A world dating with new friends

Even if we desperately want to make new friends, we have, somewhere deep within our cultural DNA, a hereditary terror of ‘coming on too strong’. Research suggests that it could be risky to rely solely on our old friendships: a study conducted by sociologists at Utrecht University found that we lose half of our close mates every seven years.Not only do you get you know a your beloved themselves, but their friends as well.

After discovering that we both live in Portland, I suggested we meet up for a drink. Turns out, friend-dates bring out similar insecurities, nerves and excitement that I experience on dates with prospective partners. Feeling vulnerable, excited and a little nervous means I’m putting myself out there.

And on it went until it was her and she waved, presumably because she recognized me from my Facebook photos. I’d met this new friend in a Facebook group for writers.

" and then the warnings from existing friends: "Seriously, a lot of people on Tinder will think the 'friends' thing is a front for cheating and/or three-ways." I downloaded the app, created my profile using my most recent Facebook pictures, and wrote a short bio with a full disclaimer of what I was on Tinder for. Others petered out quickly because of mundane chat on both sides, though the communication was never as banal as on other dating apps (where "Up to? There were matches who obviously didn't read my bio and persistently asked what my husband and I were "looking for"; and a match that, despite my diplomacy, offended me more than once and caveated it with, "I'm not rude. When it came to my first real life Tinder Friend Date, I felt as nervous as if I were single and dating again.

The initial hours on day one of Tinder friend-making were exciting, confusing, and hectic. Intellectual with glasses, 27, multiple flag emojis (inferring multilingualism)? Irrationally, of course, because neither of us were trying to sleep with the other.

I was cautious from the outset, of course, but hopeful it would introduce me to people I'd otherwise never interact with. Over the subsequent days, the chat with potential Tinder friend dates was mixed.

First came the conversation with my husband: "Are you OK with me doing this? Two or three matches I was dead-keen to meet pretty early on: The conversations flowing, the interests mutual, the humour well-received. There were some unfortunate experiences, too, where the chat turned sour. All of such experiences had me unmatching reasonably swiftly.

I don’t know it’s there until I’m suddenly paralyzed by isolation.

No, this isn't some Ashley Madison 2.0 situation, nor am I in an open relationship where I'm free to date outside of my marriage.

I wandered around the city alone, treating myself to meals at new restaurants, reading in coffee shops for hours, soaking up the city. I drove to a new neighborhood with a concert ticket and hopes that the intimate venue might allow for some conversation with strangers.

It was just me and the sidewalks and subways of Chicago, testing each other out. But I hadn’t considered that parking would be expensive, and I was broke from all those coffee shop cappuccinos.

I ended up crying, driving home and skipping the show.

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