Sunday, January 21, 2018

Making New Female Friends on Hey! VINA

I’m after real friendship. 

I’ve lived in Seattle my entire life so I’ve accumulated different circles of friends from school, workplaces, friends of friends, co-ed sports leagues, and more. However, with many friends, our goals or priorities simply aren’t compatible anymore. We all have our own very busy lives. People have gotten married and have kids or moved away. Finding friends post-college isn’t easy. 

Made for and by women 

I heard about HeyVINA this summer and decided to give it a whirl. I love their manifesto page. It’s literally Tinder for women to meet new girl friends. Founder and CEO Olivia June Poole created VINAin 2015 to provide women with an online space to strike up conversations and make new friends. 

I downloaded the app and made a profile which includes uploading a picture of myself, writing an introduction, and fast facts like age, work, school, guilty pleasure, and “describe yourself in 5 emojis”.  In the settings, I set the age range to -5/+5 and distance to within 10 miles for potential matches (I think accessibility and convenience is a part of friendship).

I swiped right, “hey”, to about half the profiles I came across. It’s an interesting exercise. I’m not looking for a date, I’m looking to find someone compatible with my interests, lifestyle, career path. I wanted the person to have a picture of herself (not just their cat or landscape) and looked for some key interests that aligned to mine. 

I’ve been using the app since August and have 208 “hey’s” (users who have swiped right on me) and 48 “dittos” (# of matches). Out of the 48 matches, I’ve chatted with ~43 of them and met up with five. I’ve only had repeat meet-ups with one person. I’ve initiated about 80% of the conversations and many never replied, but did read the message (the app indicates when a message is read). 

Features 

I like that instead of like/dislike swiping on dating apps, it’s “Hey” and “Skip”. The women you skip actually do come back around in case you want to give her profile a second read, or in case she hadn’t filled out her profile the first time. 

The downside is that the app is glitchy—sometimes the text box disappears when you open up a match to type a reply, forcing me to restart the app. 

Stock photo from Hey! Vina’s site. This looks fun.

I’ve discussed this with friends and colleagues and our theory with all the women I’ve matched but never replied or we did start talking, but it didn’t result in a hangout, is that maybe everyone is just really busy. Or maybe the idea of meeting new female friends initially sounds great, but having a conversation and making time to hang out is just too much work. I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying. Overall, the one woman I’m still in touch with is awesome and I look forward to making connections with more badass Seattle ladies. 

If you want to share your thoughts on this story or about other friend-finding apps (Bumble BFF?), send me a note: jennifer@seattleite.com 

About Jennifer Liu

Despite the rain, Jennifer loves Seattle and is a rare native. From the gorgeous summer weather to the drizzle the other 9 months, this may be her forever home. She graduated from the University of Washington and has a master's degree in counseling psychology. She loves to travel, volunteer, and host themed dinner parties. You can find her eating, hiking, hanging out with her awesome dog, or napping. Ice cream, burgers, and sushi are some of her favorite things.
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