How dating app has changed the way we meet (for the worse)

In our digital age, marked by the rise of online dating, we are seeing not only a change in the formation of couples, but also in the creation of all forms of relationships – friendly, professional and otherwise.

This phenomenon, highlighted by Stanford research and other studies, underlines the diminishing role of friends and family as intermediaries in the formation of couples. But not only…

This article explores how, in the face of this predominance of the virtual, it is becoming essential to rediscover and value face-to-face encounters as a means of forging deeper, more authentic bonds.

Department of Sociology, Stanford University,

Chapter: “The Rise of Online Dating

The advent of the Internet and the rise of smartphones have revolutionized the way people form relationships. Research by Rosenfeld et al. indicates that, since 2013, online dating has become the most common way for heterosexual couples in the US to meet, surpassing traditional methods such as introductions by friends.

This phenomenon, catalyzed by platforms such as Tinder and Bumble, has not only simplified the process of meeting potential partners but also expanded the choices available, enabling individuals to connect with people outside their immediate social circle.

This transformation indicates a move towards more diverse and accessible interactions, but also raises questions about the depth and authenticity of the resulting relationships.

Chapter: “Impact on Interpersonal Relationships”

The rise of online dating has radically transformed interpersonal relationships, bringing both opportunities and challenges.

This ease of access can lead to a certain casualness in interactions. Users can develop a “fast consumer” mentality to relationships, where the abundance of choice encourages quick, superficial judgments based mainly on photos or succinct profiles. This superficiality can hinder the formation of deep, meaningful connections, highlighting a widening gap between digital interactions and authentic relationships.

This phenomenon has a significant impact on the quality of relationships. The convenience of online dating can diminish the initial investment in a relationship, making connections more fragile and ephemeral. What’s more, online communication can lack the nuance and depth of face-to-face interactions. The non-verbal nuances of communication, such as body language and tone of voice, are often lost, which can lead to misunderstandings and a muted emotional connection.

In addition, information overload and excessive choice can sometimes lead to an “analysis paralysis “, where users feel overwhelmed by the options available, making it difficult to make decisions and build meaningful relationships. This overabundance of choice can also contribute to a sense of dissatisfaction, with users constantly wondering if there is a better option.

At the same time, the prevalence of online dating has changed the way individuals perceive and approach relationships. The ease of “swiping” and moving on to another profile can encourage a transactional approach to relationships, where deep, lasting connections are often sacrificed for instant, non-committal interactions. This can have long-term consequences for people’s ability to develop and maintain healthy, fulfilling interpersonal relationships.

Chapter: “The Need for Authentic Encounters”

With the prevalence of online dating, the need to cultivate authentic and meaningful relationships offline is becoming increasingly crucial. Face-to-face interactions offer a richness and depth that digital communications cannot match.

Authentic encounters also encourage spontaneity and shared experiences, which are fundamental to building memories and lasting relationships. In person, individuals can better navigate the complexities of human interaction, learn to trust and develop empathy. These experiences enrich relationships, making them more meaningful and satisfying.

Moreover, face-to-face encounters overcome the limits of the illusion of choice offered by online platforms, fostering more realistic expectations and deeper appreciations of individuals. They encourage us to see beyond superficial appearances, paving the way for connections based on compatible values, interests and personalities.

Chapter: “Strategies for Real Encounters”

To encourage face-to-face encounters, it’s essential to value authenticity and spontaneity. Here are some practical strategies:

  1. Organize Group Activities: Participating in group events or activities, such as those offered on Timeleft, allows you to meet like-minded people in a natural, relaxed setting.
  2. Join local clubs or associations: Involvement in local clubs or associations offers the opportunity to meet people with similar passions on a regular basis.
  3. Community Events: Attending local events, festivals or community activities increases the chances of spontaneous encounters.
  4. Courses and Workshops: Participating in courses or workshops is an effective way to meet people while developing new skills or hobbies.
  5. Volunteering: Volunteering offers not only the opportunity to contribute to the community, but also to connect with other volunteers.
  6. Professional Networking: Attending professional networking events can open doors to professional and personal relationships.
  7. *Timeleft stands out as an effective and simple way to encourage these face-to-face encounters. With Timeleft, all you have to do is reserve a place at a restaurant table with five other people. This approach democratizes authentic encounters, making the experience accessible and pressure-free, ideal for those looking to expand their social circle in a convivial setting.

Chapter: “Overcoming the Challenges of the Digital Age”

In a world dominated by online interactions, it’s crucial to find ways of valuing and maintaining real human connections. Here are some strategies for doing just that:

  1. Balancing the Digital and the Real: Consciously balancing time spent online and offline can help maintain a healthy perspective on both forms of interaction.
  2. Conscious Communication: Practice more conscious and intentional communication online, thinking before responding or sharing.
  3. Planned Meetings: Plan regular face-to-face meetings with friends, family and colleagues to strengthen existing ties.
  4. Offline Activities: Engage in offline activities that encourage face-to-face interaction, such as sports, creative hobbies or volunteering.
  5. Develop Empathy and Listening: Strengthen empathy and active listening skills, essential for deep and meaningful relationships.
  6. Digital Boundaries: Define healthy boundaries with technology, such as screen-free time, to reconnect with ourselves and our environment.

By adopting these approaches, we can navigate the digital age more effectively while valuing and preserving the human connections that are the basis of our social fabric.


As we navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of the digital age, it’s more important than ever to remember the inestimable value of real human connections. Our journey through the challenges and opportunities of online dating underscores a fundamental truth: authentic, meaningful relationships are essential to our well-being.

Timeleft is committed to strengthening these connections by creating opportunities for face-to-face encounters away from screens. With over 3,000 dinners held in 9 months and over 50,000 strangers engaged, Timeleft has not only proven the importance of these interactions, but has also created a movement towards a more fulfilling urban life.

We invite you to join us on this adventure. Sign up, reserve your place and get ready to dive into a world of discovery every week. Then share your experience to help us refine this collective adventure.

Together, let’s make each encounter an exceptional moment and contribute to a world where authentic human connections prevail over digital distance.

Who Are We?

Timeleft is not just a new app; it’s a gateway to a new way of living in the city, a celebration of human connection, and an invitation to venture into the social fabric with a welcoming mindset.

Our Success in Numbers:

  • Over 60,000 participants in 6 months
  • Meet-ups set in United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and more
  • A community of 200.000 enthusiastic members

How to Join the Experience?

  1. Register on Timeleft.com: A personality quiz to guide you to the table that suits you best.
  2. Secure Your Seat: Every Wednesday, a new world opens up for you.
  3. Anticipate Surprises: Clues on Tuesday, venue announcement on Wednesday.
  4. Dive In: Scan, smile, and savor the moment.
  5. Share Your Adventure: Your feedback is valuable for us to refine the experience.
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