Online Dating

Are GPS Dating Apps All the Rage?

Sam Stieler

Written by: Sam Stieler

Sam Stieler

Sam has been writing about dating and relationships for more than three years now. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University, has self-published a few of his own books and is currently working on mastering the double right turn in his salsa dancing classes.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – When Elaine pulled up OkCupid’s GPS dating app on her iPhone, she couldn’t help but say the first thing that came to her mind.

“It’s a little creepy,” she said while having coffee Tuesday at the Astor Palace Starbucks in New York City.

Elaine, who did not want to give her last name, curiously browsed the list of potential dates, each a member of OkCupid who was currently located within feet of the coffee shop.

If she found a match nearby, she could message him and possibly go on an instant date.

At least, this is the promise of GPS dating apps.

Open it up, find nearby singles with time to kill, chat for a minute and meet up for a quick drink or cup of coffee.

By facilitating instant dates, these apps claim to offer a mobile-based form of speed dating, cutting through the lengthy profiles and days or weeks of exchanging messages many people associate with online dating.

The promise sounds good on paper, but Elaine, 27, said she had never actually met anyone off the app.


“While some single women like the idea, Elaine and Frankie

admitted they would never use these apps to meet someone.”

Elaine said she logged on sometimes when she was bored but usually signed off after immediately receiving an excess of messages, none of which caught her attention or encouraged her to respond.

Some messages were of the “Hi, what’s up?” variety Elaine said she expected from a stranger looking to break the ice, while others were more forward or from matches she said she didn’t want to meet up with in the first place.

The social network aspect.

Some GPS apps, such as Tinder, use social networking profiles to ensure mutual attraction before allowing communication.

When asked about Tinder, Frankie, 23, expressed her doubts that someone’s Facebook profile could help her find the right match.

Frankie, who used the app Thursday night while at a dive bar in the East Vilage, said she had used a Facebook matchmaking service in the past, but she had such a bad time that she left the service immediately.

While some single women may like the idea of seeing who’s near them when they’re looking to kill some time, Elaine and Frankie admitted they would never use these apps to actually meet someone in the real world.

Would you feel comfortable using a GPS dating app to meet a date?

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