Many of us spend a lot of time online, so it makes sense that we might try to meet new friends there too. While the internet and apps have opened up a world of possibilities, unfortunately, there is a darker side to logging on. Your safety is a priority, which is why we’ve drawn up this handy guide to being savvy when making friends online. Read it carefully, then get connecting.
Select the right apps
There are numerous apps for making online friends, but some of them are more legitimate than others. There are apps that claim to be for making ‘friends’, for example, but you’ll soon discover that users are seeking a whole lot more than that.
We wanted to help make it easy for you to meet the right sort of people with whom you can forge meaningful connections, which is exactly why we launched Bumble For Friends. For extra safety, we use a two-step verification process to verify that people match the person shown in their profile pictures.
Another thing to think about is that if you feel more comfortable hanging out with people of the same gender as you, pick an app that allows you to set that as your preference—like Bumble For Friends…
How does Bumble For Friends work?
Easy to navigate, it’s the same principle as Date mode on Bumble. Create a profile with up to six photos, craft a bio, set your location parameters, and get cracking. Swipe right if you like a person’s profile and left if you don’t think they’re a match. Your potential friends will appear in green while your Date matches will be in yellow. Happy friend finding!
Follow people with similar interests on social media
Wondering how to make friends online safely? Social media can be a wonderful way to build new connections. A good place to start is by following accounts of people who have similar interests to you. Write positive comments on their posts (be sure not to go overboard here though—no one wants to come across as a stalker) and perhaps send them a friendly DM if it’s appropriate. Be sure to have a close look at their profile to ensure they’re who they say they are before you get chatting.
Join a niche interest group online
Whether it’s stand-up comedy, plant parenting, tai chi, or line dancing, if you dig it, you can be sure other people out there do too. Look for them by joining an interest group online. Be sure to check the legitimacy of the group and the people you interact with before sharing any personal information or meeting up IRL.
Limit your personal information
While a thoughtful and pithy bio is integral to getting your personality across and attracting like-minded people, it’s best to keep it topline. We suggest talking about your hobbies, likes, dislikes, and perhaps what you’re looking for. Don’t go into personal details here—you can save that until you’ve got to know each other better.
If they ask for money, block them
This might sound extreme, but it’s important. Someone you’ve never met asking you to send them money is generally bad news. Sadly, there are plenty of professional scammers out there who prey on trusting people who are seeking genuine connections online. Protect yourself and your bank balance by steering well clear of anyone who asks you for cash. If they start being pushy or threatening, report them to the police immediately.
Be careful with what pictures you share
When you’ve made a new connection, we know it’s easy to get snap-happy and share lots of photos in excitement. Be prudent here—for example, don’t send pictures taken outside your house or workplace, as cunning types are often able to deduce your location from a picture. Sharing intimate photos with someone you haven’t met before is also a risky business.
Don’t tell your online friends where you live
This might be obvious, but again, we know how easy it is to enthusiastically talk about your neighborhood and your favorite spots in it. Of course, it’s probably fine to let someone know the vague area you live in, but don’t get down to the nitty-gritty of giving them your street name. There is absolutely zero reason that someone would need this information at this stage—and it’s a serious red flag if anyone says otherwise.
Talk to someone if something upsets you
If something doesn’t feel right or something has already gone wrong—for example, someone said something inappropriate or is pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do—immediately block the person, and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell a friend or family member what’s going on. If you think your safety might be compromised or someone has been inappropriate, call the police. You are not alone in this and there are plenty of people to support you. Remember, you don’t owe anyone anything, and trust your gut—always.
Do the appropriate research
While it would be great if everyone told the truth all the time, the bottom line is, they don’t. When it comes to making friends online, people could be lying about anything from their age or gender, to something more sinister like being single when actually they’re married with kids. You have a responsibility to do the appropriate research to find out who you’re really talking to. While we’re not suggesting you go full-on super sleuth or hire a private detective, there are some quick and easy ways to help you form a more genuine picture of your new ‘friend’.
Check People is a free people search service that enables you to find out basic information such as someone’s name, age, and hometown. Social media is also a goldmine for getting a better idea of someone’s life and whether they’re legitimate. Be sure to check out their posts and other people’s comments in order to get as full a picture of them as possible.
Meet in a public place
When meeting someone for the first time, we always recommend doing so in a public place. No matter how many conversations you’ve had or how many pictures they’ve sent you, you never truly know who a person is until you’ve spent some time with them. Proceed with caution!
Tell friends or family who you are meeting and where
As well as meeting a new connection in a public place, you should always let a trusted friend or family member know who you’re meeting, where you’re meeting them, and what time you expect to be home. As an added precaution, why not turn on geotracking on your phone, too?
We hope you’re excited about starting your journey to creating meaningful connections and making new friends online. Armed with our expert knowledge about some ways to stay safe, you’re likely ready to start swiping! Download Bumble For Friends now .