Bumble Is Ready To Help You Find Your Next BFF With Its New Friendship App

No, you're not imagining it: Making new, lasting friendships as an adult is hard. A 2016 study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science backed this up when it discovered that people tend to start losing friends at the age of 25. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic made it especially hard to socialize, and as a result, the majority of young adults in the United States lost touch with at least some of their friends, per the Survey Center on American Life.

To offer a solution, the dating app Bumble launched BFF in 2016, a feature that gives people the chance to form platonic connections online. BFF mode is similar to the regular dating mode on the app, where users can create a profile and swipe right on those they want to form a friendship with. Once they match, the new friends can strike up a conversation and gauge their bestie compatibility.

Bumble is launching a new app based on the BFF concept called Bumble For Friends. The platform focuses solely on friendships, without the background dating app clutter found on the original Bumble app, and it might be your ticket to finding your platonic soulmate.

Bumble For Friends makes it easier to find friendship matches

In June 2023, sources told Mashable that Bumble was testing out a new friend-making app after realizing that 15% of its main app users were active on BFF. After a low-key trial run in the U.K. and a few Asian markets, Bumble announced on its Instagram profile that the new Bumble For Friends app was live.

According to the company's website, the platform works just like BFF — simply swipe, match, and chat your way to friendship. By stripping away Bumble's online dating features, Bumble For Friends might help potential besties find each other more seamlessly. "Having a dedicated Bumble For Friends app that's separate from the dating experience makes friendship-finding easier for people looking to make meaningful platonic connections in their area," Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble's founder and CEO, revealed in a Business Wire press release.

For current BFF users, profiles and previous matches can be migrated over to the new platform, meaning you don't have to start over from scratch. Keep in mind, though, that once you switch over, BFF will be disabled in the main Bumble app. If you don't make the switch, don't worry — BFF won't disappear, at least for now, the company told TechCrunch.

Can you really make friends online?

With the launch of Bumble For Friends, it's clear that online friendships are becoming more common, but is it actually that easy to bond over a screen? In the app's press release, Whitney Wolfe Herd shared that 67% of Gen Z respondents in a Bumble For Friends survey said online friendships eased their loneliness. Even if digital connections lack in-person eye contact and physical touch, for example, apps that help you meet your new BFF could still play a valuable role in your social life.

However, you may not want to depend too heavily on online matching and virtual chats. "We are so distracted and overloaded by the digital world, yet more online communication does not mean more connection – quite the opposite in fact," Nancy Colier, psychotherapist and author of "The Power Of Off," explained to Stylist. "So if you do meet online, it's vital to move offline and spend plenty of time face-to-face to deepen the connection."

Still, apps like Bumble For Friends might be just what you need to get the ball rolling with a new friend. And if platonic relationships are becoming anything like romantic ones — 39% of which are now found online, according to a 2019 study published in PNAS — friendship apps may be the way of the future.