Oh Gay Cupid! Your New Best Friend Awaits

Welcome to Oh Gay Cupid! Autostraddle’s OkCupid series. We get lots of questions on Formspring regarding online dating, so we finally got a bunch of people together to talk about it. While OkCupid isn’t the only online dating site for queers, and maybe isn’t even the best, it does seem to be the one we use most often. We’ll be discussing all things OkC, including meeting friends, first dates, profiles, fuck-ups, letdowns and more. Even though it’s the ‘OkCupid Series,’ the advice given in this series could easily be applied to any online dating site.

 Oh Gay Cupid! illustrations by Rory Midhani

 

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How To Make Friends On OK Cupid

It’s unsettling when you realize, “Oh shit, I need to make friends.” This crisis usually occurs when entering kindergarten, moving into dorms or waking up from a ten year coma. If it’s happening later in life, you’ll find yourself too big for the sandbox and without the luxury of playdates. The task becomes more daunting when you’re specifically seeking sapphic sisters. Most people have friends already and aren’t running to strangers with open arms and friendship bracelets. If you need some queerettes in your life, you gotta suck it up since The Real L Word isn’t going to make fun of itself.

Going to a dyke bar and chatting up strangers is fucking terrifying. For one? It’s impossibly loud. Two? The bar may not exist. Three? It’s hard to convince your tipsy potential-BFF that you just want to hang out and play with her cat instead of her other feline-synonym.

Sometimes you have to resort to the internet — and by sometimes I mean all the time. God I fucking love the internets. As you lovely queerettes prove, sometimes you just wanna talk to another queer. Which is fantastic, but when you’re complaining about the Worst Date Ever followed by the Worst Hangover Ever and an online friend suggests bringing you coffee and cookies, you really wish they would. But they can’t. Because there’s a fucking screen in the way. And something like 500km.

So go to OkCupid.

I really hope you didn’t wrinkle your brow. A ton of people have already experienced OkCupid’s magical ability to connect those who want to cuddle. That doesn’t mean it’s limited to romantic/hedonistic endeavors. If you do it right, you can also find queerettes to invite for platonic Carcasonne nights! That may not sound important, but trust me, it’s really hard to keep track of your meeples when your opponent keeps taking off her shirt.

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Let People Know What You Want

I’m 80% sure most people doubt you just want friends when you include New Friend in your ‘looking for’ options. For one thing? It’s the default answer. For another? I’ve seen people use it to lessen the surprise of ticking off Casual Sex. (Not sex shaming at all! You Do You!… or in this case You Do Hir!) Make sure to elaborate in another section so people believe you.

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Be Honest

Your meet up will go oddly if you sound exuberant and talkative on OkCupid but can’t finish a sentence in the real world. There’s nothing wrong with being reserved! Shy people need friends too! I like to think we’re an awesomely endearing bunch when we’re shuffling our toes and dog-earing our menus. So really, you don’t need to try to be someone you’re not.

If you feel like your bashfulness may be a hindrance IRL, let your potential BFFs know. Before you meet up, explain that it takes time for you to open up or feel comfortable talking. Seriously, my one friend actually had the disclaimer: “The first four times we meet you will think I don’t like you. I’ll make up for it on the fifth.” It was 4000% worth it.

Own Up to Your Past

There are plenty of reasons why you might be lacking in the queerette department. If you’re moving, coming out, graduating or having a messy breakup, you may as well own up to it in your profile. These life experiences are completely relatable and interesting in a car-accident kind of way. That isn’t a bad thing! That’s a fucking selling point.

Don’t be scared to be imperfect. Face it. If this person had been your friend three weeks earlier, they would have been listening to you rant about your feelings anyways. May as well let them know what you overcame since it may come up again. Especially if you need help packing your next UHaul.

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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Have a good friend fact check your profile. Don’t feel ashamed! Your friends should jump at the chance to help you meet more people! They know you best and can let you know if your profile accurately captures your sense of humour and your love of pumpkins. Ask your friends if a) your profile sounds like you and b) if they would want to be friends with that profile. If the answer to both of those questions is no, you should edit and/or consider a career in ghost-writing profiles for other people.

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Send a Fucking Message

This advice goes for any kind of online-offline socializing. Just do something!

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This is the Internet!

Friendships aren’t limited by postal code (or zipcode or area code or whichever way you’d like talk about geography). Why not check out the rest of the world and make some penpals?

If you travel a lot, switch your Looking For city to browse for platonic playmates at your different stops. Your work trips will be more bearable if you have someone to share a beer with that won’t bring up your company’s fiscal earnings. Be proactive with your messaging! Remember, they are much less likely to find you than the other way around.

If you’re planning a big move, create a profile in your new city while you pack. You’ll have familiar faces eager to meet you once you’re settled and it can give you something to focus on as you’re freaking the fuck out. Plus, if they pass the not-a-murderer test, you can have some company while you unpack!

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Gently Sidestep Their Advances

You can never be 100% sure that your friend date is just a friend date. If you’re talking and it seems like they want more than a playpal, stay calm. Breathe. Possibly button up your shirt. Keep the convo in neutral territory until they stop flirting. If you’re talking about future plans, emphasize the things you’ll do with your clothing on (ie. cookingconcerting and composting). Avoid anything sexual (ie. nix roller derby, women’s soccer and anything from this list). If she’s still coming on strong you can always pull the asshole-trump card and talk exclusively about exes to stamp out the fire in her britches.

You may have to reiterate that you were only looking for friends, apologize and settle your tab. In the same way that dates may go horribly wrong, friend-dates may also go wrong too. That doesn’t make you any less of a person. It  just makes you human.

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Treat Your Internet Friends Like Actual Friends

So you met online, big whoop. If you live in a city with internet, you probably hooked up with someone because of the internet. If your friends weren’t sketched out by Sally829 tiptoeing out of your bedroom at 3am, they definitely won’t care where you found your new friend.

Make sure you treat your new internet friend like someone you met in 3D. Text them. Phone them. Have a coffee. Share a beer. Play wingwoman for one another. Introduce them to your other friends (and vice versa) at parties or dinners. All friendships start somewhere and in 2012 it’s better to say OkCupid than Myspace.

Given that the world is so tiny, there will be a situation where you invite two new online friends to a hang out. Where they know each other. Because they dated. Or are still dating. Or are actually on a date and you only find out six months later that you were a third wheel.

This will be hilarious and serve as a great conversational topic for the next friend you meet off of OkCupid.

Have you made friends from an online dating site? Do tell!

Profile photo of Kristen

Hailing from Vancouver, Kristen's still trying to figure out how to survive Montreal's Real Legitimate Canadian Winter. So far she's discovered that warm socks, giant toques and Tabby kittens all play a role in her survival. Her ultimate goal is to rank higher than KStew in the "Kristen + Autostraddle" Google Search competition.

Kristen has written 140 articles for us.

107 Comments

  1. Thumb up 2

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    Amazing. I actually met a really good friend of mine from 4chan, and a few other (albeit, skeezy) hookups from OKC.
    I guess I haven’t had much luck in finding others who just want to be friends.
    I even had one OKC “date” tell me that “you know people only use this website to hook up, right?” when I had finished showing them around the city and we were back at my place to hang out (at least, that was my intention). In hind sight, I probably should have screened them more carefully before meeting.

  2. Thumb up 2

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    OKCupid was great. And then they were purchased by Match. I made a lot of friends on there 2009 and 2010, they had great a great social sciences blog (hasn’t been updated since April ’11), and I even went on a few groovy dates.

    Since the takeover though, I only ever meet trolls, never went on a genuine date through them, and … well, I’m still really peeved OKTrends stopped updating!

    But I loved this, especially the illustrations! I might need to venture once more into the seedy underbelly and try my damnedest to enjoy it again. Thanks for the inspiration Kristen.

  3. Thumb up 12

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    I met my girlfriend on OKCupid a year and a half ago. She lived 2 states away, but messaged me because we were a 99% match. I fell in love with her through her emails/phone calls/texts before we even met in person.

    Of course, I also have a stalker now… but I think the good wins out in this case :)

  4. Thumb up 10

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    There was a girl I knew who met a boy via match.com, who had unkempt facial hair and would wear just a thigh-short red robe with socks in our residence hall common kitchen and was loud during sex and eventually proposed after six weeks by stepping fully-clothed including shoes into a bath with her.

    I’m still conflicted about the online dating and/or friend-making stigma, is I think what I’m saying.

  5. Thumb up 2

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    I met my ex and my current girlfriend through okcupid. I signed up for it because one of my gay guy friends had a profile and suggested i do the same. Couldn’t have asked for better results! I have a wonderful girlfriend and have met some friends as well.

    Don’t be afraid to go for it i say! Never know what will happen

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      Meh… I used OKC for what seemed like an eternity (8-9 months?), met up with 10-12 women… no luck. I wasn’t interested in any of ‘em. So, yeah. I don’t plan on going back any time soon. Waaaaaayyyy too tedious for no results. Doesn’t work for everyone. Not that I have all that much luck in person either, but it’s sure a lot better luck than OKC.

  6. Thumb up 6

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    Before I came out to anybody(except from myself), I joined a Gay Christian dating site (they actually exist somehow) for friendship and now I am really good friends with someone across the world from me. We have so much in common, constantly support each other with relationship issues,faith etc just on skype and facebook- we want to meet someday. I think that these kind of sites are like filters that allow people to meet like minded people and its great, for dating or friendship. I mean where else would I meet another gay christian friend so easily?

    Great article btw! :)

  7. Thumb up 4

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    Fantastically written article. And the drawings are epic.

    OkCupid. Hmm, mixed bag. I did meet this very cute girl off the site and we seemed to have a lot in common. But I wasn’t looking looking for anything beyond friendship – and expressed that in my profile. Unfortunately, she had just dumped her boyfriend of 3 years after coming to terms with her sexuality. That only came up briefly the first time we met and it didn’t seem like a big deal. But, it would have been nice to know – before she invited me back to her apartment to allegedly watch Star Trek reruns – that she was only out for a shag. It just felt wrong to take advantage of a girl’s new found homosexuality while Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine were eye-sexing each other in the background tv. It’s a big responsibility to thrust on someone.

    Second time I met someone off the net it turned out a little better. She was cool and I got a nice friend vibe from her. Although, sometime during one of our lunches I looked at her and had the startling realization that I found her attractive. We don’t live in the same state anymore so the friendship never had a chance to evolve into anything deeper – which is a good thing considering the gay options in my new city.

  8. Thumb up 5

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    Just FYI, OKCupid isn’t really “free” in that it sells your personal informations to advertisers. Of course if you have a Facebook account it’s probably NBD since everything about your person that can be sold to them already have been, just a heads up for those who care about these things.

  9. Thumb up 3

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    I am really excited about this series. Very relevant to me right now as I’ve just moved back home and realized that I know exactly 5 people in this whole entire city.

    From experience, I totally agree with being upfront if you’re pretty shy or quiet. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I think quietness is pretty easy to misinterpret as unfriendliness or disinterest. My profile says that you should message me if you find awkwardness endearing. It’s kinda cheesy, but it makes me feel less bad if there are any awkward silences during the meetup. Also I’ve gotten some messages from people who apparently love awkward people (who knew?).

  10. Thumb up 2

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    I have been chatting with some ladies on OKC, but I haven’t met anyone yet.

    Craigslist, though – I love CL! I met 2 of my best friends on there, and tonight I’m going out with a group of 6 or 7 queer ladies on a non-awkward meet up.

  11. Thumb up 9

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    I’ve actually met a few just-friends on okcupid, weirdly enough.

    I have to say that I had a lot better luck with finding sexytimes people on okc after I started searching for the phrase “autostraddle” in their profiles. Just sayin’.

  12. Thumb up 2

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    I’ve made zillions of friends via okcupid–it’s excellent! And now that I live in a shitty small town in the south, it’s about the only resource I have. So far, so good :D

  13. Thumb up 2

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    I met my two besties in DC on OKCupid! (One has since moved away, but she still totally counts!) Also I have gone on some dates which were either “meh” or “AWESOME!!!!” but pretty much never terrible. My username is monikerrr! You should message me! And mention this post!

    (*Alcohol may have contributed to the number of exclamation points in this comment but not to the sentiment behind them.)

  14. Thumb up 3

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    This is exactly the reason I joined OKC about two weeks ago, I’ve been talking to a couple of really cool sounding people which is awesome AND now I feel a whole lot less lame for having to advertise for friends. Yay validation.

    I still feel like my profile is awkward and possibly makes me sound like a weirdo though, and I NEVER know what to say to people when I message them. In person i can do, emailing complete strangers freaks me out. Internet friend dating neuroses: normal?

    • Thumb up 6

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      it’s normal for me… i hyperventilate a bit when i want to message someone, and then i just don’t do it altogether. i have messaged zero people to date and am about to deactivate my account due to my excessive anxiety…. :( good luck to you! (also hi, want to be friends? is this awkward???)

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        Sure, that would be awesome! My OKC name is cataplexi, possibly we can talk each other into being less neurotic and messaging other people? (also I’m not as awkward and weird as my profile probably makes me sound I swear)

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          I probably sound incredibly neurotic on my profile. I try to be as honest with my foibles as possible since I’m looking for people as odd as I am… instead of The Perfect Girl. Since I just moved, most of my friends can be traced back to my profile (ThatOtherDyke). It worked!

          Just message a few people and try to start a convo. What’s the worst that could happen? If they don’t respond you don’t have to see her anyways. And drunk OkCing is a completely acceptable activity.

  15. Thumb up 3

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    i recently reactivated my okcupid account…and within 5 minutes i had a huge panic attack. i discovered that an old friend that consequently rejected me for another boy is now single and bisexual, and i turned into a blob of feelings that couldn’t sort itself out. (i’ll be so damned if she sees this!)

    now that i think i’m past that, i still have overwhelming anxiety just even trying to MESSAGE someone…mostly because i can’t own up to being a jobless recent graduate bum who still lives with her parents. but this article gives me a little hope cause i wanna make some friends… plus the illustrations are just so, so charming. HI Y’ALL

    • Thumb up 2

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      I hear you on the jobless graduate bum living w/ her folks. Now I have a job, am in graduate school… and still living with my mom. Le sigh. It happens to the best of us. Thankfully, it seems more and more people are forgiving of that still at home status. So maybe its not something you want to proudly announce on your profile, but letting potential dates know what’s up when you meet them isn’t as nerve wrecking as you think it is. Good luck!

  16. Thumb up 6

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    Ugh. I have a love/hate relationship with OKCupid. I have made and deleted 2 profiles… and right now after reading this article, I’m thinking about creating lucky #3.

    My problem? The “gay” “straight” “bi” options. Why can’t they add queer? I’ve used “bi” but disliked all the three-some requests I got from straight couples and cis-het bros. I tried “gay” and wasn’t able to make any connections.

    I guess I just need to suck it up and wade thru some of these unsavory messages to maybe communicate with some great queermos out there. OK. Lucky #3 it is.

    • Thumb up 4

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      We ‘queers’ started a new dating site that has real queer dating options, unlike are competitors who don’t grasp what it means to be queer. We even have pansesxual, poly, and trans options too!

      It’s free and for real!

      Datebound.com

      • Thumb up 0

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        Groovy!

        I can’t wait to try it out!

        I have a hard time dealing with labels because I’m a Transsexual, Panromantic, Lesbian. Basically: I’m MtF Trans and I can fall in love with any gender presentation or sex, but I’m only interested in coitus with other women. Yeah I know, I’m a bloody enigma. Welcome to my world. Haha…

  17. Thumb up 4

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    Autostraddle I AM OVERWHELMED BY HOW TIMELY THIS POST IS. I was complaining to a friend about how I needed a cuddle buddy for the third night in a row and he finally exploded and said YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR OKCUPID PROFILE AND BE ACTIVE AND BE SPECIFIC AND DIRECT ABOUT YOUR NEEDS and then this post showed up on my tumblr dashboard.

    You all are just that good…also, this might me my first comment in over 1.5 years, that’s how impressed I am right now.

  18. Thumb up 1

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    Never tried OkCupid, but when I moved to a new town I joined MeetUp.com to meet new people – I went to trivia night and ended up committing myself to a kickball team. 6 months later I have an amazing group of friends! Thank the internet gods for inventing such websites or else my dog would’ve gotten really bored of me talking to her.

    Also also, I started a Colorado Autostraddle Facebook group. We’ve had several meetups and it’s definitely led to meeting some awesome people.

  19. Thumb up 2

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    I keep trying but sometimes we both decided it would be more fun to have sex.

    Which isn’t really a problem, but for awhile there I’m pretty sure I was dating more people than I had friends and was trying to change that. Kind of awkward!

  20. Thumb up 2

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    omg I want to meet some people in the Vancouver area, I have just moved here *freaks the fuck out* I am looking for kooky but real friends and someday a new Lady Friend if that somehow works out.I like hiking, dining, coffee and hipster dykes. ashleyb85 on okcupid :)

  21. Thumb up 2

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    you guys, nothing seems to be working for me. ive sent lots of messages to people on both okcupid and gaydargirls but only like a 10% respond and even less seem eager to continue messaging. i’ve only actually met only one person. im still trying but im still lacking in the department of queer buddies.
    if youre at or around liverpool and interested in hanging out let me know :)

  22. Thumb up 1

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    I have made a handful of friends on OKC over the years. It’s also where I met my last two ex gfs. Win some, lose some. Now I just want to edit my profile to find someone to help me keep my Meeples in a row. It’s hard to tell the big ones (that count as two) from the ‘regular’ ones, I need help.

  23. Thumb up 1

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    OKC is the best. I’ve admittedly never met a girlfriend on OKC, but I’ve met pretty much all of my queer friends in the area on OKC. And this is awesome because (1) friends are the best! and (2) new circles of queers you can date!

  24. Thumb up 4

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    I actually sent an Okcupid message to someone who writes for Autostraddle maybe three weeks before finding Autostraddle…it was ignored and then when I realized who it was, I didn’t come back for circa three weeks out of embarrassment.

  25. Thumb up 1

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    I have made so many friends from okc! I have a disclaimer on my profile though that says to assume friendship and communicate otherwise, because it can be super awkward wondering what the other person’s intentions are. And before I added that, I have had someone not respond to me after what seemed to be a mutually agreed to be successful hanging-out because perhaps she thought my eager attempts to hang out again and be ~FRIENDS~ meant I wanted to date. Oops. But anyway, okc is excellent for friend-making. I will admit I have no clue how anyone finds dates and relationships, online or IRL, but friends on online dating sites? Go for it.

  26. Thumb up 1

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    I was on OKCupid for a while but I haven’t had one for at least six months now and it is due to a few things.

    #1 People would flake ALL THE TIME. We would be in the middle of planning a hang out and all of a sudden the person would just stop communicating.

    #2 I work at the Berkeley Whole Foods which gets a lot of business from the local queers and I would always feel awkward when I’d run into people I’d browsed on the site (luckily no one I messaged).

    #3 It’s a time-sucker!

    But for those that still have an OKC, I think this is a wonderful article and those drawings are ace.

  27. Thumb up 6

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    Completely irrelevant to OKCupid, but my three-year-old niece got ahold of my phone and scrolled to this article on her own and was making up stories about the princess, the frog and the unicorn with glasses. She pitched a fit when I wanted my phone back. Also now she thinks princesses can look cool with short hair, too.

    So basically, the art rocks. And if my niece starts begging for an alternative lifestyle haircut for her fourth birthday, I’m blaming Autostraddle. :)

  28. Thumb up 4

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    A few tips from one who’s done my fair share of internet browsing over bored weekends (although admittedly, I’m rather particular – so a much smaller percentage ended up in meet-ups).

    1. The photo you think makes you look super attractive may not be. Ask your friends your opinion; it’s kind of like American Idol – ask a somewhat-objective person before putting it out in the world. I’ve seen tons of unattractive-looking photos, when I suspect the person isn’t really that ugly (based on secondary photos).

    2. Stay away from people who request ‘No DRAMA!’ – these people undoubtedly have drama in their lives, or very recent past, that makes them want to avoid it. These people probably attract drama.

    3. Same goes for baggage. We’ve all got some, if you spend too much thinking about it, you’ve probably got more than most.

    4. Fill in a profile with your own words – if you aren’t specific, you don’t have a personality. State who you are, and what attracts you.

    5. Don’t expect a date – expect a meet-up. True chemistry is really best discovered in person. People can write glittery words that make you swoon and have incredible photos, but there may be no chemistry. Plan for a coffee or a drink, and leave expectations at home.

    6. Don’t be on all the dating sites (or if you do, use different photos) – you start looking desparate. Though I guess that means the person who recognized you on multiple sites are ALSO on those sites.

    7. Use a different photo than any of your fb photos. Otherwise you’ll get recognized by others in the community when you RSVP events, leave comments, etc. And don’t put up photos of you with your friends – just because they’re cute, doesn’t make you look cuter – in fact, it can be a contrast. Plus I’m sure your friends will appreciate not being on the dating sites without permission.

    8. Unattractive (to me) photos include: lingerie or body shots (we’re women! much more drawn to mystery/intrigue), sunglasses inside (suggests trying too hard to look cool), too much makeup, blurry or too-dark images, Halloween costumes (no matter how cute you think you look, we have no idea what you *normally* look like), and back of heads or scenery. I can google the Grand Canyon, thank you.

    9. Spell check, for god’s sake. And leave the text-speak to texting.

    10. Plan to meet up, and see if there’s actual chemistry. Weeks of emailing back and forth can cause one person to get bored and lose interest.

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      I wholeheartedly agree on 2. Steer clear. Is it just me, or is it PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that those are the people who create the most drama? Sometimes I feel like writing in my profile, “Although I do not enjoy conflict I, as a rational and mature human being, know that it will inevitably arise and have the skills to most likely handle such a situation.” But…eh… no one likes an overly snarky profile, either.

      Also, technically, I majored in drama. Check my degree. So, if you’re that opposed to hearing about the works of Caryl Churchill, the current state of Broadway, or my feminist analysis of representations of women in the works of Shakespeare, it’s also probably a no-go.

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      I will definitely agree to 5, 9 and 10. Emailing back and forth can give you a false impression of someone. If you each have time to edit and re-edit your responses you may show a different part of yourself.

      Although I would argue with Halloween costumes. As long as you have at least one real life photo, showing yourself doing what you love to do (ie. mountain climbing, making costumes, going to a bar, traveling) is a benefit.

  29. Thumb up 0

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    I’ve only ever made friends with OkCupid, but I’m kind of okay with that.

    Also, I’ve met tons of genderqueer people on there too, which I’m definitely okay with. It does make me really frustrated that there’s no gender options besides the standard binary though.

  30. Thumb up 0

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    Not sure if it is a race thing, but I’ve never had good luck with OKC…Not even to meet friends. The same goes for many of my black female friends.

    Quite a few of my white (and fair skinned POC) buddies have had luck with the website- hookups, dates, and one girl even met her BF on there.

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    I can honestly say OKC has not worked for me in the past. I came in wanting friends and then having a totally different result. Sad to say, you’d think living in a big city people would want more queer friends, but they really don’t.

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    I don’t know how I feel about OkCupid…I’ve made a few good friends (yay!) but it doesn’t seem to work as a dating site. Every time I go to give up on it someone interesting messages me, though,so I can’t come to a conclusion on whether or not I like it. :/ I am tired of the fact that ~90% of the people it matches me up with are already in committed relationships.

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