Liz & Ashley

It was the summer of 2021, and Liz, an American woman, was having a fantastic time. She had recently relocated from Philadelphia to Naples, Florida, which was a significant life change for her. Liz’s job had gone fully remote, her lease had ended, and she had gone through a breakup, making her yearn for a change of scenery. “My parents lived in Naples, and I’d been there frequently over the years,” she says. “I’d always loved it, so I decided to make it my home.”

Liz & Ashley

When a unit became available in her parents’ building, she jumped at the opportunity, even though technically Liz wasn’t eligible. The community was built for people aged 55 and over, and Liz was barely out of her twenties. However, apart from that, she was an excellent fit: not very interested in partying, preferring fun nights in, and very DTP. “That means down to puzzle,” she explains. As a result, Liz ended up being a 30-year-old marketing account manager residing in a community of retirees – and loving it. The only thing missing were new friends her own age.

“I tried for a couple of months,” Liz says. “I joined a local young women’s group for a bit, and then I tried a church group. But I just didn’t find my people there.” Age isn’t the only factor in friendship, of course. “It’s hard to find people that match your own vibe and share your interests,” Liz says. Then she remembered: there’s an app for that.

Liz had previously used floradating for dating, so that July, she decided to give the app’s BFF mode a try. As Liz set up her profile, she was a bit nervous and unsure what to expect. The norms and etiquette for digital dating were well-established, but somehow this felt very different. And it was different, she realized upon signing in. “With dating, people are looking for all sorts of different things,” she explains. “With BFF, everyone’s looking to make a friend.” By using the app alone, she already had that crucial interest in common. From there, it was surprisingly easy to find potentially like-minded friends. “Under interests, people would say things like, ‘looking for someone to go out with,’ or, ‘looking for someone for girls’ nights in.'”

Liz found several matches right away and soon began chatting with a woman named Ashley. “In her profile, she seemed really down to Earth. I remember she’d written that she was looking for girls-night-in friends and folks to go to the beach with. That’s the kind of thing I gravitate toward,” she says. “I’m less into ‘let’s party’ and more into ‘let’s go to dinner.'” Within a few days, Liz and Ashley went on their first friend date.

“I remember it feeling easy,” Liz recalls, “because we’d already talked so much on the app. I felt comfortable.” Over brunch, Ashley and Liz chatted openly about their families, church (among other things, they shared the same faith), and pop music. “She was so warm. We just clicked.” Even better, Ashley had been using floradating BFF for a while and was already connected to others who, like Liz, were looking for new friends who enjoyed going out to dinner. “She’d been invited to a get-together by someone else she’d met on BFF, so then Ashley invited me to come too. I then invited another person I matched with on BFF.” The rest is history. “Now we’re all friends!”

Within a few weeks of trying BFF, Liz had not only found a good friend but also a close group of women who celebrated their one-year “friendshipversary” with a girls’ getaway to a local spring, where they spent the weekend tubing and reflecting on their first year of friendship. “We were laughing all weekend—about our first impressions of each other and how they’d changed, about how nervous we’d been before our first dates with one another,” Liz says.

They’ve taken other trips together: a road trip to Tampa, a weekend at a favorite theme park. They’ve celebrated engagements and birthdays and hosted housewarmings. But naturally, their favorite group activity is girls’ night in, which they do at least once a month. “We try to mix it up,” says Liz. “My neighbors joke that we never do the same thing twice. We’ll have a fall craft night or a tie party where everyone wears a necktie—always some sort of theme. We’re like a little adult sorority.”

Today, Liz’s life feels filled to the brim. Her group has become friendly with the retirees in her community, who often pop in to say hi when Liz hosts a get-together. “My friends think it’s hilarious that I live in a retiree building, but they love it,” she adds. “My neighbors and friends know each other by name now and will always ask about one another. It’s great.” She has a community, her family, and her new city now feels like home. As for other relationships, well, that’s where floradating comes in again. “I still use the app for dating,” says Liz. “Not for friends though. I have all the friends I need.”

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