State Press Play: Can making friends really bee this easy?

An interview with a BumbleBFF user discussing her experience using the feature on the popular dating app


BumbleBFF is a feature that is a part of the popular dating app Bumble. In this interview, podcaster Mackenzie Marchello took the app to Tempe campus and met up with another BumbleBFF user, Kennedy Hall to discuss their experiences on the app, both the positive and negative. 


 Mackenzie Marchello: Apps like Tinder and Bumble are often synonymous with cringey messages and awkward first dates, but recently dating apps have taken to connecting people to more than just their one true love. Now, many of these apps are starting to include a "find new friends feature" that allows users to connect with people who are looking for friendship rather than a romantic relationship. 

In order to better understand how apps like these work, I took the BumbleBFF and did my best to make some new friends. 

Kennedy Hall: Hi, my name is Kennedy Hall. I am a communications major at ASU and I'm at my senior year of college. 

Mackenzie Marchello: Why do you think people use BumbleBFF? 

Kennedy Hall: I feel like there are so many reasons people use BumbleBFF. Personally, I did it to just find people with the same hobbies and interests that I have. But, I think throughout my time being on the app, I've kind of come to realize a lot of people use it as a social ladder. I think a lot of it is more image based and it's less genuine than you would think. 

Mackenzie Marchello: What do you mean by a social ladder? What do they do that makes you feel that way? 

Kennedy Hall: I think like sometimes you'll kind of get in these conversations with these girls and it's kind of later throughout the conversation, you realize, right now they're just trying to plug a product to me or they're interested in one little aspect about my life. It's just not genuine. It's more party based. And that's when I realized, OK, this person doesn't care about me. They just want to see what I have to offer them. 

Mackenzie Marchello: You kind of talked about this already, but why did you specifically start using BumbleBFF? Did you just find it randomly or were you actively seeking friends? 

Kennedy Hall: No, it's so funny you ask me this. So basically, I have this really cool guy friend whose name is Alex. He was telling me about how he went on this great hiking trip with this group of girls. And I was like, "How did you meet them?" And he was like, "They are complete strangers. I actually met them on BumbleBFF." And I'm like, "Do tell. What's that?"

Because we only know Bumble and all these other social apps for dating. And I was like, "There's one for making friends?" And he was like, "Yeah, you should check it out." And that's what motivated me to check it out. And I've been wanting to find people who are really into photography and film and just the same interests that I have because I love a lot of my friends, but not all of them have the exact same interests. And that's kind of why I did it. 

Mackenzie Marchello: When you did start using it. Did anything make you uncomfortable or feel weird when you're using it? 

Kennedy Hall: I'm a pretty open book. I love very out there people, I guess you could say. I don't think I follow the norm in choosing friends. I like people who are themselves no matter what. They don't care what people think about them. I'm pretty accepting of everyone, so I know there was nothing really shocks me online. I think the only thing that ever makes me uncomfortable is when I know somebody is clearly trying to use me. And most of the time I just kind of end the conversation. I think that's the only time I would say I feel uncomfortable, but I've never had a severe experience where I was like, this is horrible. 

Mackenzie Marchello: Along with your experiences, what was the craziest or strangest thing that ever happened to you? 

Kennedy Hall: Okay, fun fact about me. I'm like six-foot-one. And so there's this girl who messaged me and she was like, "Oh, my God, I'm like nearly six-foot-one. I'm not as tall as you girl, but we could go out and get drinks and be tall together at the clubs." And I was like, OK, my kind of girl, you know, I love that. I love that. And that's when I realized, she was clearly a personal trainer. I could tell she was kind of roping in and just picking a bunch of different people. Because when I was looking through her Instagram, she does this at-home workout and there's tons of girls going to her home workouts. I'm like, this is what this is about. This is why she's asking me things like, did you play sports back in school and all this stuff. It wasn't about wanting to know my interests. It was literally her trying to plug her services. 

Because what happened was I was trying to make plans with her. I was talking to her and getting to know her. And that's when she just took a complete 180 and was like, actually, I don't want to do that anymore. But what I do want to do is go to my gym because I'm a personal [trainer] And then she went on and on and I was like alright, this is bull----. 

Mackenzie Marchello: She was really nice, obviously. 

Kennedy Hall: No, she was sweet, but she was just shady. 

Mackenzie Marchello: Did you meet anybody that was like rude or mean, you know how on dating apps sometimes you'll run into someone rude to you?

Kennedy Hall: Actually, there was this lovely girl. And I met her because I was obsessed with how she views fashion and style. And so I met up with her at Lux Coffee, a bomb place, everyone should go check it out. She was just fabulous. The nicest girl. I loved hearing everything that she had to say about fashion and culture, and it was just a phenomenal experience. I have yet to have a really horrible experience, but when it comes to BumbleBFF it's been great, except just talking to some of these shady girls. But you kind of just like, un-add them and move on. 

Mackenzie Marchello: Do you think you've achieved whatever you set out to do when you downloaded the app? 

Kennedy Hall: Make friends? The thing is, I want to say no, just because I've been on these apps for a while. Not even just BumbleBFF. I think everyone can relate to this when you're on these apps, you do the same conversation, "Oh what's your major? No way. Oh, you like cooking and movies and random stuff like that?" And so I think I just became a little desensitized that I even found myself becoming like a little inhuman. I'd go through someone's profile and like, "Hmm... that looks off. Next." And now I sit back and I'm like, that's not who I am. 

So right now, I'm sitting back and taking a break because I don't know, I don't want to be a cold hearted, judgmental person. That's so not who I am. Yeah, that's kind of what's been going on. So I guess I didn't fully get what I wanted. But, you know, it's OK. 

Mackenzie Marchello: Do you think your experience was overall positive, though? Would you recommend other people using them? 

Kennedy Hall: Yes, I'd recommend other people using them, especially if you're new to the area and you really want to make friends. Absolutely. 

Mackenzie Marchello: For The State Press, I'm Mackenzie Marchello. 


Previous episode(s): 

State Press Places: A flaming hot museum                                     

State Press Play: Academics and the Tarot, where is the connection?     


Reach the reporter at mmarchel@asu.edu and on Twitter @kenzieenm

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