One is the loneliest number on any day of the year. But being alone on Valentine's Day can feel particularly difficult for single women yearning for that special companion to share their innermost thoughts with. Like what they thought of Trump's latest tweet or the previous night's episode of Bravo's "Vanderpump Rules."
That's why spending the traditionally romantic day with a good friend can be just as rewarding. But first, you need to find the right friend to hang with.
Maybe you've recently moved to or are visiting a new city. Maybe you're experiencing a transitional stage like marriage or motherhood or feel left behind as your high school and college friends are transitioning into a new life stage. Either way, Hey! VINA (download for iOS and Android) can help introduce you to new friends for Valentine's Day and beyond.
Making new friends in the app can even help you meet Mr. Right or Ms. Right, maintain a happy relationship if you're already in one and remind you that you can also form meaningful connections outside of Prince or Princess Charming, according to the app's Founder-CEO Olivia June.
"If you're a single person looking to meet new people to date, the most common way is through your friends," she said. "So investing in your social circle first is important. Also, relationships last longer if the people in them have friends outside those relationships because you can't just focus on one person. Lastly, as women, our love and adoration for our best friends are as important as a romantic partner, so bringing more people like that into your life is a great way of making sure you're always supported and loved."
Hey! VINA, which has created 5 million-plus friendships across 158 countries, since launching in January of 2016, was born out of Olivia June's personal experience moving to a new city in 2009 and wishing there was a friend-making app to introduce her to other like-minded women.
Finding that dating apps like OKCupid (download for Android and iOS) were great at finding her compatible personality matches -- aka a lot of great guy friends -- she decided to leverage the power of that technology to create a friend making app on a familiar dating-style platform to anyone who's ever swiped to match.
To start your new adventure, sign up with Facebook (download for Android and iOS) so Hey! VINA is able to confirm that you are a woman and uncover an existing network of women that you may already know.
Then answer quizzes to help the app find appropriate matches for you. You'll be asked if you're a daytime or nighttime person, indoor or outdoor enthusiast, plan-maker or more spontaneous, introvert or extrovert and how important your career is to you.
To help the app get to know you even better, you can also take other quizzes, like "What's your real age?", "What planet are you from?" and "What color is your aura?" that can capture more nuanced personality traits.
Then you'll be served a slew of friend suggestions card style, featuring a photo, bio and personality quiz answers. Swipe right for each woman you want to meet and left for each woman you don't. You can also add your Instagram (download for Android and iOS) to show off more of your personality.
If you match, you'll be introduced via the Olivia bot, which tells you what you both have in common. (With a premium VIP VINA membership, starting at $5.99 per week, you'll know who likes you in advance and gain the ability to teleport to other locations, so you can find friends in other cities before visiting and the ability to link other users to your Instagram profile, so that they can also engage you on other platforms.)
Then just message your match to meet up. As you make more friends, you can add them to your VINA List for group chat and plan-making.
You can also become a member of dozens of communities based on career, interests and life stage to find even more like-minded people to make plans with. There are communities for girls who code, party girls and working moms, for example.
Joining communities also alerts you to fun events like brunch parties, happy hours and museum dates you may want to attend. You can also post your own event ideas here.
Olivia June has some great hangout suggestions of her own for Valentine's Day, but she admits that these recommendations are suitable for any day of the year. The underlying objective for any of these VINA dates is to get to know your new friend and make the most of your mutual interests.
"I always think it's fun to do something fun that also allows you to hang out or talk, so you can get to know one another," said June. "Keeping it simple is often the key to having a great friend date. Just going out for a glass of champagne or something traditionally seen as romantic or a good mani-pedi or going to see an art exhibit -- it comes down to what you're both interested in."
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- The Hey! VINA (download for iOS and Android) app can help women meet and befriend like-minded peers for fun Valentine's Day plans and more.
- Since launching in January of 2016, the swipe-to-match app has facilitated 5 million-plus friendships across 158 countries.
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