It’s been two years since we moved from California to Portland and I’m still working on building a community. Motherhood is hard and lonely at times. As a work-from-home mom, I crave adult interaction and scrolling through social media commentary (in an effort to feel connected to someone who doesn’t share my last name) is only killing my brain cells. A few weeks ago, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’d heard about a free, find-a-friend app and decided to give it a go. I was married before dating websites and smart phones, so up until this point, I’ve had zero experience in profile-creating or the swipe left/right dance.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate, Find-a-Friend iPhone Apps
Feeling totally desperate, I hit “download” and did my best to cram a personal description into the minimal word space available. “Married, mama to three, grad student, looking for my mama tribe.” I added a black and white profile picture and hit “post” and that was it. I had put myself out there to be seen and sized up by how ever many other women in the Portland area were desperate like me.
As I continued through the find-a-friend process, I discovered that in order to connect with a specific person on the app, I had to “like” their profile and they had to “like” mine. Then we would be connected in the app and have 24 hours to swap info if we wanted to become social media friends or meet up or whatever. At this point in the process, I was feeling super high maintenance and trying to convince myself to stay in it. I KNOW there are tons of moms, just like me, looking to connect with other moms. Maybe my new BFF is just another swipe away?
I clicked “continue to find a friend” and sat down for an excruciating fifteen minutes of swiping through dozens of photos and ten-word descriptions. Let me summarize the kinds of women using this app: single, no kids, obsessed with their dogs, yoga instructors, and spending every free moment either hiking or brewery-hopping. Every. Single. One. I’m not kidding.
Spoiler Alert: You’re Old Now
Driving through Dutch Brother’s makes me feel old. Swiping through profile pictures of sixty, twenty-somethings in black leggings and top knots summiting Mt. Hood with their dog, makes me feel ancient. Don’t get me wrong. I’d LOVE to be friends with these gals. I even swiped right on six or seven. Meeting up for Sunday brunch before heading out for a hike and sunset yoga session? Yes, please! But as wonderful as that kind of meet up sounds, that’s not really the kind of find-a-friend connection I’m looking for. And, apparently, I’m not the kind they’re looking for, either. After five days of having my profile listed for women to swipe through, I had zero connection attempts. Zilch. Nada. None.
Let’s Try This Again
Apple, listen up because I’d like to propose a new app for helping moms find-a-friend and build community. Here’s how it would work:
- No profile picture required. We’re doing this “voice” style without seeing each other first.
- Instead of having to come up with some entertaining, all-inclusive description of who you are and what you like, there would be various lists of things to pick through, like:
- Running – Like? Dislike?
- Magnolia Farms – Like? Dislike?
- La Croix – Like? Dislike?
- Taylor Swift’s new song – Like? Dislike?
- Volunteering for your school PTO – Like? Dislike?
- The Hunger Games Book Series – Like? Dislike?
- Fake succulents – Like? Dislike?
- There would also be options for what kind of social interaction you’re looking for:
- No kids within 50 feet OR Can’t do anything without them so let’s meet at a park.
- Work-at-home mom with kids in school so mornings preferred OR I work outside the home, full-time, so not free till after bedtime.
Then, someone much smarter than I would create the find-a-friend algorithm for connecting mom’s based on their responses, rather than the sassiness of their profile picture, or the wittiness of their personal description.
I’d call this find-a-friend app TribeFinder.