In the era of swiping, MeetMindful aims to slow the pace and bring authentic connection to online dating.
Dating in early recovery is generally frowned upon, but once you’re stable in your sobriety many people want to find a partner to share their joys and challenges. However, dating while sober can be an intimidating prospect: you can’t head to a bar and see who catches your eye, and swiping through thousands of potential matches can feel frivolous.
“Everything around dating today is so quick and casual,” says Greer Shellow, who spearheads online marketing efforts for MeetMindful. “A lot of the other options aren’t as conducive to really getting to know someone before meeting up.”
MeetMindful hopes to change that by matching people based on core values and lifestyle choices—such as their commitments to personal development, fitness, eating natural foods, and more.
The 750,000 people who use the app all identify with mindful living: whether that means being health-conscious, environmentally-friendly, living in recovery, or anything else. They’re united by their approach to intentional living.
“These are people who are working on themselves,” Shellow says. “Even if they’re not at a place where they’re living a perfectly mindful lifestyle, they care about development and self-growth, and care about others deeply.”
The app, which offers a free trial to first-time users, has a more in-depth profile that allows users to give lots of information on themselves and learn more about potential matches in hopes of fostering deeper, more meaningful connections.
“MeetMindful is really focusing on making sure that even though dating often starts online these days, people aren’t missing out on authentic connection,” Shellow says. “We encourage users to be more authentic and vulnerable, and hopefully find better matches.”
On MeetMindful there is no swiping. Instead, users browse through profiles in an interface that is designed to mimic more traditional interactions.
“Because you’re not swiping left and right, it’s more similar to real life when you’re scanning the crowd and someone catches your eyes,” Shellow says. “We want everyone to slow down in the process and remember that everyone they’re looking at is a real human being, not just a picture on a screen.”
To facilitate that, MeetMindful relies on a profile that asks some untraditional questions. Users are asked about their passions, what’s new and good in their life, and how they strive to live mindfully. They’re also asked what imperfections they are working to embrace, a question that encourages more honesty and vulnerability.
Users can set their intention for online dating, and choose a mantra or inspirational phrase to share with the community. They’re also asked to answer questions about their mindfulness or spiritual practices (whether yoga, a fellowship, green living, or anything else), and describe themselves as their friends see them.
“That makes it a more humbling experience: you can talk about your best qualities without being narcissistic,” Shellow says.
Because the questionnaire is more philosophical than those on many dating apps, users are encouraged to take their time filling it out. Although the process is quite simple, Shellow suggests thinking ahead or journaling, and being very honest about what you want from a potential relationship. The app works best when people boldly represent themselves, imperfections and all, she says.
“People should not be afraid to be their true selves and be vulnerable,” she says.
This is particularly important for people in recovery, who might struggle with when to disclose their sobriety while dating. Here, there are natural opportunities to be upfront about your life in recovery and how that affects what you’re looking for in a partner.
“This gives you a better chance to express yourself, explain yourself and give your background,” Shellow says. “All is welcome and encouraged.”
In fact, it is exactly what sets MeetMindful apart: allowing people to make matches and judgements based on more than just a snapshot.
“MeetMindful gives you a better picture of who is behind the picture,” Shellow says. Getting to know someone on a deeper level online can even have some advantages over traditional dating, she says. “In person, you often learn about people in surface-level bits and pieces. With MeetMindful, you learn more important things off the bat.”
With more people wanting to improve themselves, connect with their higher power, and share those experiences with like-minded individuals, MeetMindful hopes to streamline the process of making authentic connections.
“Our world is at a point where mindfulness is growing in awareness,” Shellow says. “People are becoming more and more aware of what’s going on in their surroundings, and people are trying to become more present: even when it comes to finding love online!”