How To Use Bumble BFF To Make New Pals, According To A Pro

Ready to get swiping and meet your soul people?

A friendship expert's guide on how to use Bumble BFF.
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It’s no secret that making new friends as an adult can be hard. Of course, social media makes it easier than ever to stay in regular communication with your BFFs — but socializing IRL has suffered slightly in the digital age.

While joining local clubs, taking classes, or hanging out at your favorite local bars bring the potential for meeting your next bestie, not everyone has the time or social battery for that. This is where learning how to use Bumble BFF, a digital platform for meeting new pals, comes in. Established in 2016 as a component of the Bumble dating app, Bumble BFF is a way to “date” new friends — you treat it similarly to how you would the Bumble date feature, but swipe through and message with potential platonic pals instead.

Just like in the dating version of the app, you have 24 hours to send a message to your BFF matches — and they do, too. This leaves a little less pressure on one person to make the first move, especially if one of you is more introverted than the other. Another perk? According to Danielle Bayard Jackson, Bumble BFF’s friendship expert, using the app is also a great way to meet new people that you might have not had the chance to meet otherwise. “We’ve heard plenty of stories from those who went to the same school or constantly visited the same coffee shop as another person, but they didn’t officially meet until they saw one another on the app,” she tells Bustle. “Whether new to a city or looking to expand your social circle, Bumble BFF is a simplified and empowering way to create meaningful friendships.”

Ready to get swiping and meet your soul people? Read on for Jackson’s 12 tips for making the most out of Bumble BFF.


Curate Fun Photos


When you’re initially building your profile, Jackson says you should try to visually showcase your personality. “Upload at least four photos that show you doing things you love,” she says. “I recommend that the first photo is a solo image of yourself so that people know who exactly they are talking to. You can always include a photo of yourself with friends later in your other pictures.”


Read People’s Profiles To Find Commonalities

Reading your potential BFF’s profile in full can ensure that you know exactly what you have in common, and what you might not. As Jackson says, “As you’re swiping through Bumble BFF, read what others have written about themselves and check out their Profile Badges to better understand whether you have something in common and would like to connect.” Some of the most popular badges used in the U.S. refer to users’ exercise habits and their zodiac signs, Jackson shares.


Make It Clear What You’re Looking For

On the app’s BFF mode, Jackson says you can (and should) use the “Looking For” profile badge to display your intentions in making new friends. “Let folks know what you’re all about and what you’re looking for in a new friendship, whether it’s an exercise buddy or someone to explore the town with,” she tells Bustle. Who knows, you just might meet your new gym partner.


Personalize Your First Message


Get creative with your opening line. “Instead of sending something generic, such as ‘Hey! How was your weekend?’ I recommend taking it a step further by sending a personalized and thoughtful first message, which can open the door to a fun and playful exchange,” Jackson says. This is where reading your matches’ profile fully comes in handy, so you can mention the picture they took in Bali or that your dog is also your soulmate.


Ask Questions To Keep The Convo Going

Break the ice by giving your potential pal a reason to respond. Jackson’s tip? Keep your match chatting by asking questions. Does their profile say they love running? Consider asking them about their favorite workout shoes or what’s on their running playlist, and they’ll be excited to talk about it.


Focus On Quality Over Quantity

Forming genuine friendships on Bumble BFF is more than possible, but Jackson recommends focusing on building up trust and familiarity with your matches before trying to jump straight into a full-fledged friendship. “Spend time getting to know the other person by engaging in safe ‘small talk’ and then gradually reveal more about who you are and what you value,” she says. “This creates the trust necessary to cultivate something deeper.” From there, you’ll have more of a foundation that you can build off of to deepen your relationship.


Take Your Time


Even if you just moved to a new city and are ready to find your local bestie, building quality connections takes time. “Meeting new people should be a fun journey, but it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself when making new connections — regardless of whether it’s romantic or platonic,” says Jackson. “Always prioritize cultivating and maintaining a good mental space for yourself.”


Liven Up The Conversation

Bumble BFF offers features that can help you jazz up your messages and switch things up when the convo gets stale. “If you think that the lull is happening because you need to infuse energy into the conversation, try to humanize the experience by adding personal touches and variety within the messages,” Jackson says. “For example, are you talking about your pets? Send them an image of your dog! Instead of sending them a long list of your favorite spots in town via a Bumble message, why don’t you send them an audio note instead?”


Try To Get Some Face Time

If you’re one of those people who prefers calling over texting, you’re in luck. “You can even hop on Bumble’s Voice Call and Video Chat feature to ‘meet’ the other person face-to-face,” says Jackson.


Move It IRL As Soon As You Vibe


Once you get a feel for the potential connection, Jackson says that it’s a good idea to make plans to meet up in person rather than stay pen pals for too long. “I recommend taking the conversation from within the app to something in real life as soon as you feel comfortable enough to do so,” she says. “Studies have shown that those who take their interactions from the digital space to IRL tend to receive more satisfaction from the relationship.” Of course, go at your own pace and make sure you have built a sense of familiarity first.


Keep It Low Pressure

When planning your first IRL meeting, Jackson says to consider “something low-pressure,” like meeting for a walk, a cup of coffee, or a cocktail. That way, if any awkwardness ensues or if you find that you just don’t vibe, there’s less pressure to stick around for a full meal.


Have A New Experience Together

Why not venture out of your comfort zone a bit? “Rather than visiting one of your favorite spots in town, I recommend visiting a neutral spot that neither of you has visited before so that you can create a shared and memorable experience together,” says Jackson. Sharing that new experience together can deepen the bond you started to create on the app.


Danielle Bayard Jackson, Bumble BFF’s friendship expert