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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

The other day I was perusing a dating app when I came across my soul mate.  A well educated nerd with a passion for history and learning new things who likes to travel and do things outdoors.  So what did I do?  I rejected her of course.

I suppose that I could have tried to reach out anyway, made it clear up front that I wasn’t looking for anything romantic, and see if I could have become friends with this person.  But that wouldn’t have been fair to this individual.  They’re on a dating app because they’re looking for someone to date.  Not because they want to enter into a platonic relationship with someone they’re attracted to.

It bothers me though that I missed out on having the opportunity to befriend this person and the countless others that I’ve rejected or whom have rejected me based purely on looks.  Certainly there must be a better way?  I think there is.  All we’d have to do is create a dating app for friendships.

This app would work exactly like Tinder but instead of swiping right when you want to hook up with someone and left when you don’t you’ll swipe right when you want to befriend someone and left when you don’t.  Users’ profiles will contain a list of their hobbies and interests not just a favorite movie quote or song lyric.  Topless bathroom selfies will be replaced with pictures that are more representative of who a person really is.

Of course there are plenty of ways to make new friends.  You could join a meetup group that aligns with one of your interests.  But just because someone likes one of the same activities as you doesn’t mean you’ll click on all levels.  You could elect to get randomly assigned to a co-ed sports team.  But you might get randomly assigned to a bunch of beer drinking lunatics that you don’t get along with.

Befriending co-workers, neighbors, and friends of friends are all good options too but through it all there’s no guarantee that you’ll find someone who really gets you.  The kind of person that you might have three, four, five things in common with.  The kind of person that you could spend an entire day with and never run out of things to talk about.  The kind of person that you feel like you’ve known your whole life even though you just met them.

These people are out there.  I know they are.  In fact, they’re probably all around me as I speak.  Living in my apartment complex.  Working a block away from me.  Frequently the same restaurants as me.  Passing me on the street every day and not even realizing it.

Don’t you think it’s about time that we made it easier to find these people?  I do and I think a dating app for friendships is exactly what we need to get the job done.  Lock it up.  Championship.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a dating app for friendship?

 

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In a recent article about dating Wired UK postulated the following:

“It’s a real 21st century conundrum: if we’re unable to meet people in real life, but disappointed in what we’re finding online, what’s the solution?”

That’s a question that I’ve been trying to answer for quite some time now. In fact, I’ve written about the topic eight times now on this blog! Eight times!!! That’s more than the number of times I’ve written about synthetic biology, quantum computing, and BitCoins combined!!!

A common theme that I’ve hit on is the fact that we should try to blend the digital and physical worlds. Something that would use the vast quantities of information that we have available to us to make it easier to find someone in real life. Something that would do the dirty work for us. Take the pressue off. Become the ultimate wing man.

I’ve come up with quite a few ideas that I think accomplish that but no actual products. Thankfully, San Francisco based design studio LUNAR has gone a step further than I did and actually created a couple of products as part of a recent project.

The first idea that they came up with is called Wizz, a stone shaped object that you can wear as jewelry that alerts you to when you are near a potential match. According to Wired, “The idea is that your information is pulled in from various social sites and dating platforms, and when you’re in the proximity of someone with like-minded interests, it’ll give you a little buzz. Think of it as Tinder and Highlight combined into a physical object.”

The second concept is reffered to as Connect. This is a wearable device that uses lights and icons to let other people know what you are all about and whether or not you are available. Here’s how it works according to Wired: “When you’re out and about, you slap it on and a glowing light acts as a beacon for other interested parties. A series of little charms communicate what your interests are or what you’re looking for in a prospective partner. ‘It provides a way to visually communicate to the guy or girl across the coffee shop, ‘Hey — I think you’re cute! You should come talk to me!’ as well as sets up the initial talking points to facilitate an easy conversation,’…”

This reminds of an idea I had previously wherein we would reinvent the mood ring. Here’s what I had to say about it at the time:

“These will be color coded rings that will have the same look and feel of mood rings but instead of being linked to your body chemistry they will be solid objects that won’t change colors. Rather each ring will denote the relationship status of the user. People who are looking for long term relationships will wear one color. People who just want to hook up another color and so on. This way it will be clear when you meet someone what their status is and what they are looking for.”

To be honest I’m not sure that any of these ideas are the be all, end all when it comes to solving the dating conundrum that continues to perplex society. While they all have some merit they also all have considerable flaws as they could draw unwanted attention to the user and also require mainstream acceptance in order to work effectively. I am, however, glad that this design firm is at least trying to tackle this problem. I’m not sure if there is ever going to be a definitive solution but I’m glad at least that someone besides me is trying to figure it out and that they have the wherewithal to make real products.  Hopefully, one of these products with actually catch on one day.

Is a piece of jewelry that alerts you to nearby suitors the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I am the anti-Shallow Hal. For those of you who haven’t seen that classic Jack Black movie the premise is that he is hypnotized into seeing the inner beauty in people which causes his character to fall in love with a woman who he thinks looks like Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s only later on that he discovers that she really looks like a beached whale. Ever since I saw that movie I’ve believed that I suffer from Reverse Shallow Hal Syndrome in that I only see the flaws in otherwise beautiful people. How else can you explain away my extreme pickiness that causes me to discard potential love interests as if they were losing lottery tickets?

That pickiness may have been justifiable when I was in college and had my whole life ahead of me but now that I’m in my 30’s it’s starting to get out of hand. The list of reasons that I’ve come up with to not go on a date with someone is staggering: A birth mark in the wrong place; a tooth that is slightly chipped; a picture on Facebook that was out of focus; a detached earlobe; the fact that a Magic 8 ball told me not to. There was even the time I slept on the floor using a pile of dirty laundry as a pillow instead of sharing a bed with a cute girl just because she shared the same name as my sister.

I’ve long defended my pickiness and maintained a stubborn belief that good things come to those who wait. This is why I found no need to date the female version of Michael Strahan just because my other options were limited at the time. I’m not a hood rat kind of guy. I’m a Girl Next Door kind of guy and if that opportunity never presents itself then so be it. I’m picky and I’m okay with that. So much so that I’ve even converted the classic 60’s song lyric “it’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to” into my new personal mantra “It’s my life and I’ll be picky if I want to”. After all, why should I settle for the first decent option that comes along? My fantasy baseball team is in 2nd place and I have a highly successful blog that seven people read! I’m a good catch, damn it!!! And besides if I wait long enough I can probably benefit from when a hot girl lowers her standards!!!!

However, while I still hold out hope that I will eventually find “The One” I am also willing to admit for the first time that time may be running out since it’s just going to get increasingly harder and harder to meet someone the more my hairline continues to recede. Luckily for me there is help on the way thanks to a new study from Caltech.  All I have to do is subject my brain to a few harmless shocks!

As NBC News reports, “The Caltech researchers found that people who receive a mild electrical shock deep within the brain ranked people as more attractive than they did before the jolt.”  The reason why?  According to the article it’s because after the zap there is increased activity in the brain’s prefrontal area and in the midbrain but most importantly there is an additional boost of dopamine – “something that has already been shown to make people perceive others as more attractive…”

Of course we already have a way of achieving these same results without having to shock our brains.  It’s called beer.  But considering that I don’t drink and have never worn “Beer Goggles” I may very well need to subject myself to these new “Brain Goggles”.  The only question that remains is how much shocking does one need to undergo to achieve the desired effects?  And how long does the effect last for?  These are questions that I need answers to before my co-worker goes through with her plan to hook me up to a generator and constantly shock me every two minutes until I change my ways!!!

beer-goggles

Since I don’t drink I have never experienced the “Beer Goggles” effect. But I soon may experience the “Brain Goggles” effect.

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#286 – Findr

The latest in a series of posts about potential new apps:

In my eternal quest to find true love I recently came across Tinder, the location based hook up app that is to straight people what Grindr is to gay people.  Basically, the way that it works is that it uses your phone to track your location and the location of other users in your area providing you with a list of single people looking to get it on within proximity of your exact location.  If there is mutual interest you’ll be given their contact information so that you can strike up a conversation that hopefully leads to a hook up. 

As admirable as finding a mate may be it’s hardly the best use of this technology.  Which is why I’d like to propose creating an app that leverages this same principle of location based sharing to match people up based on more than just looks.  More important things like mutual interests and common goals.  You know, the kind of things that could actually lead to something meaningful getting accomplished. 

For example, I’m trying to start a softball team out on Long Island this fall but in order to do so I need to find a few more outfielders.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could pull up this app in a public place and locate people who listed in their preferences that they wanted to be contacted about joining sports teams?  After meeting up with this person and finding out about their playing experience I could determine whether or not this person would be a good fit for my team or not.

In addition, this could be a great way for people to find out about job openings.  Just list what areas you are looking for work in and the next time you are sitting in a Starbucks you very well could be approached about your dream job by a recruiter who just so happened to be in the area.  Taking this one step further perhaps physical locations would be able to tap into the service as well by sending out a call to arms so to speak whenever an interested party walks by their storefront.  You’d never have to search for another job via traditional means ever again.  Instead, the jobs will come to you as you go about your day. 

I can even envision this service being used in a whole multitude of other ways.  Need to find an available dog walker in your area or a babysitter on short notice?  Just pull out the app and search for someone trustworthy in your neighborhood.  Who knows maybe you’ll even be able to find a fifth for your weekly poker game or another person to join your book club. 

What we’re searching for whether it’s our soul mate, a random hook up, our dream job, or a new friend could very well be out there hiding in plain sight right under our noses.  We just have to know where to look.  Findr could be the tool that we use to do just that.  After all, there has to be more to life than just hooking up.  Doesn’t there?

tinder

Isn’t there more to life than hooking up?

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I don’t get it.

Every day at noon Coffee Meets Bagel leverages my social network through Facebook and sends me a “bagel” aka a potential date.  My bagel will never be someone that I’m directly friends with but rather someone that is friends with a friend of mine.  Some days I’m not attracted to this person so I will pass.  Other days I am so I click like.  In a little over a month I’ve connected with seven people who have expressed mutual interest in me. 

In theory, once this connection has been made we should be off to the races.  This is after all a person that finds me attractive enough to have hit like in the first place.  And unlike other dating sites Coffee Meets Bagel comes with a built in safety net, the mutual friend who can vouch for me and ease any concerns about meeting up.  And yet as of now I’ve been able to turn those seven connections into exactly zero dates.  Zero!!! 

Now I could understand if I didn’t get seven second dates.  But to not even get first dates doesn’t make any sense.  Unless people are just using the service as a glorified version of Hot or Not, clicking like just for the hell of it with no real interest in actually meeting up, there has to be a reason for my inability to land actual dates.  The knee jerk reaction is to assume that I must be doing something wrong.  That perhaps I’m saying weird things or that I’m simply not being funny and/or charming enough.  But as you know from reading this blog that can’t possibly be true.  So what else could it be?  Did they get scared away by a Google search?  Have seven of my friends simultaneously thrown me under the bus when asked about me?  Possibly but unlikely especially since I know of one friend who did put in a good word for me.  So what is it then?  In a word: flakiness. 

Young, single working professionals are flakey by nature.  We’re unsure of what we want in life so we just go through the motions, half-assing a bunch of different things instead of focusing on any one thing.  We see our married friends struggling in their relationships, constantly uttering the phrase, “don’t have kids”, and yet we still desire serious relationships of our own because society tell us that is the way it should be.  And so we set out to try our hand at online dating but make the mistake of joining Match.com, How About We, Plenty of Fish, and Coffee Meets Bagel all at the same time never denoting enough attention to any one service.  Constantly distracted by other interests we respond sporadically, when it’s convenient for us, and not a moment sooner.  Over time our commitment to the cause wavers, held back by that one bad date three years ago that soured us on the whole experience.  We still put our best foot forward but it’s a mirage.  We lie and say that we’re looking for long term relationships when all we really want to do is just hook up because we think that’s what the other person wants to hear.  We’re all a bunch of cheaters even if we would never be unfaithful to our partner because we’re all constantly cheating ourselves out of the experience that we should be having.  Unwilling to take a leap of faith we instead take one step back for every two steps forward.  We are brave and fearless when leading our everyday lives, changing career paths on a whim, yet we freeze up when it really counts paralyzed by a fear of rejection.  We are either unable or unwilling to make up our minds.  We are our own worst enemy.  We are Generation Flakey. 

This is why I’d like to create a dating site that embraces this fact of life.  Called FlakeyMcFlakester.com this site would make it impossible for people to flake out on one another.  It does that by embracing the simple behavioral economics at the heart of GymPact.  Flake out on someone that you’ve made a connection with and pay the price.  Make good on all of your connections and receive a monetary award.  Set the terms that you’re comfortable with and then start putting your money where your mouth is.

In doing so you’d be throwing caution to the wind sure.  But you’d also become more accountable for your actions.  Presumably you’d become pickier too only hitting like when you are actually really into someone and not just testing to see if they will like you back.  And best of all you’d be one step closer to actually finding someone to spend the rest of your life with.  Imagine that?  An online dating site that actually works. 

35kvl1

With FlakeyMcFlakester.com the answer to this question will become apparent.

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The third in a series of posts in which I follow up on an old idea:

Over the years I have written a lot about online dating.  From a dating site that does away with profiles to a dating service that does away with dates I’ve covered it all.  But no matter how many crazy outside the box ideas that I come up with there is always some crackpot scheme already in existence that puts my ideas to shame. 

One of those ideas is the hookup app, Bang With Friends, which I wrote about last month: Here’s what I had to say:

“On the surface it seems like a good idea but I’m not sure if it’s ever going to catch on.  There’s already enough of a stigma surrounding online dating through reputable sites that I find it hard to believe that people will be willing to freely admit that they had to resort to using an app in order to hook up with someone.  And if there aren’t a lot of people using the service then that kind of defeats the whole point of it.  Assuming that is that you even have friends that are worth hooking up with that you haven’t already tried to hook up with.  Perhaps Bang With Friends of Friends is a better idea.”

Well it turns out that I was onto something because Bang With Friends of Friends does exist.  Sort of.  That’s because the new dating service, Coffee Meets Bagel, leverages your Facebook connections to send you a daily match aka your bagel.  This bagel won’t be someone that you are directly friends with but rather someone who is friends with a friend of yours.  If you like this person and there is mutual interest a temporary phone line will be established for you to text each other and set up a date.  It really is a great system as the site does all the work for you saving you the hassle of having to endlessly scroll through hundreds of profiles of people who look like Sloth from Goonies.  It also reduces the risk of hard feelings festering and if things go well you have a built in support system (your mutual friend) who can put in a good word for you and move things along. 

Sure some bagels are going to be stale and others will be in need of some toppings to make them seem more interesting but that’s okay.  It’s the thought that counts.  And considering that all other online dating sites have failed me up to now this seems like my best bet unless one of my own ideas takes off.  Like this one where I offer people money to set me up on any date that leads to a second date: https://greatestideaever.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/5-findmeadate-com/

In that article I offered $100 for a successful match.  In the spirit of updating my ideas I’m going to up the ante to $500!  That’s right.  $500 to anyone who sets me up on a date that leads to a second date.  Take that Coffee Meets Bagel.

CoffeeMeetsBagel-logo

Does Coffee Meets Bagel finally figure out online dating?

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I live in a city with eight million people and it’s nearly impossible to find a date.  Online dating doesn’t work.  Speed dating doesn’t work.  Set ups don’t work.  (Apparently my friends think that I would be a good match for someone who looks like Sloth from Goonies).

The only recourse that I have left is to do things the old fashioned way which is to man up and actually approach someone in person that I meet within the course of my life.  That’s right, I might actually have to meet someone while waiting on line instead of online.

I had such an opportunity the other night when I met the love of my life at my co-ed soccer game.  “The one” as she will be referred to from here on out was a genetically perfect petite blonde with a heart of gold who volunteered to wait downstairs by the door to let her teammates into the building so that they wouldn’t get locked out in the cold.  Even though I just met her and barely interacted with her I could just tell that she was a good person.  The kind of person that I would have loved to gotten to know better.

But alas I chickened out after the game and started to walk home with my teammates.  Suddenly I had a change of heart and decided that I wasn’t going to let “the one” get away from me.  So I turned around and went back to the school to track her down and ask her out just like the main character in a Disney movie would.  But of course I would chicken out again when I found her because she was surrounded by all of her teammates.

A few years from now when she’s married to an investment banker who treats her like shit and I’m telling this same story to a panhandler in Penn Station I’ll lament the fact that Relationship Rings didn’t exist at the time.  What are Relationship Rings you ask?  Well, basically, they are the adult version of mood rings.

A staple of everyone’s childhood mood rings displayed one of seven different emotions ranging from black which represented  nervousness to violet which represented love.  Kids, especially boys, often have a hard time outwardly expressing their true feelings.  Rather than ask out a girl that they like they’ll ask their friends to find out if that person likes them or not.  They are constantly looking to take the easy way out.  That was the beauty of the mood ring.  It did the dirty work for you.  Just put it on while standing next to your love interest and you’ll know whether or not you’re in love and if the feeling is mutual.  Life was so much easier back then and I think that we could make it that much easier again in the future.

All we need are Relationship Rings.  These will be color coded rings that will have the same look and feel of mood rings but instead of being linked to your body chemistry they will be solid objects that won’t change colors.  Rather each ring will denote the relationship status of the user.  People who are looking for long term relationships will wear one color.  People who just want to hook up another color and so on.

This way it will be clear when you meet someone what their status is and what they are looking for.  If you think about it this idea isn’t that far fetched.  We already list that same information on our dating profiles so why not make that data publicly available in real life too?

It sure would be helpful.  Like for those situations in life when you meet “the one” at a co-ed soccer game.  Had I known that she was looking for a long term relationship I wouldn’t have had any hesitancy in going up to her or conversely if I knew she had a boyfriend I wouldn’t still be obsessing over her.  Although knowing me that probably wouldn’t stop me.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that the guesswork would be removed.  We wouldn’t have to speculate or hide behind our friends.  We wouldn’t have to worry about chickening out because we’d never get to that point.  All the information that we need to make an informed decision would be right there in front of us.  Life would be easier.  And maybe, just maybe, I’d actually have a shot at finding love in a city of eight million.

il_fullxfull.334124340

One ring to rule them all

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