52 Comments
Jun 10·edited Jun 10Liked by Ava

I’m biased having met my fiancée on Hinge but IMO dating apps are an amazing, unprecedented way to find a partner. Unfortunately their incentive structure lures users into unhealthy patterns, but with high intentionality and resilience to a few bad dates before developing your filters (they all have something to learn from tho) they’re great. You have to trust your gut and never, ever swipe right out of desperation or a moment of boredom. Maybe attractive to you but can’t really tell from pics? “X”. Prompts are iffy but could maybeee relate? “X”. I hated the apps at first (and the act of browsing and swiping still sucks) but after starting to keep my standards super high I had many great dates that either later fizzled out naturally, turned into friends, or became my future wife 😁

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Jun 10Author

Totally agree, I think they open up so much opportunity to meet people you otherwise wouldn't, but the incentives they create can be harmful!! I definitely have plenty of friends who've met their partners through apps :)

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I’ve given dating advice to thousands since 2016. I always tell them that dating apps mess up the natural dynamic of meeting someone, being acquaintances for a while to observe and measure compatibility, and then beginning a friendship with the purpose of measuring mutual interest. Dating apps skip all of those steps. You are immediately thrown into a conversation with a person, knowing that you are there to start a relationship. That’s what brings about the transactional attitude in the interactions. It’s like buying a house before you’ve gotten a chance to see it. You end up having to discover all its faults and cracks while you’re living there. Needless to say, it doesn’t work. It’s a lottery you play because you jump into dating relationships first and ask the important questions later. Meeting new people through friends and family is obviously better, because the people you will be naturally curated to be more compatible with you, and then you can apple those steps that I mentioned. One more thing: The four most important indicators of long-term compatibility are values (character and morals), personality, life goals, and lifestyle. If you match at nearly 100% in these four aspects, then you’ll match in all others (including sex, so there’s no need to “test-drive” on the first date).

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Jun 10Author

This is great advice. The "being acquaintances for a while to observe compatibility and then beginning a friendship" is exactly how all my relationships have started :)

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I came here to mention this It’s fascinating to me to see how my single friends date (or get exasperated and don’t). I met my current partner when I was in a (doomed) relationship and we were acquaintances for months (during which I broke up with said doomed relationship) and then we took a few months to be friends and loosely seeing each other before actually committing to it. That was about 7 years ago, but I do remember trying to date between the relationships and just feeling strange about the transactional aspect of it all. And that’s coming from someone who trusts other people relatively quickly! I

t’s all to say, I hope there’s a follow-up to this matchmaking effort in a year or so with, like, a percentage of people who went on the first date, second date, became exclusive, transitioned into just friends, etc. I’ll be real curious to see if this form of social connecting (for relationships or even just friendships) becomes more interesting and effective in the years to come.

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Ninety nine times out of a hundred, an opposite-sex friendship IS two people who are character/personality/lifestyle compatible but not mutually attracted. That's why they're friends in the first place, and also why they're not more.

Most of us aren't going to get to a hundred before it's time to settle down.

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This sounds so exciting but I can't believe this is only for SF and NY :(

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Jun 10Author

I'm sorry!!!! Hopefully we'll be able to match people in other places soon!!

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Same, I hope this expands to other cities soon!!

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founding

> but I’ve never had a single boyfriend who I met once and immediately started dating. Every single person I either met as a friend and either talked to a lot or saw around at various gatherings constantly before we started a romantic relationship.

After starting my MBA and getting the chance to be around the same people every day in a (relatively) relaxed environment, I've come to appreciate this even more.

One of the biggest drawbacks of online dating: how quickly things need to progress. In my experience, it feels like you have to hit it off and meet up at least once a week for the first two or three dates, or the momentum fades.

There's always been this sense of forced urgency. And the logistical planning? ugh it kills whatever ounce of romanticism I have left in my soul.

Meeting people in recurring settings, like church, hobby classes, or local board game nights, seems to make a lot of sense. But in practice, I've found it hard to come by.

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Jun 10Author

"Meeting people in recurring settings, like church, hobby classes, or local board game nights, seems to make a lot of sense. But in practice, I've found it hard to come by." Completely agree with this. I think it's really sad that it's become harder and harder to meet people in organic social settings.

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As someone who met my bf of 3 years on Hinge, people assume I'm biased, but I agree with everything said here. It's *so* difficult to deduce someone's vibe from a profile that encourages vanity and limits personality (unless there are really that many NPCs out there whose ethos can be condensed into the phrase "love going out but also always down to stay in and chill")

The other major problems with dating apps are that 1) people tend to misrepresent themselves and their intentions and 2) many peoples' profiles are pretty devoid of conversation starters. I'd love to see a dating app where your friends build your profile for you (e.g. describe your favorite memory, what you always rely on this person for, what's your "this is her" picture).

This really got me thinking!! Maybe I'll formally collate my thoughts into a dating post of my own.

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Jun 10Author

You should definitely write a post!! I totally agree, I think that it's completely possible to meet a partner on Hinge but the profiles are not really set up to give a good window into someone's soul, so as to speak, and it's easy for people to deceive others intentionally or unintentionally.

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Jun 10Liked by Ava

I got married to my husband after meeting on an app called Slowly (it's not an exactly matchmaking app but sending e-letters back and forth) and I always imagined working for a matchmaking app or building my own one (I'm a product designer), it's incredible fascinating to me that I found my best friends/lovers through internet through out the years. What about technology creates such intimacy between strangers and we feel like we know them forever?

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Jun 10Author

I think Katherine Dee writes about this but I think meeting online is as "real" as meeting IRL and sometimes can feel even more intimate!

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I'll give you 8% ownership of my first child in exchange for 5% ownership of Bookbear Express Matchmaking 😹😹👍

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Jun 10Author

ok let's sign the contract

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I'll have my associates fax you the paperwork

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Jun 10Liked by Ava

I think I might be biased because I married (and later divorced) someone I met in an app (although it was not exactly a dating app), so it kinda worked for me, even though the relationship eventually ended.

I think dating apps are declining for a multitude of reasons. One of the main reasons is that it creates very high and often unrealistic expectations.

Another important reason is kind of a paradox: dating apps are supposed to be convenient because they allow you to meet people without going out. But when you match with someone you like, the next logical step is to meet them in person. So if you feel like it's inconvenient to go out in order to meet people, meeting a dating app match in person will also feel like an inconvenience. And thus you get stuck in this endless cycle of match someone cool > talk a lot > plan to meet in person > give up because you can't be bothered > back to step 1.

Ok, maybe that last one is just me...

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Jun 10Author

I do think the endless grind of matching and then scheduling dates and then being disappointed is really hard for lots of people!

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HELL YEA

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Jun 10Author

<333

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Jun 10Liked by Ava

think this is a great idea! not sure if you’re still open to suggestions but since this is a substack it might be useful to have a question asking what other substacks someone is subscribed to. either way I think this is a cool initiative

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Jun 10Author

That's a great idea! Maybe I'll add as an optional question/

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i love everything about this

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Jun 10Author

<333 I'm so glad!!! I just discovered your substack on notes a couple days ago and have been really enjoying so far!

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thank you so much omg 😭🤍 i am a huge fan of yours !!!!!

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I don’t get why mother fuckers don’t prescribe to the European style of dating of just slowly becoming something significant over time. Like, bro you need to be able to be friends otherwise the whole hanging out when you’re not naked is gonna suck

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Jun 10Author

I think it's just hard when you don't have a large friend group!

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Man - America needs more third places. Work and home ain’t enough. It’d be cool if we had community centers that made it easy to form hobby groups and maybe have random classes. Like public access television but for classes.

At least that’s what I think would be a nice way to get people out talking to each other more.

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Hi Ava — thank you for doing this. I think it's interesting and fun to experiment with ways to meet people. I filled out the survey and am curious about the resulting experience.

Something I've been thinking about lately, which maybe underlies some of the tensions here, is that meeting people, dating, romance, etc. might just be an inherently unpredictable, imprecise, and inefficient thing. And I wonder if these mechanism for matching (apps, surveys, singles parties, whatever), with their promises of (some amount of) efficiency, are slowly lowering our willingness to "waste time" looking for partners. Do they change our expectations about how much time and messiness is required for this whole thing? And does that lead to being frustrated with experiences that otherwise might be totally normal (e.g. I can't believe I spent a whole 3 hours with this person, they were so horrible, etc.)? At the same time I don't want to discount the fact that they are of course helpful.

So yea, I guess this comment is just a public reminder to myself(?) that no matter what it's going to be a zig-zagging process. This fantasy of a frictionless and efficient world is alluring (and of course becoming true in some ways), but maybe also a little misleading (or to be more dramatic: insidious)? I think might be the kind of person who needs a warning label, or a disclaimer: "this will only help you to an extent, you still have to be willing to do x, y, z if you want any chance of finding love" : )

Awesome related reading on this topic: https://theconvivialsociety.substack.com/p/waste-your-time-your-life-may-depend

Thanks again,

Alex

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Alex, I think this is so true: "I wonder if these mechanism for matching (apps, surveys, singles parties, whatever), with their promises of (some amount of) efficiency, are slowly lowering our willingness to "waste time" looking for partners." My experience has been that love is not efficient. And searching for a partner who fits a physical type and a common set of interests may wall you off from the partner with whom you would have had an amazing, confusing, illogical spark...the very person with whom you might have had an extraordinary life.

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Dating fatigue is a rich people issue. The problem the overwhelming majority of males (and a non-trivial percentage of females) face is the lack of dates despite dedicating countless hours. This is because by design, the other users can always find someone more attractive.

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Jun 10Author

I think it's definitely true that dating apps can incentivize bad behavior (in this case, endless pursuit of optionality)

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Hey Ava, love this idea! Just wanted to point out that the twitter field in the form currently expects an email string (with an @), so it won't let you proceed with your username.

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Jun 10Author

Thank you!! will fix 😅

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What a relatable read - while I haven’t put in as much effort into matchmaking, I have somehow managed to be directly responsible for 2 marriages and 1 baby at this point! One girl I met on BumbleBFF and introduced to a friend and her now fiancé - making the BumbleBFF subscription honestly priceless. So I think if I were to ever do a project like this it would be probably riff off the original Hinge concept of friends of friends but then presented like a “Date_my_friend.ppt” event where you promote your single friend to a crowd of intersecting friend circles

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