If Tinder is the online-dating equivalent of a dimly lit nightclub with dance beats thumping in the background and several cocktails in your system, meeting on the new dating app Neqtr is more like hitting it off with a fellow volunteer at a homeless shelter or beach cleanup — literally: The "socially conscious dating" app informs users about events near them geared toward improving themselves and their communities, and it lets them invite their matches to dates in these settings. And that sounds a lot more wholesome than the typical drinking dates resulting from Tinder conversations.
Cofounder Sonya Davis tells Bustle that the concept came to her when she noticed a volunteer reading to low-income kids at a farmers' market and realized his desire to help others made him "10 times more attractive" to her. Meanwhile, her friends were telling one dating horror story after another about meeting people who were disrespectful or just looking for hookups. All these kind, good-hearted people were out there, so why weren't they finding one another? Davis and cofounders Wolfgang Wedemeyer and Amy Fan created Neqtr so they would.
"When you're giving back...you're forming deeper connections with people around you," Davis tells Bustle. "I just really wanted to create a safe way for women to date — a way for people to meet and do things that make you feel full and fulfilled."
1. What Your Profile Looks Like
When you sign up, the app has you select what causes you care about and what kind of relationship you're looking for — friends, love, or both (unlike Hinge, "casual" is not an option). You also fill out a profile that's a bit more informative than Tinders', to say the least. The app hasn't launched in my city of New York yet (though it plans to in December), so I entered my location as San Diego, where Neqtr is based, to get a sense of how it works.
2. You Swipe Right Or Left
Then you can see the profiles of other users of your desired gender, location, and age range and swipe right or left as you would on Tinder.
3. Neqtr Puts Together Dates For You
After you match with someone, you can invite them on one of several dates Neqtr has put together in collaboration with partner organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the San Diego Humane Society. Not all the dates are volunteer opportunities — some are health-oriented activities like yoga and hiking — but they all help people do good, either for themselves or for those around them.
4. You Can Get "Sexy Points" For Attending Events
Neqtr just released a new feature called "sexy points," awarded to users based on how many of these events they attend. "One of the biggest things that I want to work towards is redefining sexy for good," Davis says.
5. It's Invite-Only
The app is invite-only, with a short application that asks people what they're passionate about. "It's restored my faith in humanity," Davis says of the applications. "It's bringing some of the most amazing people out," she added — though, occasionally, "some people write just a blurb that's like 'passionate sex!' and I basically send them back a link to Tinder."
Plenty of people have hit it off on Neqtr's dates and appreciated the opportunity "to see the real character of the people they were meeting," Davis says. But another plus is that even when people don't totally click, "even the bad date feels good" since people benefit from the activities regardless of who they're with.
My only concern is that people won't take advantage of the opportunity to meet people based on the causes they're passionate about. Before you click on a profile, you just see a photo and a couple pieces of information, making it easy to swipe based on looks. And unfortunately, I noticed that many people did not fill out their profiles, which could make appearance the only factor users consider. But if people use the app as it's intended, Neqtr offers a welcome alternative to the superficiality of mainstream dating apps. Even if it doesn't end up improving your love life, it can help you improve yourself and the world.
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