Love is in the air, or is that disinfectant? Like many other things, the pandemic has disrupted the way we connect, date, and find love. Loneliness was a national problem even before the pandemic. And with single-person households on the rise, there’s a clear need for accessible ways to build authentic relationships.
Emphasis on authentic. That’s why many singles are excited about a new approach to online dating.
People Are More Than Data
Most of today’s dating apps are anything but personal. People are broken into segments and filtered by algorithms that predict a relationship’s success based on keywords — romantic, right? Zach Schleien agrees. So he built a video speed dating app to go beyond stock photos and fictional profiles and aptly named it Filter Off.
His goal was to blend the convenience and reach of an app with the humanity and honesty of face-to-face conversation. How great would it be to meet prospective partners to see whether they spark joy before committing to a whole evening? Pretty great, it turns out.
“Dating apps are just not very good,” says Zach. “It takes a lot of time swiping and messaging back and forth and going on bad first dates. I preferred to FaceTime before dates to see if we had chemistry.”
It turns out a lot of singles feel the same.
And Along Comes COVID
Zach started Filter Off to make it easier to form meaningful romantic connections at a point in time when that was challenging. And then he launched — in January 2020. Along came the pandemic, and the task of finding love went from hard to Herculean.
Last year was a year of loud problems. Urgent issues were screamed from rooftops and blazoned across television chyrons. This left some of the whispered issues — like loneliness, anxiety, and depression — largely unheard.
But even before 2020 singles struggled to make close connections and to find partners. Our world can feel hurried, distracted, and too-often insincere. So Filter Off events are scheduled, time-sensitive, and people-focused. In other words, they are designed to facilitate genuine connections.
There’s a Reason They Call it Love at First Sight
Multiple choice questions won’t tell you about the endearing quirks that so often foster relationships. Swiping lacks the impact of movie moments in which briefly locked eyes lead to life-long love. It turns out love, at first sight, works best when you get to see each other.
Filter Off makes that easy through scheduled events at which attendees have a series of speed dates. After each date, the participants can decide whether they want to connect further based on a conversation, not a ten question survey.
The model is pretty straight-forward. Over the course of an evening, attendees have around seven dates that range from a minute and a half to five minutes. A thumbs up from both sides is a match, and since you’ve already met and spoken, your first date is that much less stressful.
It’s Hard to Fall in Love on the Toilet
Yeah, gross. But also true. As focused on finding decent dates as many folks are, the work of going about it has become pretty transactional. Whether you browse prospects during a potty break or let your friends decide who’s worthy, if you’re in the” in-search-of-love” sector you likely suffer an unreasonable amount of fatigue and frustration.
Not so for Filter Off users. The simple fact that they attend “events,” scheduled and intentional, elevates their time spent finding potential partners far above time spent deleting junk mail.
Video dating has other benefits, too. Connectedness is hard right now. And the motivation to put on real clothes and up your Room Rater score can be difficult to muster. But, fixing up your room, and yourself, for an evening of social interaction can have a real impact on your state of mind. Not only does it improve your social prospects, but a virtual evening out can also boost your spirits.
Does This Feel Like a Match?
Does meeting real people and never getting catfished again sound appealing? If that’s an all caps Y-E-S, it’s easy to get started with this free app. It’s available for Android and iPhone wherever you get your apps, and also on the Filter Off website.
Additionally, they plan to release a web-based version in the coming weeks and advanced membership options further down the line. Simply download the app, set up an authenticated account, set your availability, and Filter Off does the work. You’ll attend events with other users and finish the evening having met real people and possibly having made real connections.
And that sounds like the start of something special.