It’s been ages since I last wrote a review, but Hey! VINA is an app I’ve actually used, and appreciated, a lot in the last few months. This week the developers celebrated their 6-month app store anniversary – although it took a couple of months after its initial launch before it came to London – so I thought it deserved a little recognition for the lovely new friends it’s brought into my life so far.
Firstly, I have to say, the name makes me cringe. Apparently a ‘vina’ is a girlfriend with whom you drink wine, but it’s probably just a little bit too cheesy and American to sound anything but awkward in a British context. Instead, I’ve taken to referring to it as ‘Friend Tinder’ – because that’s exactly what it is. Vina is an all-female, location-specific app for meeting other, like-minded women for friendships; since launching, Vina boasts that it’s matched 110,000 ‘vinas’ in 600 different cities.
I’ve now lived in London for four years, and spent a huge amount of that time wondering how on earth adults actually make friends outside of work – particularly somewhere as busy as London. I’ve also, having been in a relationship with the same person since before either of us had smart phones, felt increasingly intrigued by the whole foreign world of Tinder and dating apps – and, as a result, spent a lot of time living vicariously by pinching my friends’ phones in the pub and trying to find them the perfect match! So I was really excited when I heard that someone had come up with this, and downloaded the app pretty much straight away.
I spent a couple of months on the waiting list before Vina launched in London, and then got straight on with filling out my profile, and responding to the 6-question profile quiz, which covers all the key information you need from a prospective friend (wine/coffee/both; live to work/work to live/a balancing act; daytime/nighttime/both; introvert/ambivert/extravert; indoors/outside/both; have a plan/be spontaneous/depends).
The Tinder model is perhaps a slightly strange one for choosing new friends – in the sense that I’m not looking for the women with the most attractive profile photo! – so I always click through to each woman’s profile to find out more about her, rather than immediately swiping right or left. Despite that, it’s been a really simple and fun way to meet like-minded women who fit what I need out of my friendships right now – friendly, feminist, professional, maybe slightly introverted, and at a similar stage of ‘settled down-ness’. So far it’s produced three such women, who I’ve enjoyed meeting for brunch, lunch and cocktails – and I’m looking forward to seeing how Vina develops, with more quizzes promised ‘soon’ and a brand new blog section recently launched within the app.