That said, I was confident friendship was going to be different on the apps.

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I associated more with her: She had zero chance with me romantically because of my sexual orientation, and I'd feel unethically deceptive talking with her even though I wrote "straight" in my profile and that I was just searching for friends. I always wanted an English friend, in part due to the accent and cultural intrigue.

I also doubted, after a while, people really read what I wrote. As forward as his message was (Did he want to hang out with me already?!

A woman's profile would show up on my Tinder, and I'd just stare at it.

I couldn't swipe right, partly because of an information shortage, partly because of the guilt I felt misleading the woman in the picture.

With no other criteria, I swiped right on guys who I found attractive and could write a literate sentence in their About Me, the same method I used when trying to date.

Going in, I thought the experiment was limited: Because these were dating apps, I couldn't access the pool of straight girls, those least likely to see me as a romantic target.

He asked me if I wanted to hang out, and I said sure.

"Just want to give you a heads up, though," I wrote.

Still, I got matches who would usually say nothing or just "Hi." Those who did say more provided some strange conversations. So where would you spend a Sunday afternoon in New York? No one else was that refreshingly direct), I responded with Central Park and waited.