After a few years in Paris, Julien (*), returned to Metz, his hometown. The MeetUp app allowed the 30-year old to rekindle a group of friends that he had lost over the years. He has been out to bars, restaurants and weekends in the mountains since then. It takes a lot of his time. He says, "It's madness. There is always an event. Not to mention the many Whatsapp and Messenger messages to answer."
After two years of social disruption caused by the pandemic, many people are now using friendly dating apps to find friends to climb, visit an exhibition, or just have a drink with. These applications are often used for practical reasons such as rebuilding friendships after a move, separation, or finding someone available to do an activity with you.
These platforms aim to combat social isolation which has been a problem since the Covid crisis. Your profile is created in just a few clicks. This is a great way to meet people around your interests.
The pioneer of the Meetup industry, which claims 59 millions members, is a 2002 startup. Members can join thematic online groups that organize activities. CEO David Siegel says that although Meetup has been around for a long time, it is now about technology and learning. "People want to make new friends and establish relationships.
Swipe to the right on a profile we like - for romantic encounters. Then, start a friendly conversation if they have done the same. Bumble For Friends (BFF) was created in 2016 and is dedicated to friendship. Naomi Walkland, vice president Europe at Bumble, says that this application of "dating" is one of the most well-known.
She notes that there are fewer restrictions in the current environment and she has a "new interest", after two years of being "particularly lonely for many", for activities with other people. These friendly encounters... could also lead to romantic encounters. Lea says that because it begins with a friendly approach, there's less pressure to meet a spouse.
Frimake, which has been offering to take part in group activities close to home since 2019, has seen its attendance increase. After each deconfinement, the number of users increased dramatically. It now numbers 150,000, mainly people between 25 and 45 years old.
These applications are very popular because of the fact that the pandemic and periods of confinement "have increased the feeling of loneliness" (it's "endemic loneliness") around the world, according to Cecile Van de Velde. Studies have shown that young people are particularly affected in Canada, Israel, France and the UK.
According to a study done by the Fondation of France, 33% of French adults aged 15-30 felt lonely last year. This compares to 21% in the French population.
Is the loneliness resulting from the pandemic still a problem? Cecile Van De Velde concludes, "We don’t know yet. Surveys will analyze whether people manage friendships or become chronically lonely."
The challenge for both the young and the old is to connect... especially as summer approaches!
(*) The name of the first person has been changed