My Take on an Online Dating Site

This is how I would build an online dating site.

Several of my friends met their partners through online dating but despite that most people I know have had bad experiences through the process.

I was having a discussion recently with a few female friends of mine about the subject and a few interesting things always seem to come up, one being there are a lot of guys messaging them for unwanted sex or misrepresenting their availability for a relationship. That’s to say my female friends get a lot of dick picks and go on coffee dates with guys that happen to be married.

Guys on the other hand have to send a lot of text messages that are generally a poor way of making proper introduction because they don’t convey what people are like in person. I’m also surprised at how many bots and scammers run through dating sites.

Then there is the issue of harassment and general rude individuals. I wonder if a lot of bad behaviour that puts people off of dating could be helped with more social interaction and mentoring. A lot of people go about looking for a relationship in really immature ways that they would never act out in a work or family setting. A few good friends to point out missteps or opportunities may be all it takes for some.

Given all that, here is how I would build a dating site. It’s all about playing matchmaker.

As a user you would sign up with a few pictures and short biography but you can’t message other users right away. You then mark down a block of time in a calendar that you are available for a voice or video conference chat. The site would set up short conference calls to take place with two other users that have the same time available. During the call you get to know new people and make some notes about them. The purpose of the call is not to find someone that you will date but rather to find people that you enjoy talking with so that you can  play matchmaker when you find two other people you think would make a good pair.

The calls would generally start out in short blocks of time between two other people of a random gender. Sometimes this will mean two guys and one girl, one girl and two guys or three guys or three girls depending on preferences. After speaking with several people you will build a list of the ones you enjoy speaking with and then eventually you can recommend matches between the ones you think would be good together.

When someone recommends a match for you a notification will come in and you can message them. In the meantime you can enjoy getting to know new people and help introduce others. If the people you match like each other you get some internet points that would bump you up in the priority list to help boost your exposure. I would imagine people good at finding matches would be desirable friends.

I like the fact there is no immediate expectation when chatting with new people. I also find speaking is a more comfortable way of communicating than texting/typing.

People who typically receive too many messages would only receive recommendations from friends based on an understanding of who you are and what you are looking for.

Alternately people who typically send lots of messages and don’t receive a lot of feedback would be able to build a network of other like minded individuals to talk to and share advice, interests, ideas, etc.

An important characteristic of this set up is that it encourages you to get to know others and put in work towards finding matches. It makes the matches that occur more rare and significant. It feels to me like a more natural way of interacting with new people.

Ultimately it would be a place for everyone to enjoy conversations with new people, expand social networks and potentially find a great relationship match.

There are a bunch of fun variations that might be interesting to try for example allowing people you speak with to add to your public profile. Maybe one day I will build something like this. Let me know your thoughts.

Depression

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I was speaking with a person close to me that has been diagnosed with manic depression. In the past they attempted suicide several times and would say that a lot of their life has been consumed with issues from their past that inhibited to varying degrees socializing, school, work and relationships. We have known each other for almost a decade and as a young person they have undergone a significant amount of change in that time. This recent conversation was insightful because it painted a picture for me of what they think day to day, how they view life and what they want out of it.

One question they brought up was why some people experience less suffering and it cripples them more? Shouldn’t they feel lucky that the extent of their trauma was less?

It’s common for people to judge others and themselves for being deserving or qualification based on how hard their life is. This can happen in a wide variety of situations, some people feel more deserving of a raise because they have been working longer, or an opinion is more deserving because they suffered more oppression in a particular area, or others having more than them, or a a sense of entitlement because of effort given to a bad relationship.

How much you suffer only matters to you. There are no points awarded for how hard your life is, only for the results you develop or the lessons you take away.

There are always two different directions you can take, one that is worse than where you are, i.e. negative thoughts of past experience/jealousy of others and the other is better, i.e. gratitude for what you have or leaned and optimism for what can come.

This person has a past experience that is causing trauma that they are unable to reflect on without being consumed with depression. Depression can be like being in a pit, the farther you go down there the harder to get out of it becomes.

I look to see aspects in myself in others. So when others say they are struggling with certain issues of blocks in their life that they can’t get past because they are unable to forgive themselves or accept the past and let go in order to move on I offer my opinion in a way that also applies to me in the subjects I think I also have the same difficulties.

My portion of the conversation was in dealing with the day to day elements of despair is to let go of the thoughts that take you down a road of further negative thoughts and to look for a thought that brings them just one step better in feeling.

I also suggested that they establish a routine to regularly hold better feeling thoughts so that there is force to break the past condition. They said they are afraid to touch or change their feeling for fear that they will fall into an abyss of depression and not be able to get out. What they hope for is a life of being just ok.

It’s very interesting to have a conversation with someone that tells you my problem is X Y and Z but I can’t think about those issues or my life will fall into ruin. Obviously if a long standing substantial issue with a fundamental part of who we are problem was easily digestible it wouldn’t take long to work through. Additionally our personal preferences make it easy to negatively judge other peoples choices because they are not what we would do. There is to them a lot of value in spending the time to experience, and process difficult growth lessons.

They are doing what I wanted them to do. Their life is significantly better than it was three and four years ago. While I would consider their current state rather neutral on the spectrum the progress they made over the past three years up to now is huge. It’s easy for me to want others to make rapid progress but time is theirs to go on their journey and spend it on the things they choose and i’m happy for them.