Hey, wanna be pals? That’s the premise of Bumble for Friends, a new app now available for iOS and Android in select countries and rolling out to others soon.
“Wait,” you’re saying. Didn’t Bumble already have a friend thing? Yes.
Bumble’s app has modes for dating, friendship, and networking, but users had to toggle between them. Bumble for Friends is a stand-alone platform where users can swipe on potential platonic friends.
And unlike BFF, it also allows users to start group chats to plan activities for multiple matches — escape room followed by brunch, anyone?
People are lonely
Per a Harvard University study on loneliness, 36% of Americans feel “serious loneliness,” a number that increases among young adults ages 18-25 (61%) and mothers with young children (51%). Why?
- Gen Z missed out on a lot of in-person socialization thanks to the pandemic, attending high school, college, and more over Zoom.
- They also work more and make less, making it harder to socialize.
- Remote work has led to a dip in work friendships.
- People are also moving away from meeting spaces like organized religion and recreational sports, per The Washington Post.
This is all on top of pre-pandemic friendship hurdles, including big life changes like moving to a new city or becoming a parent.
But stigmas are changing
If it feels weird to find friends online, remember that it used to feel weird to find dates online.
As the wariness around meeting people virtually first diminishes, more people are forming communities with Discord, Reddit, Meetup, and more.
- Per a Bumble for Friends survey, 67% of Gen Z respondents shared that making new friends online lessens loneliness.
- 57% of teens say they’ve met a friend online, typically via social media or gaming.
Now to the real hard part: Getting people you met online to show up IRL.
Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox
Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less