Anyone who's single, or has been recently, will know that meeting people through dating apps is a double-edged sword. It may be easier than ever to connect with random hotties you'd never otherwise meet, but without necessarily having any mutual connections, it's far more difficult to gauge whether they're genuinely a decent human being. Without a character reference, you're shooting in the dark.
If this struggle is real for you, you may be interested in a feature launched by dating app Badoo, which has over 380 million users worldwide. The new 'Friends of Friends' tool promises to make it easier to be introduced to that smoking single pal of your friend who you've hitherto been too shy to make a move on.
It allows you to easily discover and scroll through your Facebook friends' Badoo profiles, as well as (crucially) their friends' Badoo profiles. If you match with a friend of a friend, you can then chat to or video call them directly.
While other dating apps, including Tinder and Bumble, currently show your mutual Facebook friends with someone when you're presented with their profile, they don't bring together all your Facebook connections' dating profiles in one place.
For some people, the idea of being easily discoverable to their Facebook connections on a dating app may be a step too far – especially as many of those "friends" will be nothing more than acquaintances or people they've never even met. (The idea of a former colleague or estranged ex partner being able to read your dating-app bio and scroll through your selfies might make you cringe.)
When someone you're dating is a randomer who you have no connection to, they could be anyone.
The tool does, however, have the potential to make others feel more secure as they navigate the murky world of dating apps, and could even embolden them to reach out to people they wouldn't otherwise have the courage to talk out to. According to Badoo, having a mutual connection immediately puts singletons at ease, with 67% of the 10,000 users surveyed on the app saying they'd be more likely to strike up a conversation with someone with whom they shared a mutual friend.
Charlotte, 27, who is currently dating someone she was introduced to by a friend, says hooking up with friends of friends is great and she'd consider using Badoo's tool in future. "You'd know they're going to be a decent person, even if they might not be the right one for you," she tells Refinery29. "When someone you're dating is a randomer who you have no connection to, they could be anyone. That's not to say it doesn't sometimes work, but it's nice to have that initial comfort and thing in common."
Knowing who someone's friends are gives you "a better idea of who they really are", she adds. "Obviously it can have the opposite effect if your mutual acquaintances are people that you don't get on with," she adds.
Kate, 35, also likes the idea. "I love the friends of friends idea," she says. "Sometimes if you tell a friend you think their friend is hot, they get weird about it. They don’t want to set you up in case things get more weird – maybe you get on really well and they feel sidelined. But with this, you can elbow that friend out of the way and get on with it. The potential for things to get weird is still there, but that’s dating for you."
It’s important to gather intel and get receipts so I would definitely ask mutual friends about potential baes.
Darren, 26, dated a guy introduced to him by an ex-boyfriend earlier this year – "I fully recognise it was a weird situation" – and while it didn't work out, he'd consider doing something similar again. "The fact my friend already knew him make me more comfortable because I knew he was at least a well-adjusted person."
The conversation flowed all the better for the pair having a mutual connection, he adds. "We ended on good terms and I’d always rather date a mutual friend in future. It’s important to gather intel and get receipts so I would definitely ask mutual friends about potential baes."
The friends-of-friends arrangement hasn't worked out well for 32-year-old Saskia, however, who once matched with someone who knew her younger brother on Tinder (who she could see was a mutual Facebook friend). "That was my opening line – 'Hey, how do you know my brother?' – and he never replied," although she admits that maybe having a family member as a mutual connection is a step too far.
Saskia hasn't discounted the importance of mutual connections in meeting a significant other, though, particularly with dating apps. "I'd definitely be more likely to swipe right on someone who was friends with a friend – but only if they were a relatively close friend. But if we're talking the kind of Facebook friend you met in the student union bar seven years ago and haven't seen since, then no."
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