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"As someone who's single, I wouldn't suggest [you] joining a dating site if you're really not interested in dating anyone at least casually," she said. I thought my "friends only" profiles would be the measure of this: The people who swiped right on me after reading them would understand and accept my terms.I jumped in swiping myself and found, to my surprise, a lot of guys were cool with my rule.I was already imagining suggesting tea and scones at nearby Alice's Tea Cup when the Brit dreamboat got back to me one day later: "Thanks! I'm just traveling here for a couple days." I typed a polite "You're welcome," a little crushed.It turns out, according to Pambakian, Tinder is commonly used as a travel guide.So I filled out my profiles honestly, noting in each I was not looking to date, "only make friends :)." This practice got trickier on more information-intensive apps—I literally responded to Coffee Meets Bagel's "I like it when my date…" query with a "doesn't want to date me. But Laurie Davis, author of and an online dating consultant, later told me that strategy was all wrong: Being direct was the kiss of death.
People would be chiller because the relationship stakes were lower. Still, I didn't want to play mind games with my future besties."I was serious when I said I'm just looking for friends on my profile.You're so nice, and I don't want to lead you on in any way.Turns out the apps didn't create that restriction though: we did.On Tinder particularly, "The purpose was never just for dating, it was for social discovery in general," Rosette Pambakian, vice president of communications for the app, told me.