By Ashley Edwards Walker
Andrew is a self proclaimed “outgoing extrovert.” So when he moved from New Jersey to South Florida in August 2021 to pursue a PhD in management, he was eager to make new friends. He knew he’d meet people through his new church and academic program, but he turned to Bumble BFF to “connect with people outside of those two spaces,” he explains. He figured with other young people relocating to Florida in “droves,” there would be many also looking to make new friends. He was right.
Music has always been an important part of Andrew’s life. He grew up performing in choirs and singing a cappella semi-professionally for more than a decade. So when he first started using Bumble BFF, he was on the lookout for anyone who shared his love of music. Chris’s profile was one of the first Andrew came across. Initially, Andrew was drawn to the fact that, like him, Chris had recently relocated from the Northeast to Florida. But it wasn’t until Andrew read further and noticed that Chris’s musical tastes overlapped with his own that he quickly swiped right. It was a match, Andrew’s first on Bumble BFF since moving to Florida.
Being that Andrew and Chris were both busy settling in, they weren’t able to meet in person right away, especially since Andrew lives in Miami, while Chris, a piano technician, is in the West Palm Beach area nearly two hours away. In the interim, they got to know each other by chatting about their backgrounds, how they were adjusting to their new cities, and, of course, their shared passion for music. Andrew even encouraged Chris to audition for a local a cappella group, Treble In Paradise, in Fort Lauderdale—and he got in!
It wasn’t until a few months after they’d matched that Andrew and Chris were finally able to align their schedules to grab dinner about an hour from where Andrew lived. Right away, he “knew from that interaction that, ‘this guy seems really cool, and seems like he wants to hang out with me again,’” Andrew recalls. They continued getting to know each other and hanging out. Later, Andrew auditioned for the same Fort Lauderdale a cappella group that Chris had joined, becoming a member in January 2022. This meant they saw each other regularly at rehearsals and competitions.
But Chris wasn’t the only match Andrew made on Bumble BFF. Andrew also met Casey, a lawyer who seemed amiable and easygoing, on the app. He and his girlfriend, Katie, had just moved to Fort Lauderdale together and were both using Bumble BFF to meet new friends. For their first in-person meeting, Casey and Andrew met at a local gym for a workout, after which they stayed in touch. Later, Andrew also met a woman named Melanie and her boyfriend, Andrew, through the couple.
Mateusz, or Matt, a tactics associate whose “welcoming smile” made him seem “fun loving and great to be around,” is another match Andrew made on Bumble BFF. When Andrew learned Matt was a fellow a cappella fan, he invited him to join a day out at a street fair in the fall of 2021. As Andrew, Matt, and Chris walked around sampling different foods and checking out vendors, “I realized the three of us really vibed and enjoyed hanging out,” recalls Andrew. He continued hanging out with his new friends individually and in small groups, and by January 2022 it dawned on Andrew there was the potential for a group friendship, not just one-off relationships. “I knew I wanted to make friends in Miami,” says Andrew. “But I didn’t anticipate a friend group would form!”
The prospect of having so many people consistently available to hang out was exciting, so Andrew decided to test the waters by organizing a group outing to an adults’ bounce house for all who wanted to join. The evening was a success, and was quickly followed up with a weekend away to a beach house that Matt’s family owns. From there, Andrew fell into the role of de facto organizer and “Squad Dad.” They formed an official “Squad Chat,” and the group used it to coordinate plans for dinners, karaoke, and apartment hangs. An ideal night out for the group, according to Andrew, starts with dinner, then hitting the hot tub at someone’s apartment complex, followed by playing video games or watching a movie to wind down. “We like home-y sort of hangouts,” says Andrew.
In the year since they all met, the squad has continued to grow organically. When someone made a new friend or had a significant other who seemed like a good fit for the group, they’d be invited to hang out. For example, Melanie hit it off with a woman in her apartment complex named Adriana, and invited her to hang out with the group. Now she acts as the group accountant, sorting out who owes what when splitting bills, and is also dating Chris. Melanie also introduced Jackie, who she’d previously matched with on Bumble BFF, to the friend group. Later, the group discovered Jackie’s sister is the director of Andrew and Chris’ a cappella group. And while Matt, one of the OG members, recently moved to Chicago, his brother Ben moved to Florida and has started hanging out with Andrew and the squad.
Andrew admits he never expected to build such a big group of friends when he moved to Florida. But he says he’s so appreciative of the “community” that the squad has given him since they all met. “We’re a family,” he says. “Everyone is authentically approaching these relationships and is willing to share their time, resources, and gifts. And that’s what makes this group successful.”