Dating has become a huge part of the digital world, with different dating apps or people connecting via social media, it’s becoming more of the norm than actually meeting someone out and in person. The dating app Happn is rapidly expanding all over Montreal and Canada, and I asked Montreal dating app expert Emma Mrejen about dating in the city and in the digital world, and how the dating landscape has really changed.
1. Many people (especially millennial) are meeting each other online rather than meeting each other regularly (i.e. at school, bars, etc.) Why do you think it’s developed into such a huge phenomenon?
Millennials are digital natives and meeting online or through a dating app is normal! The tools are adapted to the behaviour of users and answer their needs of mobility. Furthermore social interactions are synonyms of mobility, meaning that to meet people, you have to move, you have to go out! On Facebook and Instagram we indicate where we are at the moment we post content or a photo, on a dating app like happn; we simply indicate where we are, without a particular pretext.
2. On the contrary, what are the downsides of online dating and how can you protect yourself while exploring different apps or areas of social media?
The downsides are probably the same then in real life; when we like someone after a couple exchanges; whether it be at a party, waiting in line or by message, then comes the time of a first “date”. The excitement to see someone we like can be associated with a certain anxiety. Everyone has experienced this in their own way!
Regarding security: happn does not allow the precise geo-localisation of anyone, there is no risk to get “stalked”.
At happn, we give a couple of recommendations applicable in every circumstance; preferably seeing each other in a public place for the first date, nothing forces you to communicate your phone number if you feel like the first date won’t lead to a second one.
3. What are the best places to go on the first date to break the ice?
We have observed that among our users getting a drink is the most common activity for a first date (36%) but ¼ of them rather go for a walk. 15% prefer to go out and get dinner and 11% will party together (a little less intimate but pressure free!)
4. If you really want to stand out on a dating app like Happn, what would you put in your profile to grab someone’s eye?
The most important advice I can give you is to post a picture where you look like yourself, something that looks natural and not over-edited. We have noticed that at happn, selfies and group pictures are not very appreciated, it would be shame for someone to expect meeting up with your friend instead of you!
On happn, you can sync your profile to Spotify and send other users songs and voice messages. A great way to speak of yourself! You can also sync your Instagram profile, which is a great way to share a bit more about yourself through your pictures.
5. What should be the main first date “etiquette” you should always follow?
Most importantly, don’t pretend to be someone you are not, just be yourself! When you meet someone you met on a dating app, you have probably already talked a little by message, so when you first see each other continue the conversation you had in person! Just relax, there are no rules, be yourself!
6. What are some potential “red flags” you should avoid when it comes to picking and choosing matches on dating apps?
On happn, you can find people you have crossed paths with in real life. Similar to real life, you do not feel the pressure to say, “like” or “don’t like” (reference to the “swipe on Tinder”) to live your experience on the app. On happn you can check your timeline and find people you have seen throughout your day, could be in public transportation, at work, at your favourite coffee shop, the supermarket.. You can also see how many times you have crossed paths with each person!
After crossing paths with someone a dozen times, their profile will call your attention and if you like them, you can like their profile (a secret action that can only be seen if they like you back). You can also send a charm to get someone’s attention and get them to notice your profile! A red flag: Don’t send likes without looking at the other person’s profile!