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Dating in 2018 is an interesting concept — it’s more likely a couple has met online first, and in real-life second. But for those who are still too hesitant to jump on the dating app train, we have an app that might give you the nudge you need — with the help of a friend.
Wingman, available for iOS and Android, isn’t your typical dating app. Rather than signing up on your own, you get to recruit a friend to sign up and create your profile for you. Based on the concept of an actual “wingman,” the app allows your friends to take control over who you match with and helps make swiping left and right feel like less of a chore.
Upon first discovering the app, I immediately had to text one of my closest friends, who also happens to be my roommate. Having been friends for over two years now, we’re both very well aware of one another’s dating history. But now that we live together, there’s no avoiding either hearing about or even meeting the guys we’re each dating. The routine always remains the same too: we discuss our opinions of how we felt about each other’s guy because at times, we trust one another’s instincts more than our own.
That’s why when Wingman‘s founder, Tina Wilson, told me the story of how she thought of the idea, I found comfort in the fact that both my roommate and I aren’t any different from others trying to navigate the dating scene.
“I was never comfortable dating online. Most of my single friends were in relationships … they were unable to come out on the single circuit with me, yet they were always very interested in my dating life and wanted to support my journey” Wilson told Digital Trends, “When I finally got online, they were my champions — sitting alongside me helping me write my profile, choosing who I should go out with. I remember thinking it’d be really cool if we were able to do this remotely.”
Wilson’s experience heavily reminds me of my friends in long-term relationships, who find it entertaining to take my phone and swipe through for my dating apps for me simply because they miss how fun it was. With Wingman, you’re able to do the same but actually make some progress rather than absentmindedly go through the motions.
That’s why when my roommate actually downloaded the app and invited me to be her Wingman, I was excited to help. Once you accept the invite, you’re able to start filling out all the information about your single friend. This might’ve been the part I was most nervous about — after all, writing about how you actually feel about your friend can either make or break the friendship.
But it had to be done — so we both sat on my bed as I started nervously crafting a short bio. Of course she wanted to approve of it, so when I felt confident in what I wrote, I handed over my phone. She was excited about it and I’m almost positive I heard the words “this is spot on.” To add to the bio, you’re provided with a short questionnaire of about three questions where you can choose between what your friend likes most.
Aside from adding a bio, the only other information you get to choose from is whether your friend is into men, women, or both, along with your relationship to the person and how long you’ve known them. As for filters, there aren’t many in comparison to other dating apps like Hinge, which allow you to pick from a plethora of things you like and dislike. With Wingman, all you can filter are the distance settings and age settings — which Wilson expressed was done on purpose.
“In the first iteration of [Wingman], there were so many options, so many things you could do. When we actually put that out and started testing it, I think people were confused … I think because it’s different, it doesn’t have anything that is comparable to it … we had to really make sure it was clear what people were doing,” Wilson said. Essentially, she expressed that she wanted “to keep it really simple [and] to create a platform that enables us to introduce our friends to great people, and have some fun along the way.”
Simplifying the process made the setup far more enjoyable — since we signed up through Facebook we didn’t have to upload additional photos. Once everything was complete, the swiping began. The experience was definitely an interesting one — after all, her fate basically lies in my hands. I found myself having to thoroughly think through each and every swipe knowing that I now had her trust to pick a good one. She’s also able to swipe through potential matches as well, but can’t actually pick “like” or “dislike.” It will instead send the potential candidate to me and then I’m able to make the final call on whether I swipe right or left.
Since Wingman has only been around in the U.S. since January, there weren’t too many guys to swipe through. I often found myself having to increase the distance or the age range in order to find more options. Hopefully, the user base will increase over time and provide far more choices without me having to constantly switch up my settings (after all, I remember having the same experience with Hinge and even Bumble when both apps first came out). It also didn’t keep me from swiping before I went to bed or even while on the subway.
When you do swipe right on someone, your friend’s profile is immediately sent to that person. If they’re also interested and it’s a match, then your friend automatically connects to them and can start a conversation. Unfortunately, you can’t insert yourself into whatever it is they’re talking about (although I wish you could). You’ll probably instead receive screenshots of the conversation from your friend and can help from there. Or, if you’re me, you’re lucky enough to the live with the person and can watch the conversation happen in real time!
As of now, I have yet to fulfill my duty as a Wingman by finding “the one right now,” but the search continues. We’ll definitely update this article if we experience any Wingman success stories.