In most Asian countries, the words, ‘dating apps’ still carry the social stigma of being something to avoid. However, the younger generations of said countries are beginning to move away from such a characterization.
I for one, used to be on a dating site known as OkCupid. Many of you are probably scoffing at the name but I have to say despite its corny name, it was definitely one of the better apps that I have been on.
That, however, did not prevent me from hiding my existence on it from my peers. It was probably due to the fact that signing up for dating apps is perceived as something only people desperate for love or hook ups would do and no one would buy my reason of wanting to meet more people.
I was pleasantly mistaken.
Over the time that I have spent on these sites, I have came to realize that I was not the only one who joined it with the intention of meeting new people and expanding my social circle. In fact, you would be surprised at the amount of people who joined dating apps just to make friends. Do not be taken aback when you read blurbs on profile which expressly forbid any romantic advances.
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After that entire introduction, this moves us back to the core of this article; is making friends on such apps truly possible?
The answer is yes.
For all you cynics out there, I am pretty psyched to rub it in your face that I have met friends from dating apps and we have maintained a completely platonic relationship in all the years that we have known each other.
From meeting chefs to graphic designers to chemists, the list of people that I have met and the stories that I have heard just goes on and on.
I was pleasantly surprised when I met someone who graduated in a degree that I intend to pursue from a university that I had my eyes set on. The poor soul never had the time to recover from the barrage of questions that assaulted her. In return, she regaled me with stories of how she once got completely hammered and threw up in the Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin her roommate carved for Halloween.
I heard more stories like how another friend I met through OkCupid learnt to walk backwards up a hill and had gelato at four in the morning while backpacking through Rome.
In addition to those mentioned above, I have actually kept in contact with someone from a dating site for four years. You would be surprised to learn that we Whatsapp each other on a daily basis, except on days where we annoy each other. I blame those occurrences on her age (she is five years older than me) but she blames it on me being a spoilt brat. We agree to disagree.
To cut the long story short, she has been a pretty good friend to me over the past few years and I would be hard press to meet her through traditional means since she hails from Sarawak while I remain entrenched in Kuala Lumpur.
At the end of the day, it is difficult to say that dating apps are reserved solely for singles (although some of them not as single as they claim) who crave company. In our rapidly growing world, it is increasingly difficult to meet people from our everyday life that may be on the same wavelength as us.
If meeting people alone is difficult, imagine actually forging a bond that lasts? It has been tough since we first stepped into kindergarten and growing up does not make it easier with life pressure and personal motives getting in the way.
I guess in one way or another, urbanization has played a part in increasing the popularity of dating apps whether it may be to score dates or meet pals. Rapid urbanization of nations have somewhat caused its societies to fragment into smaller units, like family units, which rarely venture out of their comfort zone to challenge themselves or as Malaysians would put it: they have adopted the ‘takpe’ (don’t care) attitude and could care less to find out more about that quiet co-worker that recently joined the company or the new family that just moved in next door.
Thus, it is hardly surprising that the younger generation, or also known as Generation Y, would resort to online means to meet new people. It seems expected given their familiarity and ease with technology, coupled with the accessibility of dating apps for free.
So, to all you naysayers out there, give dating apps a go. You might even surprise yourself. Though it always healthy to keep in mind that the warning against strangers on the Internet ring true for a certain reason.
Also read: 7 creepiest dating apps of all time