Once there was a time when we met people in the real world — through friends, community or social events. Then the internet made everything "better" with scientific algorithms that match you to your ideal partner. But 20 hours of making online profiles and hundreds of hours trawling through misleading, vacant or disinterested profiles later, you are more disheartened than ever.
Swizzle recreates the experience of a friend's party. We will match all the attendees to ensure they are compatible in as many ways as possible. We throw small dinners and parties that are hosted so there's always someone to make introductions and help break the ice.
Many of us at Swizzle have been dating for quite a while (cumulatively, of course) and we’ve transitioned (for better or worse) from going to bars to meet people to using online services. We’ve tried a bunch of different services including Match, eHarmony, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, Three Day Rule, Coffee Meets Bagel, and others. We’ve met dates and mates (yep, we’ve been married, too) in every possible venue and way. We wouldn’t claim to be dating experts but we do have some observations born from personal experience.
Our main ah-ha is that connecting in person is the only successful way to meet. Today we have too many ways to keep our distance: emails, text, chats and even the telephone. We understand concerns about safety but there are other ways to stay safe: meet in public places, tell a friend where you’re going, etc. In general we’ve found that after 2 or 3 electronic interactions the trail goes cold. You need to meet in person sooner rather than later.
Let’s face it, we are hard wired to interact in person: there are pheromones, facial cues, hair flips, arm brushes, wry smiles, eye crinkles and other signals that tell us far more than any emoji ever will. Chemistry is personal and does not travel well over copper wire or the airwaves. Unless you have professional model-quality photos, pictures don’t represent us well. Unless you are professional writer, our one or two paragraph profiles don’t do us justice. You have to meet in person to know if there’s a connection and you need to do so very early in the relationship (unless you're catfishing).
Most online dating services rely on public profiles — some are fairly short while others are elaborate with hundreds of scientifically designed questions. Here’s our problem with dating-by-profile. On the one hand, we make specious judgments based on limited and often inconsequential information. If you met an attractive, fun, funny and engaging person at the coffee shop, would you really reject them when you learn they’re a cat lover or they only go to the gym once a week? That’s not how we really judge our connection to people. But that’s what we resort to when dealing with profiles rather than people. And we’re inured to making these superficial snap judgments because there are dozens of matching profiles behind that one, so why not be hyper-choosy.
On the other hand, when we finally find a profile that seems to fit our requirements, we give it out-sized importance. We tend to create an idealized picture in our heads based on the few photos and details that we garner from the profile. We go into a date with overly high expectations and we are almost always disappointed that the person doesn’t meet the picture we painted of them from their profile.
This isn’t the way we meet people in the rest of our lives. We don’t meet co-workers this way. We don’t meet our neighbors like this. We don’t meet our friends via online profiles. The only people we meet using this arms-length electronic format is our potential mate. And this is a new phenomenon. Up until 15 years ago, we met our dates in person, too. We met them at coffee shops, at a friend’s house, at an apres ski bar, on a date set-up by a co-worker. We didn’t meet them by leafing through an electronic picture book, hoping to glean life-changing information from a short description and a list of likes/dislikes.
So we created Swizzle as a way to cut through the profile-centric dating systems and return to meeting people in person. Other online services are trying to get people together at events, but we’ve found those efforts to be lacking. They seem to invite based solely on location and age. Once you arrive, you are pretty much on your own — the “host” is there only to check your name off the list and take your entry fee. Often the event is thrown in a venue with other people there so you don’t know who’s part of your event unless they’re wearing a name tag (yuck).
Looking back on our collective experiences, we found that our best (and most successful) experiences were meeting people at events thrown by our friends. It may have been a dinner party, a birthday party, a beach party, a BBQ get together. There may have been 20 people there or 100 people, but they all had the host in common. As a result, we had some assurance that the other invitees are generally like-minded and have passed muster with our shared friend. As the social locus, the friend generally plays host, ensuring that people meet, socialize and have fun at their event. It was a low-pressure and safe situation where you met like-minded people and engaged in fun social conversation. At worst, you had a good time and met some nice people; at best, you met someone who you really connected with and would make plans to meet again.
Swizzle is matchmaking the old fashioned way, but updated for the digital age. Because you're not designed to find love through a computer screen.