Don't swipe, Speak



Social media is full of people posting how awful dating apps are. I wrote about what the dating app I won't build will do. Instead of swiping, the goal will be intentional. Put users on training wheels and help them navigate the world of relationships. 

But I quickly gave up when I started asking questions to my friends in the dating market. One answer in particular threw me off-course. “I like this app, I had some pretty good dates there.”

By definition, a good date should be final, right? But not only was it not final, the same person had several good dates. My premises were wrong. My definition of dating was incorrect. The more people gave me this answer, the further I steered from my original goal. It is still true that people are having a hard time in the dating market, but it is a different market.

Rather than training individuals how to date, we need a cultural shift. We need to consider that online dating is the only option left for a majority of people.

It's still useful to help people navigate through ghosting, first interaction, no interaction, or hookup culture. However, what will be more effective is explaining the importance of our immediate surroundings. We go online to look for strangers while we are surrounded by people. It's harder to approach people today. It's scary. Mainly because we don't know anything about them, and we can't tell if they are interested.

There is an appeal to packaging people in a neat box we can filter by interest. We then swipe left or right as if the nutritional info will tell us all we need to know. You may look for drinks with sugar content less than 10 grams in your area, but the main and only ingredient for people is Natural Flavors. Nobody knows what natural flavors are.

The cultural shift is making people less afraid of each other. Now that is something I don't have an answer for. However, it doesn't hurt to learn how to talk to each other... in person. Let's call it Speak Dating.