Budding bromance: Men are swiping right to find new friends

Swiping for Bromance
Swiping for Bromance

Swipe right ... for a friend?

Outside of college, finding friends in adulthood can get tricky. While the digital dating space is now firmly established in mainstream culture, there's now a wave of apps offering a new way to make platonic connections.

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There are services like Wiith, which is marketed as a social app with which users can create events like brunch or happy hour and invite others along. Smeeters calls itself a "social club" that connects two groups of friends, reserves a spot at a bar and buys the first round of drinks for the whole group.

Bumble BFF is a new feature within the popular dating app that lets users swipe for friends. Once both people swipe right on a photo, each person has 24 hours to start the conversation.

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And while women seem to have taken most readily to the feature, plenty of men are using it, too.

Bumble tells NBC News that nearly 1 million men have used BFF since the feature launched in March. While the company says 97 percent of women on the dating app have tried BFF, half of all males on the app have also tried the new feature.

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"The last few years have been so much about swiping for love, and men are totally tuned in with what that means. What's exciting is to see them pivot and try BFF," said Whitney Wolfe, founder and CEO of Bumble.

"We were expecting slower adoption from men versus women, so we're excited to see men use it in a significant way."

In New York City, new friends Greg Zimmerman, 29, and Charlie Wieser, 28, connected on BFF after some initial skepticism.

"The whole concept is pretty new, and felt a little awkward at first," said Weiser. "It worked out great and I now recommend it all the time."

It turned out that Zimmerman and Wieser are both MBA candidates at New York University, but had not met until they both swiped right. They now hang out several times a week to play basketball, go to social events or to have double dates with their girlfriends.

"After meeting Charlie through the app, I now understand that it is a great way to meet new friends, extend your network and help make the city feel a little smaller," said Zimmerman.