Match, the online dating website, introduced Missed Connections several months ago. They describe as “a new location-based feature on the Match app that allows users to see other members they have crossed paths with in real life. Whether that’s people who go to your park, your coffee shop or your parking garage.”
The company is responding to concerns that online dating apps are making it harder to meet in real life. And, the missed connections feature is their way of trying to remedy that by allowing people to see other Match members they’ve encountered “in real life.”
In theory, this sounds like a great feature. You might have heard the recent radio ads and thought it sounded like a great idea. And, it is in theory. Rather than sort through random people in a broad geographical area who may or may not be compatible, Match is honing in on shared interests, hangouts, and commonalities. These are all things we recommend for meeting new people. So far, so good.
But, in reality, I believe it’s going to unfold negatively. Here’s why.
Match claims there are safeguards to prevent stalking and unnecessary attention. While they might protect identity and exact location, I still think the feature, by its very nature, will enable and encourage creepy behavior from clueless or purposefully weird guys.
Women complain all the time about random guys who stare at them from afar, stalk them via the internet, then send lame messages on social media. This behavior is invasive and creepy due to the randomness and lack of rapport. No woman wants a total stranger looking up her information and sending an unsolicited message.
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Yet, this is the entire premise of Missed Connections. It essentially is the dream feature of creepy guys whose idea of asking a woman out is randomly stalking strangers and hoping their “hey beautiful” message works.
I am looking at this from a female perspective since men do most of the initiating on dating apps, but this could also empower crazy women to creep out guys too.
It Encourages Low Value Behavior
Women prefer confident guys who man up and are direct. This app is the ultimate enabler of male passivity. If a guy is around the same women on a regular basis, he should actually make an effort to talk to them in person rather than see them all the time, say nothing, then message them on an app.
To be fair, there are scenarios where connecting on this app could be preferable. For example, if you see someone at a gym you like but can’t connect because you both use headphones. Or, maybe you see the same girl at Starbucks every morning, but don’t have enough time to get beyond “hi” because you’re both late for work. If there is an obvious spark and you’re genuinely busy, the creepy/weird factor is lessened and Missed Connections can work.
However, in most cases Missed Connections represents the easy, passive way out. If a guy isn’t obviously attractive or the woman didn’t look at him and think there was potential, we go back to point one: it’s creepy.
Women Won’t Embrace It
Missed Connections will most likely mimic the rest of internet dating: tons of men connecting with women who sit back and filter through their connections, rejecting most of them. So, the built in commonality isn’t likely to make much of a difference.
In fact, in this case, the commonality factor might scare away more women: they have to actually put their personal information out there to people they encounter on a regular basis. They might not want that guy who stares at them on the bus and makes them uncomfortable knowing anything else about them.
And, if women won’t embrace it, then it’ll be just like the rest of internet dating, which is the point the feature is trying to avoid in the first place. It turns out the only true way to encourage real life interaction is to just act in real life.
I give Match credit for trying with Missed Connections. However, my prediction is that it’ll just be another place low effort guys try–and fail–to meet women who will find the whole scenario creepy and filled with guys they don’t find very attractive.
The only difference is that Missed Connections might make that Starbucks trip a little more awkward for both parties.