07/10/2016
Like Tinder, but for gal pals.

Words by

Veronica Jenkinson

It’s not uncommon these days when you ask a couple how they met, for them to respond with ‘Tinder’. But if you ask two friends how they met, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll give you the name of an app. (Unless, of course, they’re both self-described “influencers” and that app is Instagram.)

Finding some new gal pals to hang out with can be just as hard as finding a guy, so why aren’t we using an app for that as well? Even with Tinder’s success and ubiquitous usage, there still seems to be some undying stigma attached to meeting people online. 

So when my sister introduced me to this app called Vina, my first thought was no.

(Actually, my first thought was ‘that sounds like wine’ – but moving on.)

Vina is a social app similar to Tinder, but instead of going on bad dates with the most minimal prospect of ever hooking up, you’re out to make friends. Like actual, let’s-get-brunch friends. 

To be honest, I’ve never been great at making friends and as my curiosity peaked, I downloaded it.

Visually, Vina is pretty similar to Tinder but it’s a little more serious, I guess (we’ve all had fun swiping left on other people’s phones). Targeted at women, it also has a more soothing aesthetic (think pastels). 

Just like Tinder, you connect to Vina through Facebook, add your location and age range, and write up a little bio if you have a way with words. 

But unlike Tinder, however, Vina gives you a little personality quiz at the start. This makes it easier for your new bestie to find you amongst the bevvy of other women. And vice versa. 

Your compatibility as an awesome gal pal is based on six questions:

  1. Do you like coffee, wine dates or both? In my case I’ll take both, depending on the time of day.
     
  2. Do you live to work, work to live or try and find a balance? A balance. We’ve all gotta pay the bills, but we also want to enjoy our jobs.
     
  3. Do you like hanging inside, outside or do you prefer mixing it up? On an impulse I said outside, but I won’t say no to a good movie and a wine.
     
  4. Are you an extrovert, introvert or an ambivert? I tend to change it up depending on my mood/number of drinks so I went ambivert to cover all bases.
     
  5. Do you like day time fun or night time fun? Like the coffee and wine, I like to change it up. Who can say no to brunch?
     
  6. Are you a planner, spontaneous or a bit of both? I would love to be more spontaneous, but honestly I love a well-planned evening.

Then, if you like, you can list your guilty pleasure (dessert or bingeing Nextflix), explain yourself in five emojis and connect your Instagram. 

Then the swiping begins! 

If you don’t know Tinder, it’s right for yes and left for no. Vina works in exactly the same way (but sadly, without the Super Likes). 

The first thing I realise: for some reason it’s a lot harder to say no to a woman I don’t know than to some random dude. Why? Maybe it’s the sisterhood.

If you both like what you see, you match and you chat! But unfortunately, in the same sad way as Tinder, matches don’t always equal great conversations. Or, for that matter, any conversations at all.

Of two conversations I’ve struck up, one has been great and the other not so much. However, you do get a very encouraging message from app creator, Olivia, who is always very excited to be introducing awesome women to each other.

It’s still early days in my Vina career and I’m yet to head out for any coffee and/or wine, but I’m optimistic. I’ve also managed to overcome the self-imposed stigma of using an app to find friends.

That said, one of my friends thinks I’m hilarious for using Vina, but I’m taking that as a compliment and considering adding ‘great sense of humour’ to my bio. 

In an age when you can do just about anything online, why not find some friends there as well? Unless you just enjoy the fleeting friendships with women in bathrooms on Saturday nights. You do you, boo.

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