Reading time: 5 minutes
The last time I made a major move eight years ago, there were no apps for making friends. Now, there is Hey!VINA and Bumble. At first, I was hesitant to use friendship apps again. I wanted to make friends in person and skip the online security risk, the people hiding behind their screens, misrepresenting themselves. Moreover, I did not think that there was a need for friendship apps. There are so many social events in Seattle unlike where I used to live in Edmonton.
I love Seattle. I love how Seattle has more art galleries than in several Canadian cities combined. I love all the green spaces that give Seattle the moniker “Emerald City”. I love how you can see both the ocean and mountains at the same time. What I do not love is the “Seattle freeze”.
“Seattle freeze” is the social phenomenon that despite Seattleites being polite, it is difficult for transplants from other cities to make friends.
A Lyft or Uber driver was the first person to tell me about the “Seattle freeze“. Since then, I have heard other people talk about it. A friend of a friend, a guy from New York, experienced the “Seattle freeze”. He would meet people, exchange numbers, and then when he texted or called them later, nothing… Some say that it is related to the Scandinavian heritage of a portion Seattleites. The “Seattle freeze” is also known as the “Scandinavian factor“.
Scandinavian or not, a Seattleite explained to me that when Seattleites meet a “transplant”, they may come across as snobby, but it’s only because they’re trying to figure out if the person is worth getting to know. Does this statement not sound snobby or contradictory to you? Maybe they think it is not worth getting to know people who might be moving away soon. There are more and more non-Seattleites in the Seattle area though because of companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Alaska Airlines that are headquartered in Seattle or nearby Bellevue.
A lot of people automatically assume that I work in tech for Amazon when I tell them that I am new in town. I can tell when someone is a Seattleite based on the way they talk to me: polite but not outgoing. They express no interest in making plans or getting to know me better. It did not take long to realize that going to events is not enough to expand my social circle in Seattle.
To increase my chances of making friends in Seattle, I decided to venture into the land of friendship apps again. I redownloaded Hey!VINA and looked at six or so profiles a day, pacing myself. The app used to be free. Now, it offers showing you who swiped right for a fee. (No thanks!) It told me that eighty-six VINAs wanted to meet me, yet I swiped and swiped with almost no matches. Also, I noticed that many of the profiles were not up to date, mentioning the wrong time of the year.
It was time to move onto to Bumble. When I was in Edmonton, I met my good friend Sara on Bumble BFF. She is also a blogger, also trying to make new friends.
So far, Bumble BFF shows promise. The profiles that I have seen so far are up to date. I will keep you posted on my Bumble BFF journey! Subscribe to my blog (at the bottom of the page)!
It has been almost three months since I started using Bumble BFF. I am happy to report that Bumble BFF has more active users than Hey!VINA. There are so many active users that I developed four guidelines for who to swipe left (AKA no thanks):
1. No profile picture or piece of clothing hiding face like a toque or beanie
I need to know who I am looking for when I meet up with someone in a public place. I would like to make friends who are not too lazy to post pictures of themselves and friends with healthy self-esteem who get pictures taken to remember happy moments.
2. Too many profile pictures, especially with lots of skin and tongues sticking out
From one extreme to the other… I am not looking for someone to date on a friendship app, and I am definitely not looking for narcissistic or vain friends.
3. Pictures of so many people that I cannot identify who the profile belongs to
Is it this girl with curly hair, the one with wavy hair, or the one with straight hair next to her? Some girls style their hair so many ways that they can look different in each picture too.
4. No common interests
Being the same age, having the same socioeconomic or educational background, and living in the same neighborhood are not enough to make a lasting friendship. Most of my close friends look nothing like me and are not in the veterinary field, yet we do not run out of conversation topics after five minutes. Why? We have common interests and values.
Let’s say a potential friend tells you that he or she dislikes something that is near and dear to your heart like cats. Is that a deal breaker? Do you still give them a chance? The person might just not have had any positive experiences with cats. My friend Jack had not met any nice cats before he met mine. Sara messaged me about this dilemma.
I am more likely to swipe right for people who have cats and/or dogs in their profile pictures. It is easier to make plans with people who have dogs (hello dog playdates) or cats (hello cat café). Check out my other blog post on cat cafés!
With my four guidelines, I realize that I could be eliminating good people who can be good friends. They are just guidelines to help save time and prevent my feelings from being hurt.
Shifting gears, I wanted to explore the reasons people make friends:
1. Assuage loneliness
“It’s common to feel lonely, to think of yourself as something small and solitary in the vastness of things. It’s easy then to think of a friend as a home territory carved out of that vastness, a kind of living diary for sharing and storing the feelings of the day so that life can go on more or less as usual.” —John Tarrant, Zen Master and author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life
Check out my other blog post on loneliness!
2. To have a partner for activities that one cannot do alone like sports and card/board games
I recently discovered that there are card games other than Solitaire that one can play alone such as Gym. In this game, you pick kids to play in different sporting events reminiscent of many of our childhood gym classes.
Additionally, there are collaborative games where players help each other accomplish a common goal instead of competing with other players. Two such games are Hanabi (Japanese for fireworks 花火) (pictured below) where players collect fireworks cards and Castle Panic where players stop monsters from attacking their towers.
3. For financial gain/multi-level marketing (MLM) companies selling Tupperware, makeup, etc.
4. Social pressure: for protection, to fit in, to not be on the receiving end of bullying
3 and 4 are real reasons people make friends though you do not hear about them often. Who would openly say that they are only friends with so and so because they need more people to sell products to or because it is easier to be friends with that person than to not be friends?
1 and 2 are the most common reasons to make friends. Those are the two reasons I want to make friends. When your social needs are being met and you do not need more friends for any of the reasons listed above, then you are more likely to “freeze” or ignore texts/calls inviting you out.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post! Until next time…