Known for its quirky profile questions and “progressive” women-message-first philosophy, Bumble has become a favorite for users searching for a little more depth than apps like Tinder. What users may not know is that Bumble has features outside of the dating world.
Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz are the app’s social features for making friends and networking career connections. The Bumble BFF profile set up is virtually the same as normal Bumble, but both parties have 24 hours to message after a match.
When setting up my profile, I prioritized making it funny rather than appearing attractive like a typical dating app profile. To appear quirky and ironic, I chose an iPhone self timer photo of myself and my cat for my first picture. I followed with photos from nights out, more self timer pictures and a shot with my camera to demonstrate my creative interests.
Bumble also includes a “basic info” section where users can add information like what they’re looking for, if they’re in a relationship, whether they have pets or their star sign. I filled out all nine information categories to be thorough.
Profile prompts, meant to spark a conversation with new matches, are a fun aspect of Bumble profiles. I chose “Nightclub or Netflix” (both), “Greatest travel story” (almost arrested) and “The world would be a better place with more…” (cider). Out of my answers, the nightclub vs. Netflix question and my love for cider prompted the most conversations with my matches.
Bumble also gives users the option to connect Instagram and Spotify accounts to their profile. I decided to keep my Instagram private, but I did link my Spotify account in case it attracted any musically like-minded matches.
Once I finished agonizing over my profile, it was time to start swiping. The Bumble BFF swiping system is identical to “dating” Bumble, but I only swiped through other women on BFF. Although I understand Bumble’s intentions, there may be something to say here about the assumption that friendships must happen between the same genders, but I digress.
Swiping was equally as nerve-wracking as on a dating app. I found myself swiping left because of an emoji placement or wondering if certain profiles were too “cool” to match with me. While I found an abundance of profiles while swiping near Atlanta, I did see fewer people around Middle Georgia using Bumble BFF. After about thirty minutes of diligent swiping, Bumble notified me that I had swiped through all of the BFF’ers in my area. Most of my matches near Atlanta fell through once I admitted that I live primarily in Macon, meaning that all of my new friendships would probably only exist over Instagram.
I racked up about fifty “yes” swipes to my profile, but I only made matches with about twenty people. Of my twenty matches, I messaged five people first and around seven messaged me first.
Once I received messages from my matches, I found myself forgetting to respond within the 24 hour period before they expired. I only kept up four conversations without expiring and as of writing this story, zero of them are still ongoing.
As a perpetually busy college student, sending messages to random people on an app within 24 hours started to feel like just another deadline placed on me. I began forcing myself to spend time on Bumble, scheduling in socialization time like a subject in an experiment.
Conversations remained pretty bland, with empty promises to meet up or exchange social media handles going unfulfilled. Since my matches and I are college age, most of my conversations ended up turning to majors and career plans. If I wanted painful networking instead of platonic matchmaking, I would have used Bumble Bizz.
Bumble BFF is a good idea in theory, but it seems like it only works in application if you live in a big city and have an abundance of time for swiping.