF has been a success. 

The women have become such good friends that Deimeke will even be going to Alex’s wedding in Spain this fall. 

The women have become such good friends that Deimeke will even be going to Alex’s wedding in Spain this fall.  (Courtesy of Gaby Deimeke)

"My friend Alex, we met on Bumble BFF," Deimeke said. "She ended up coming to my birthday party and now I'm going to her wedding in Spain this fall."

Now that she’s built a solid group of 10 or 12 friends in Austin, Deimeke isn’t using the app as much to find new friends. However, she said she does recommend the app to others who might want to make new friends. 

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Deimeke said she connects with friends who have similar interests like art, photography or trying a new sushi place.