What I learned using a 'friendship app'

PHOTO: Reuters

Inspired by an app that lets you swipe for new pals, Tiffanie Wen explores how the digital age has changed friendship.

Nowadays, telling someone that you've started using a dating app is hardly an unusual thing to say. Unless it's to your new husband.

I signed up to the dating app Bumble, which, like other apps such as Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge and Happn, offer a route to romance.

But I'm using Bumble's BFF mode, a new setting launched in March for women looking to make platonic friends.

Just as singles swipe right to indicate they're interested in going on a romantic date with someone, women on BFF can now swipe right for the platonic equivalent.

In fact a host of new apps aimed at making friends have launched in recent months.

Hey VINA!, an app for women seeking platonic friendships, launched in January, while Patook, which launched in April, allows you to assign points to specific traits you're looking for in potential friends.

Even Tinder is testing a new friend-making setting called Tinder Social with a group of users in Australia.

But will they work? I decided to find out for myself. I also set out to discover what science has to say about friendship in the 21st Century - how it shapes our happiness, for example - and whether technology might be changing that.

After three days of swiping right on about 20 women between the ages of 26 and 39 located within 100 miles (161km) from me in Tel Aviv, I still had no matches, and started to get nervous.

"Why doesn't anyone want to be friends with me?" I wondered to anyone who would listen, while analysing my profile for flaws.

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