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SingleSpot: meet singles in bars and cafés around you (singlespotapp.com)
48 points by vega_empire 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 56 comments

I think part of the appeal of Tindr/Plenty of Fish/etc. for a lot of people is how you can do the initial interacting online. I'm not saying that it isn't better for the actual people/relationship to have the first encounter be in person, I just feel like a lot of people like online dating for that exact purpose, whether its simply due to convenience (can talk to/filter through matches from home) or being too socially awkward to be comfortable with meeting someone in person that you haven't gotten to know a little bit ahead of time. Moreover, the people who are most at ease with asserting themselves with strangers probably don't need the app, as the only utility it really provides is targets.

However, if like another poster said, only women can see the "targets" and the onus is on them to make the first move, then I can see this app having utility as it can be a way for men to make themselves available to an in person interaction without feeling like they'll come off as predatory by making the first move (and likewise allowing women to encounter men in person without having to worry that every man in the room will think she's inviting interaction). But it isn't readily apparent that the app works that way.

> I'm not saying that it isn't better for the actual people/relationship to have the first encounter be in person, I just feel like a lot of people like online dating for that exact purpose

Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/0143038702/ ) has quite a few interesting things to say. Relevant here are the author's observations on dating: she writes that she expected to have a lot of success as a "boyfriend" with her insight into the female mind. That didn't happen -- women picked up on her lack of masculinity and in general weren't happy with it... in person.

But she did experience staggering success in the pre-first-date courtship portion of online dating, allowing her to get dates at rates much superior to what a real man would expect. Online, the women apparently didn't have a good sense of what they wanted.

Your observation reminded me of that -- people preferring a certain approach even though it's actively counterproductive.

People interact on Tinder? News to me! I thought everyone just went on there to collect matches.

Collect matches? More like connect bedpost notches. If your (and I'm speaking generally to HN, not you directly) Tinder matches have a low conversion rate to hook-ups, you:

-need more attractive/higher-quality photos

-need to revise your seduction-by-text techniques (get their phone#/WhatsApp#/whatever, build a little rapport, move the conversation OFF of Tinder ASAP, arrange a face-to-face low-pressure coffee "date", etc...)

-need to try a different geographic area (some areas just have a terrible dating market, even on Tinder)

Peddle your overthought pick-up artist techniques elsewhere.

That seems like pretty straightforward (though presumptuous) advice to me

Given that the concept for this app is to "bring human interactions back to the dating scene", I'm not sure it serves any purpose. The idea is to see who around your physically location is single and strike up a conversation. And the example(s) given are bars and things like that. Hasn't that been going on forever without this app? Everyone knows where to find single people in large quantities.

What value does it provide? The fact that you know with certainty that someone is single (or at least claims to be)? You still know nothing about them and cannot converse with them on your phone. You must initiate face to face contact, which is all fine and great. But all of this would theoretically happen anyway without the app.

Also, there at least two issues I see with the concept that make dating worse.

First, the example on the site of the guy who "doesn't want to be actively looking for singles tonight, he wants to let people know that he's single". That's called laziness. This fictitious guy is going to basically just put out the digital equivalent of "hey ladies I'm single" and wait for the women to swarm? Yeah, ok. Only in rare instances will that happen because socially we still function in mostly the same way (men are still expected to pursue). And in the reverse scenario where a woman does that...well, that's basically exactly how society functions right now. Women know how to project that they are single in a setting like a bar. Men observe, figure out who they might have a chance with, and then attempt to strike up a conversation and pursue. So the app literally offers nothing in that regard.

Second, people will probably be more prone to only risk talking to someone they see on the app as a confirmed single because it's less risky. This would make their choices smaller because they are probably unconsciously eliminating everyone else on the basis of risk. This makes the dating scene worse, not better. Unless damn near everyone was on the app and used it all the time. Which I'm sure the app developer would love. But realistically almost surely won't happen.

>What value does it provide? The fact that you know with certainty that someone is single (or at least claims to be)?

You'd also know that they're advertising that they're open to being approached - it might relieve some anxiety knowing that you're going to be rejected simply for approaching someone that isn't interested in being approached at all.

>just put the digital equivalent of "hey ladies I'm single" and wait for the women to swarm? Yeah, ok.

Yes, they've gender-inverted their example in order to be politically correct. You're right that men will still pursue, but I think the app might offer something to men who are less than perfect at detecting which women are signalling they want to be approached. A lot of men would like some de-risking on that front, even at the expense of reducing the total size of the pool.

EDIT: wait, unless it's a thing like bumble where only the woman can make the first move? In that case yeah, I don't see it taking off

Your comment got me thinking about another issue. The "sorry, I have a boyfriend" excuse would no longer be valid as an easy way to let someone down. With that gone, all that's left is the truth.

Also, I had always viewed the ability to deal with sub-optimal outcomes well as a form of character-building. For example, would you rather be the person who has never encountered/taken the risk of approaching someone who is taken, says no to you, or is just not in the mood to be approached that specific night? I'd much rather be able to deal with those situations gracefully. Similarly, I'd much rather learn to observe body language and everything else to determine which women are indicating certain things non-verbally. The general case of that is reading people and it's a critical life skill.

I think a lot of technology, particularly the stuff surrounding dating, does a lot of harm to society, human interaction, and people's character overall. This is just another one to add to the list for me. I can't tell you how many people who are roughly 10-15 years younger than me have zero skills in talking to the opposite sex. And many have, shockingly, never really been in a scenario where they've had to actually turn on the charm, make an effort, and hold a conversation. This manifests itself in the workplace when we have events, meet clients, go out for drinks, etc. They are duds and have zero personality. It's utterly depressing.

Strong feelings.

In all seriousness, people already use tinder and similar apps like this. Sitting at bars, swiping. Not talking to strangers because “it’s not normal to just go up and talk to women/men that you don’t know”.

This is the world we have built for ourselves! Technology is wonderful, isn’t it?

Maybe it is. I know many women who would prefer strange men never randomly bother them in pursuit of romantic and sexual interest.

Men are such horrible creatures!

I understand the sentiment, sadly, being a male, there’s little I can do to thwart its own impact on my social life, except, of course, not be creepy.

Oh wait, you said “in pursuit of romantic and sexual interest”. I didn’t real your full sentence off the bat. Well, how does one know a “strange” (unknown) man is “bothering” (strong word, I’d have chosen introduce) in pursuit of sexual or romantic interests?

Are men and women really not allowed to be friends on a non-intimate level? Does introducing myself to a woman immediately imply that I want to seduce her? I wish that weren’t the case. I feel in many ways I relate and have more interests in common with women, and no, I am not a homosexual, or any modern label, just a normal guy.

I wish there were more public spaces for interacting with people that weren't bars. I'm not a fan of meeting new people being associated with drinking alcohol.

Try a coffee place. If you do work/read in a coffee place, it is easy to interact with other folks that are doing the same.

Basically: Say, hi... what are your reading, working on...etc...

99% of my interactions this way have been positive

Coffee shops are indeed perfect. Low commitment, public, not weird to meet during the day, usually fun relaxed vibe. I do all my first meets there and its always well received.

I wasn't looking for relationship advice. I'm saying I don't like how meeting people is associated with alcohol.

If you're comfortable with small talk you can interact with people even at super markets. Other than that, the best places for socializing in my experience are various classes where people learn a skill. Cooking lessons are the prime example.

Lots of social clubs are built around sports, pseudo-sports and activities. You get to have fun doing something you like and also meet someone you've already got something in common

I have no idea what things were like "back in the day" but as a 20-something it's really interesting how there aren't many places (excluding 'nightlife' venues) were strangers can mingle and micro-conversations are frequent. The best place I can think off currently is the gym.

Really? Cause I'm a forty something and i still see all the same places as when i was in your situation: School, work, coffee shops, sports, social clubs, activities, pretty much every place i go has opportunity to casually talk to someone. Funny enough night life locations are probably the worst: Loud, dark, competitive and everyone has their guard up.

My suggestion: Seek out interesting conversation with people, don't target a potential mate. You'll greatly increase your potential pool of both friends and romantics, plus improve your standing within it

It's not socially acceptable to chat up women at work or in a public place like a coffee shop or grocery store. It was acceptable 10 years ago, but it is not anymore. If you don't want to be chased or told off as a creep, you should stick to people you are introduced to through a friend, online dating, and clubs/bars. Definitely not work. Definitely, definitely, definitely not work.

Where do you live?

I've spent a lot of time in coastal California cafes near population centers like SF and Santa Cruz over the past 5 years, and it's perfectly normal for strangers to start conversations.


It's perfectly socially acceptable to chat up women and strangers in a public place like a bar or coffee shop as long as you have proper boundaries and leave people alone if they make it clear they want to be left alone. In fact, that's how I met my husband. Nowadays we frequent the same locations and we say hi and sometimes chat up the other regulars when we see them.

> It's not socially acceptable to chat up women at work or in a public place like a coffee shop or grocery store.

Might be true for your area, not for mine. Sounds like you live in a really bad place. Have you considered moving?

As a 30-something I was just discussing with some friends how "gyms are the new nightclubs". The number of "gym thots" has been exploding the past few years, even in developing countries here in Asia. Women love the attention they get when they post IG photos doing squats in yoga pants, and they'd rather get hit on by beefy gym dudes than scrawny guys who might blow over in a typhoon. For the guys, you can do something of value to you anyway (build muscles), and still oggle/talk to women without having to buy overpriced alcohol, or have your conversation drowned out by crappy music.

I just don't particularly enjoy working out around people. I like having a home gym.

I think the meetup protocol with this app is getting it wrong by asking women to initiate. Men tend to initiate despite the rejection of interest; most women are not as forward and find it attractive that the man approach them. Why would the app depend on women to initiate?

Think about if it was reversed. You're somewhere and there's a list of single women... Every woman there would be swarmed upon, which is a situation they already have. (Open an account on any dating app as a woman with no image, or bio, you'll still get plenty of messages/matches) The example is a good case, they might not even initiate, just stand in viewing distance of a single guy they like.

Women filter their choices more than men. Bumble works for a good chunk of women who will initiate once filtered to something they're vaguely interested in. The number of conversations initiated by women on tinder must be close to 1%, if that.

I can't imagine how this would work in the real world. Suppose this gained widespread adoption like Tinder; you're at the bar with friends and see a cute girl. Are we going to be expected to first check SingleSpot to see if it's okay to introduce ourselves? Not only would I never do that, but the only purpose of doing that is just to avoid rejection and really just provides a crutch for people with self esteem issues.

Ok so maybe that's not it. Maybe the first step is to find women that are single in the first place! So now I find out that there are a few girls on SingleSpot at the bar. I go to the bar and now we're back to the first situation.

Ok so maybe it's for places other than the bar. SingleSpot says there's a cute girl... at Starbucks. Am I supposed to go into Starbucks, hope that she's still there 10 minutes from now, and then invite myself for coffee at that moment? Am I supposed to walk around with my phone at the library, the grocery store, the gas station looking for Cute Singles Near Me? And why do I need an app to do that anyway? I can just, you know, see girls and say hi if I want to.

I'll even add a personal experience. In college, I caught up with a girl after a class we shared that I had matched with the previous night. I had sent her a message but just assumed she didn't see it. I introduced myself and said that we had matched on Tinder, and got back a (hilariously) blank and bewildered stare. We exchanged numbers and never spoke again. I can't imagine it would have gone better if I said I saw her on Facebook and thought she was cute. People get freaked out when you to pull their online personas into the real world.

This is a neat idea. The fundamental premise of the software is that you can't contact other users digitally. You can only contact them face to face. That cuts through a huge amount of BS such as catfishing. Also should increase profits of local bars and hang outs if this concept catches on. The app hopes to eliminate the risk of approaching people who are not in the market. Though it also eliminates the tactful decline of "Thank you, but I'm seeing someone".

On the other hand, and as people have mentioned, there's definitely already countless venues that cater to the single scene where it's fair to presume it's ok to approach anyone you like. But this might entice people who don't know where those hangouts are to find them.

Certainly a nice idea. Since dating falls under (albeit a light version of) the network effect, getting started seems to be rather difficult. I'll also have to give up all of my location data? Eh ... probably not a concern for most users.

I think some useful things might be marking spots most frequented by singles and somehow incentivizing location owners to get people to sign up. A great advantage would be that the friction for signing up is very low.

I'll check it out when I have an Android phone again, but honestly don't expect more than 10 people in my area to have even heard of it.

> incentivizing location owners to get people to sign up

One way to do this is for the bars to somehow indicate they are on the network (a sign in the window kinda like grubhub, yelp, and others use today), and then allow them to put in coupons or something similar (points?) to attract users to the app (and their spot).

This looks real similar (in the idea) to an app I developed for the client of an old employer I worked for. Unfortunately, my employer went belly-up before it was completed. We were in the early testing stages, trying to work out a few bugs.

The back end was based on PHP and something called "Whitebox CSS Admin" template, and the app was developed using PhoneGap and JQuery Mobile (this was sometime around 2012).

It was very interesting to develop, and the first JS SPA I ever did (before I knew the term). I'm glad to see that someone has done something similar.

Good luck with it!

Can only women locate men (resembling Bumble)?

Either way, couldn't this app be a handy tool for antisocial behavior? (anything from laughing at randomers to finding a victim of some sort of crime)

Couldn't you use Tinder for those same antisocial behavior? How is this any different?

I cannot walk around the city and determine who is using Tinder.

But with this app I can purposefully visit a place known to have a user.

i.e. real-world interactions have a lot more repercussions than cyber-bullying.

"…gone are the days, when you didn't need wifi to help you find someone to kiss…"


I think this is a common app idea amongst guys in the SF Bay Area, haha. I’ve actually discussed it with friends before.

The idea is use an app to overcome “approach anxiety” by initiating in a neutral, digital environment.

With any app like this, it’s tough to launch and overcome the challenge of getting the initial user base for it to be useful, though.

An app bridging the isolation caused by people occupying these spaces while immersing themselves in their devices could prove super useful. I'm sure a bunch of the folks I see working remotely from cafes are technically on the market but aren't talking to eachother.

This would be a lot more interesting if the user data were verified in some way, such that you could filter for X universities, or income level, or even SAT score type stuff. People are a lot more open to random encounters when the pool is prefiltered in some way, imo.

I'd prefilter out people who prefilter any of things you just listed.

That's what regular human conversation is for.

You want to filter based on SAT scores?

Personally I’d like to be able to filter based upon people who filter based upon SAT scores

"Don't show me people who filter" is a great filter.

At least back when I was online dating, some platforms let you filter by education level, which is probably correlated with SAT score.

I will admit that I chuckled when I read the suggestion of SAT filtering, but now that I think about it that's mostly because I'm in my mid-30s now so SATs would not be an up-to-date indicator for me. But if I were 17, education level would be a useless filter, and I might use SAT instead.

Meh who thinks about such things that has been in the workforce for more than a couple of years... nobody!

People already do this type of filtering implicitly. In sociology, it's called "social sorting" [1].

In fact, all the characteristics you're looking for can be satisfied by going to a top-tier university or a nearby city: most college graduates have higher income levels and probably higher SAT scores, and most move to metropolitan areas after graduation. In this case, we call a "sorting mechanism".

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_sorting

Note: I'm not encouraging this behavior – just pointing out that it exists without technology. A dating app like this would just cause more sorting.

I don't think there's any point to that since people could lie about that info if its up to them to put it up themselves. Even worse if it requires some sort of proof, I don't see people using an app that requires them to submit bank forms or a transcript. Then again, there may seriously be a market for an app to match up rich people with attractive trophy spouses, but I don't think that's what this app is going for.

I hat isn't the definition of random that I am familiar with.

I find the responses to this suggestion very amusing.

General rule. Women like being able to preemptively filter men out of their dating pool based on a variety of fairly arbitrary criteria. Men who fear being so eliminated want to not be filtered out by those criteria.

Given that this site has mostly men, most of the opinions expressed will be against any such filtering.

Put another way, suppose that a woman wants to find single men, over 6' tall, under 35, with a university degree, and a job making more than 100k. Men who fail to meet any of those criteria do not wish to be filtered out.

I'm male, over 6' tall, under 35, with a university degree, and make over $100k. I still think filtering on these criteria is a bad idea if you want to find someone that makes you happy. Obviously people have their preferences and can filter as they please, but I don't think it's objectionable to call people out for being shallow and myopic.

Funny, I specifically avoided putting ANYTHING for salary when I was online dating and making more-than-average. I don't have a control group, so I can't say if I would have "done better" if I had, but I sure didn't have any disappointing experiences with someone looking for a sugar daddy, and I ended up happily married, so there ya go.

> suppose that a woman wants to find single men, over 6' tall, under 35, with a university degree, and a job making more than 100k

What woman doesn't want that list?

This is a great idea, but I fear it could be easily knocked-off as a feature for Tinder. Love the concept though!

Be sure to look at all the privileges it requires, especially Contacts.

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