A woman laying on a bed looking at their phone to represent the topic of the article - Ditch Dating Apps For Friendship Apps If You're Lonely

Ditch Dating Apps For Friendship Apps If You’re Lonely

Online dating and dating apps play a significant role in our lives, often because we barely have time to socialise and date as we once did. But is that actually making us happy? And would using friendship apps lead to greater feelings of happiness? Hopefully, this article will answer these two questions.



Dating Apps


Dating apps are here to stay because they’re a convenient way to meet and interact with potential partners, changing the game when it comes to romance and sexual relationships for people across the world (Castro and Barrada, 2020).


According to Hobbs, Owen, and Gerber (2017), the data suggest that most people value dating apps to find meaningful partnerships. However, they also note that because many of these apps are image-based, some people can find that the benefits are reserved only for attractive people. This would also likely affect their self-image and self-esteem. I know with my experience of using such services, which is a while ago now, just made me feel shitty about myself.


As dating apps are largely based on users accepting or rejecting another user, if you don’t get any matches, then that can harm your wellbeing and raise the feeling of loneliness. Thomas, Binder, and Matthes (2023), found that lonely people who turn to dating apps aren’t likely to experience relief from their loneliness by collecting matches. They also found that even getting matches doesn’t decrease women’s state loneliness or fear of being single.


While some dating apps allow you to specify that you’re looking for friends, the overall focus is often on romantic connections. This can lead to frustration if you’re primarily seeking platonic relationships. Not to mention the fact that someone could be saying they’re looking for friends as an excuse to be on the app to cheat on their partners.


Dating apps and online dating services often make claims of how they have an algorithm that’ll help match people they’re perfect for. But really, all dating apps tend to do is focus on matching you with people based on specific criteria like age, location, and sometimes interests. Or, just get you to flick through images like you’re looking through a catalogue. This can limit the variety of people you meet. And as you’ve probably realised, such criteria often aren’t enough to find love as people are complex.


According to The Guardian, a class-action lawsuit filed in the American federal court last year accuses the Match Group of doing everything in its power to keep users hooked on their apps. The Match Group owns the likes of Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid dating apps, among others. The lawsuit argues that trying to keep users hooked on their dating apps is in flagrant opposition to Hinge’s claim that it is “designed to be deleted”.


That makes sense. They’re a business, and if people weren’t glued to their dating apps to find love, then their business wouldn’t grow and thus wouldn’t generate the same levels of revenue.




Ditching Dating Apps For Friendship Apps


Dating apps can be a good way to meet potential romantic partners, but if you’re feeling lonely, they might not be the best solution. Here’s why friendship apps could be a good alternative to using dating apps to meet people.


Focus on genuine connection

What we often want from our romantic relationships is genuine connections, but dating apps aren’t always the best place to find such connections. All too often, dating apps are used more for hookups than looking for genuine connections.


Friendship apps, on the other hand, prioritise building connections that aren’t solely romantic. You can connect with people who share your interests and hobbies, allowing you to build platonic relationships. The benefits of this are there’s less pressure. You can also form longer-lasting friendships that help tackle loneliness and allow for the possibility of meeting someone romantically who shares your interests and hobbies.


Simply put, friendship apps are designed to help you connect with like-minded people for friendship and companionship, offering a refreshing change from the romantic focus of dating apps.


Shared interests

Many friendship apps allow you to find people who share your hobbies, interests, or goals, making it easier to bond through common activities and experiences.




Broadening your social circle

Transitioning from dating apps to friendship apps can be a positive step, especially if you’re seeking meaningful connections and companionship beyond romantic relationships. Friendship apps help build meaningful relationships that won’t disappear if the date doesn’t work out. It also allows you to meet people outside your usual social circles. This can expose you to new perspectives and experiences that can combat loneliness.


Reduced pressure and anxiety

Friendship apps often have a more relaxed atmosphere compared to dating apps. You can connect with people without the pressure of a potential romantic relationship. Whereas, dating apps can be anxiety-inducing, with swiping, matching, and the pressure to present yourself a certain way to get a date. This can worsen feelings of loneliness if things don’t work out as planned. Plus, masking to match with someone also isn’t healthy.


It can be harder to approach someone on a dating app, hoping you say the right thing to get a reply. With friendship apps, that pressure isn’t really there.


Supportive communities

Joining online communities through friendship apps can provide a sense of belonging and support as you interact with people who understand and empathise with your experiences.


Be genuine

It’s far easier to be authentic and genuine when interacting with people on friendship apps. Your shared interests and hobbies matter more than how you look and present yourself on a dating app to find a match.


The picture is split in two, with the top image being of a two phones side by side, both displaying images of hearts. The bottom image being of a phone displaying a secltion of dating apps, with the phone resting on a computer keyboard. The two images are separated by the article title - Ditch Dating Apps For Friendship Apps If You're Lonely


Tip For Getting The Most From Friendships Apps


Meetups and events

Many friendship apps organise meetups (Meetup for example), events, or group activities where you can meet people in person. Attend these gatherings to socialise and build connections offline.


Set boundaries

Just like with dating apps, it’s important to set boundaries and prioritise your safety when using friendship apps. Be cautious about sharing personal information and meeting new people in public places initially.


Be patient

Building friendships takes time, so be patient, and be open to getting to know people gradually. Focus on building meaningful connections rather than rushing into friendships.


Stay positive

Approach friendship apps with a positive mindset. Try not to get discouraged if you don’t immediately find your perfect social circle. Keep exploring different profiles and groups, and engage with new people.


Quality over quantity

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t connect with everyone. Focus on building quality friendships with people who share your values and interests.




Friendship Apps


There are many friendship apps available, each with its own focus and user base. Research different options to find one that aligns with your interests, hobbies, and goals. I’ve listed a few friendship apps below to help get you started.


Bumble BFF

Bumble BFF is the friend-finding extension of the popular dating app Bumble. Bumble BFF uses the same swiping system as the dating app, but with a focus on platonic connections. I’d argue that using the same swiping system doesn’t really make it a true friendship-finding app. But that might just be me.


Hey! Vina

Hey! Vina is designed specifically for women looking to make friends with other women. Hey! Vina uses quizzes and prompts to connect users with compatible matches.



Wink allows you to swipe through profiles and wink at people who interest you. If they wink back, you can start chatting. Wink also has a feature that allows you to add a song to your profile, which can be a fun way to express your personality. But again, winking at each other sounds like flirting and looking for a match for the purpose of dating.



The Friender app is another option for finding friends with similar interests. Friender uses a matching system based on your hobbies and interests.



Meetup is a bit different from the other apps on this list, as it focuses on helping people find groups and events related to their interests. This makes Meetup a great way to meet new people who share your passions. This is the friendship-finding app that I suggest to my clients and throughout my blog.


To me, Meetup is what a friendship app should be, because if you’re swiping images of people to find friends, then you’re still basing that on attractiveness. And that just sounds like a dating app pretending to be a friendship app.


So if you’re looking for people with shared hobbies and interests, where you aren’t judged for your looks, then this is the app I’d recommend.




Other Alternatives To Dating Apps And Friendship Apps To Meet People


Join clubs or groups

Consider joining clubs or groups related to your hobbies or interests in your local area. This is a great way to meet like-minded people in a social setting. A good place to start might be your local council’s website or local library.



Volunteering for a cause you care about allows you to connect with others while making a positive impact. One of my very good friends I met through volunteering, and we’ve remained good friends even though we both moved on to other things. I also had good work friends who I used to hang out with while still volunteering with their organisation.


Reconnect with old friends

Reach out to old friends or acquaintances you might have lost touch with. Renewing old friendships can combat loneliness and strengthen your social support system. I have a client who’s recently done just that, and it’s done wonders for their wellbeing.


Join some classes

Join a class, such as a cooking class or a dance class, as that’s another great way to meet people. A good place to start for this would be to check out adult education centres in your area or community boards for posters about such classes.






Are dating apps making us happy? Well, I guess it depends on who you are and what you’re looking for. Both dating apps and friendship apps have their roles to play in our lives. Would using friendship apps lead to greater feelings of happiness? Maybe, but like I said, it would depend on what you’re looking for. However, friendship apps are likely better for helping us manage loneliness, for several reasons.


One reason would be that you can start hanging out with people you find with shared interests and hobbies pretty much right away. Also, unlike dating apps, where if the date doesn’t work out, then you’re likely never to see or talk to them again. Friendship apps like Meetup.com mean that issue isn’t really a factor, meaning you’d be able to build a wider network of friends.


By using friendship apps mindfully and proactively engaging with others, you can combat loneliness and cultivate meaningful connections that enrich your life. Thus, by exploring friendship apps and other avenues for connection, you can build meaningful friendships and overcome feelings of loneliness. Remember, strong social connections are crucial for mental and emotional wellbeing.


Simply put, if you’re lonely for a romantic partner, then dating apps are likely the best way to go. But if you’re looking to make connections and find new friends, then friendship apps are the better option. Plus, such connections through friendship apps can also lead to romance.


As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with dating apps and friendship apps in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, you can sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, click the red bell icon in the bottom right corner to get push notifications for new articles.


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Castro, Á., & Barrada, J. R. (2020). Dating apps and their sociodemographic and psychosocial correlates: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(18), 6500. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/18/6500.

Hobbs, M., Owen, S., & Gerber, L. (2017). Liquid love? Dating apps, sex, relationships and the digital transformation of intimacy. Journal of Sociology53(2), 271-284. Retrieved from https://fws.commacafe.org/resources/liquid_love.pdf.

Thomas, M. F., Binder, A., & Matthes, J. (2023). The psychological influence of dating app matches: The more matches the merrier?. New Media & Society, 0(0). Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/14614448231161598 and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/14614448231161598.

10 thoughts on “Ditch Dating Apps For Friendship Apps If You’re Lonely

  1. With a growing body of evidence about the impact of social isolation and loneliness on our mental and even physical health, I see a role for these types of apps in the lives of people of all ages. Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting!

  2. I met my partner on a dating app, but I know how harmful they can be – using love and affection to get money out of people seems wrong. I’ve never tried a friendship app but they seem like a great idea, especially as you get older and you might not have friends who live nearby anymore. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • If you try any friendship app, I highly recommend Meetup.com as it’s based around hobbies and interests, so it’s a great way to meet new people with shared interests. Thanks for commenting

  3. I’ve never been on a dating app, but I have a friend who uses one and seems to treat it as a game that they’re trying to complete, rather than a genuine way to meet people. That’s such a good point about it being a business, why would a dating app want you to leave if it means they’re going to loose money?! I agree happiness lies in connections rather than visuals, that’s a great list you’ve shared to find those more meaningful and happiness inducing friendships.
    Thanks for sharing

    • That’s one of the main issues with dating apps, is that too many people treat them as hook-up apps, meaning those who are genuinely looking for Roman have a harder time finding it. Thanks for commenting

  4. Dating apps can be useful to a certain point but your happiness shouldn’t depend on them. The issue is also we focus so much on quantity over quality that we start to measure our worth on how many matches we got. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow, I had no idea there were so many friendship apps out there, thank you for informing me on this! I ditched dating apps about a year ago and have not missed them one bit! Quite the contrary, my life quality has sky-rocketed 😀 But friendship apps I would’ve needed in the winter in Italy by myself. I’ll definitely remember this next January when I escape snow there again, thank you for sharing these🙏
    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

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