Tinder isn’t just for hookups: It helped me find real friends in a new city
I became familiar with Tinder during my last semester at university. Late at night, my friends and I would gather in my room to swipe right. We’d regale each other with our ridiculous Tinder conversations and compete to create the funniest profiles.
My bio read “Tryna get that ring by spring,” and my second photo was George W. Bush’s self-portrait. We never took our matches seriously and never actually met them.
Then my friends and I graduated and found ourselves in different cities. I moved to Washington, D.C., where I knew very few people. I was lonely; and for the first time in my life, I had a hard time making friends.
I didn’t work with anyone my age, I lived alone in a basement apartment, and through FaceTime and WhatsApp, I was able to stay in constant touch with my friends all over the world. But I was running out of things to contribute to our conversations, because I had no life.
Tinder was suddenly not so much of a joke. I was spending much more time on the app and was actually considering meeting up with some of my matches, even if just for the human contact. One of them, Connor, lauded my ring-by-spring bio and the George W. Bush portrait. He asked me to get drinks. I agreed.
When we went out, I had a good time. A really good time. He was easy to talk to, and we had a lot of shared interests. At the end of the night, we split the check and hugged. It felt nice.
Connor and I chatted intermittently that week and planned to meet up on Saturday night. When I found him, he was taller, funnier and more handsome than I had remembered. Late in the night he kissed me, and we left for his apartment shortly thereafter. I spent the night, and early the next morning we watched my then-favorite film, Frances Ha. He hadn’t seen it but said his sisters loved it. And when it was over, he loved it, too.
Afterward, I ordered an Uber and he kissed me goodbye.
I liked him a lot. Possibly more than I’d liked anyone I’d only hung out with twice. But whether I liked him in particular or just liked the idea of having someone, anyone – at a time in my life in which I had never felt more alone – was unclear.
A week later, when I returned from a trip out of town and hadn’t heard from him, I was bummed and took action.
“You want to get drinks next week?” I texted.
A while later I received: “I’m sorry, Hannah, I just moved here and I’m not looking for anything serious.”
Our story is ‘When Harry Met Sally’ in reverse.
I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I had no friends in Washington and I’d had a great time hanging out with him, even without the physical part.
“That’s cool,” I said. “Can we hang out platonically?”
It took a couple of minutes for him to text back: “Sure homie, always looking to add to the crew.”
And add to the crew he did. It’s been three years since I swiped right on Connor, and it would be nearly impossible for me to imagine my time in Washington without him. We’ve met one another’s families. He comes to my college alumnae events, we’ve spent Passover Seders together, and we binge-watched all of Broad City. I’ve introduced him to Whit Stillman movies and he’s given me his favorite John O’Hara stories. And there was this one night that he went above and beyond to care for me after I drank too much.
I’ve also become close with Connor’s closest friends in Washington. I cried with them through the 2016 election returns, rang in the new year and protested more than once at the White House. We’ve gone to my grandparents’ house on the North Fork of Long Island for a long weekend, spent Memorial Day tubing the Shenandoah in West Virginia and formed a coed flag football team for the summer.
Many of Connor’s university friends know the origin of our friendship. But with those who have come to know us since, I often get asked: “Hannah, how did you become friends with the group?”
When I say I met Connor on Tinder three years ago, and have become friends with the rest since, there’s usually shock and awe. The ones who know us well are surprised to learn our beginnings were rooted in a very brief Tinder romance.
My friends who have not met Connor have a hard time fathoming that aside from that one night, we are totally platonic. Some of them don’t believe me, as if Billy Crystal’s line about how “men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way” is the 11th Commandment.
Through the course of our friendship, though, I’ve come to know Connor well enough to know we aren’t a fit romantically. We’re both incredibly blunt with each other, an asset in platonic love, but not necessarily in romantic love. Our story is When Harry Met Sally in reverse.
I’ve seen Connor through quasi-romances, and he’s seen me through a year-and-a-half relationship. We talk in depth about our crushes and what we hope to find in terms of love in the future.
Recently, Connor told me that he’s moving back to his parents’ home in Ohio to study for the LSAT. I’ll miss him, but I’m happy for him. Through Tinder, I’m fortunate to have found Connor. And through him, I’m lucky to have found friends much like the group with whom I would gather in my room late at night in college and swipe right.
The Washington Post
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