#onlinedating | How Dating Apps Let Your Friends Better Pick Your Romantic Matches | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

It’s been years since I was single and searching, so to me, dating apps remain mysterious. In my day, there was no such thing as a “Super Like,” and no, I still do not understand what that means. But I catch glimpses of this fascinating universe of endless profiles when my patient single friends pass me their phones and allow me to swipe for them. My un-jaded eyes see more than Guys With Dogs and Guys On Mountains and Guys With Babies (Not Theirs!). Nothing kills time like scouring pictures, trying to imagine who my friends will hit it off with, and plotting the funny yet moving speeches I’ll deliver at their weddings, all with my heart firmly not on the line.

Yes, letting friends pick your matches provides excellent entertainment for those of us who want to live vicariously through our single pals—but maybe it’s also just a great way to date.

All right, this is not a purely selfless suggestion; again, the entertainment factor is high. But though I’m not on the apps myself, even I can tell that online dating isn’t working out too well for you guys. A recent survey from Pew found that while 28 percent of American dating app users describe their experience as being hopeful, a lot more (45 percent) say it’s frustrating. A majority consider online dating to be positive, but only 14 percent feel “very positive” about it, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. Meanwhile, a full 43 percent describe their experience as being negative. When nearly half of everyone dating online is having a tough time, something’s off. Eight years after Tinder launched a dating app frenzy, it’s time to switch it up.

Tina Wilson thought so. She’s the founder of Wingman, a 3-year-old app that allows users to deputize friends and family to swipe on their behalf. Like many in that 43 percent, she was irritated by the fake profiles and bad matches that come with online dating. Dating offline remained an alternative—one upside to searching the old-fashioned way is the casual matchmaking that can occur when single people socialize—but between the poles of lonely apps and costly, effort-intensive nights out, there weren’t too many options.

The Wingman app.

Courtesy

“I kind of had that light bulb moment,” says Wilson. “Wow, wouldn’t it be fun if I could just let my friends do it for me? They have great insights. They’re always going to toot my horn, and they love me, but they can also talk about my lovable flaws and maybe just help me bypass some of the craziness that goes on.”

In an era that finds Americans both more likely to be single and increasingly likely to say that they feel lonely, dating with the help of friends is something of a one-two punch, allowing you to look for love while strengthening platonic friendships. In fact, the rise of products like Wingman and Ship, another friend-swiping app that launched last year, suggests that there’s a need to make online dating—and perhaps life in general—a little less lonesome.

There’s a need to make online dating—and perhaps life in general—a little less lonesome.

Nor is it terribly surprising that both Wingman and Ship were founded by women; men, studies have found, often have a harder time than women building and maintaining friendships. In Britain, nearly one in five men says he has no friends at all. In the U.S., straight, white men have fewer friends than any other demographic. And those statistics are alarming when you consider that having close, fulfilling friendships has been associated with lower risks of illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Growing closer with friends by discussing your dating life could just be good for you in general, whether or not you do it online.

Having friends and loved ones play an active role in your dating app life can also be useful in the battle against pessimism and swiper’s fatigue. Possible matches who, to the single eye, blur into a mass potential catfish, can look promising through the eyes of your friends.

“You shut something down before it even happened,” says Wilson, describing the pushback friends offered in the face of her cynicism. “I would say, ‘Oh, look at the wallpaper, though. He’s got bad wallpaper in the background.’ And they would be like, ‘That is ridiculous…he could be at his granny’s.’”

IdaMarie and Claire are friends who live in Chicago and Cleveland, respectively, which meant they couldn’t exactly hit up the bars together when IdaMarie was single. Instead, the pals sought matches on Ship.

“It was really cool that I got to sort of be there long distance, so she wasn’t sending me 40 screenshots of people’s dating app profiles, because I could see them myself,” says Claire.

She handled the responsibility of swiping for her friend carefully, considering what IdaMarie was looking for—something serious, with someone who seemed thoughtful. They chatted within the app about Claire’s selections, with IdaMarie offering constructive criticism when her friend’s picks were off the mark. IdaMarie met her current boyfriend on Ship, and they’ve been dating for months.

According to a spokesperson for Ship, women tend to have more friends swiping on their behalf than men do—a finding that gels with the research about differing friendship patterns between men and women. Turning to friends in dating may be especially significant for men, as it provides an opportunity to strengthen those friendships. If you’re still not sold, consider this: No matter how you’re looking for love, heartbreak is pretty much inevitable. At least if (when) it all crashes and burns, you won’t have just invested all your time and energy in someone you’ll never speak to again. You’ll have invested in friendships, too. (And kept your non-single buds very entertained.)

I wish I could end this story with the tale of some happily coupled friend who found love with the help of my Tinder-ing fingers, but I haven’t swiped anyone into romance yet. Still, an unscientific pal poll didn’t register any complaints. And to conduct that poll, we had to all gather, offline, at one of my friend’s apartments. We talked. We swiped. We ordered food. The intimacy that comes from being intertwined in each other’s dating lives has a more tangible value than connections spawned online.


Source link

————————————————————–

Source link
>