I'm sure I'm not the only one who got the "don't talk to strangers" speech as a kid — it's pretty much the number one rule for most households, which makes perfect sense to anyone who's ever seen an episode of Law & Order: SVU. Yet here all of us Millennials are, years later, chatting with strangers on dating apps like it's our damn job. As if the idea of flirting with random people online isn't scary enough for our poor parents, we also have the choice to use location-based dating apps, which let us talk to people we physically pass by on the street — aka the exact opposite of the good sense our parents attempted to instill in us.
Needless to say, if my mom knew I permanently enabled location services as a way to meet men, she'd probably have a fit (mostly out of rage that I'm using so much data). Unfortunately for our parents, Millennials like things that are equal parts easy and effective — so if we can use a location-based dating app to find the nearest date/fling, then why wouldn't we?
As further proof that location-based features are taking the dating app world by storm, Match just launched a "Missed Connections" feature to "help singles meet in the real world." Missed Connections uses hyperlocation technology and matching algorithms to show users where they've crossed locations with another Match member — down to intersection points within one block. Once you cross paths with someone, all you have to do is send a message to break the ice.
Whether it's a coffee shop cutie or a bookstore beauty, Match's Missed Connections feature aims to help you meet the flesh-and-bone people surrounding you every day, in hopes that you'll make a ~real~ connection. The ultimate goal? To create one more way for people to find common ground. If you know someone is in your hood, it might make it less intimidating to say hi, because all you have to do is ask what they were up to in *insert cool, hip area*.
"Unlike other location-based dating apps, the goal of Match’s feature is to use location as another means of commonality with potential matches," Match said in a press release. "The people that you see on Missed Connections are also selected using Match’s existing algorithm, allowing for more context and a deeper-level connection with potential partners."
Though, Match is not the first dating platform to incorporate this feature — dating app Happn, which is centered around meeting people you cross paths with, was the first to launch this into the dating world in 2014. Here are three other dating apps with location details that will help you make a connection with the nameless cutie sitting next to you on your morning commute.
IMHO, Happn is *the* app to download if you want help finding the local hotties. When you walk by someone who also uses the app, their profile will show up in your feed, and you'll be able to see where you crossed paths, as well as how many times you've both walked by each other. It might sound creepy in theory, but it's nice to know that if I find someone on Happn, there's a solid chance they live in my neighborhood — which is super convenient.
If you're looking for an app that's a little more exclusive, Inner Circle describes itself as a 'selective dating app that connects ambitious, like-minded people.' In addition to connecting you with people of similar backgrounds and interests, Inner Circle has a location feature that allows users to see where people were last seen, so you get an idea of where they hang out (and hopefully it's somewhere you frequent!).
Huggle, aside from having a ridiculously cute name, is a super cool app that works by checking you into your favorite locations. You can see who else hangs out at your fave bars/restaurants/cafes, then connect with them to start chatting. Even better? It's not just a dating app, it's a social app — meaning when you're in need of a break from dating, you can find people to pal around with instead.
So if you're looking for a new online dating strategy, try out one of these apps and see if you can't turn a meet-cute into a full-blown romance.
Editor's note: This article has been updated from its original version.