Can Apps Help Your Love Life?

Amanda MacMillan
SELF


As if fraternizing with the opposite sex wasn't already such a cyber-centric activity -- online dating, sexting, emoticon-filled flirtatious emails -- there's now a slew of new apps that claim to help you find Mr. Right -- or at least Mr. Right Now. The question is, will phone-focused dating actually get you out and meeting people (decent people!) in real life? A few ways they might help you:

Find Nearby Singles:
There are several apps out there that use your GPS coordinates to alert you to other singles who may be in your neighborhood -- or in the very same bar. Sure, in some cases this may scream "booty call," but in other, less late-night scenarios, it may give you the courage to approach that cute guy in the coffee shop. Ones to try: SinglesAroundMe and OkCupid (just switch on the app's "Locals" option).

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Worry Less About Rejection:
So you sign up for a dating site, send a guy a message and ... crickets. Few things will make you second guess yourself more: Did I come off too strong? Did he not get my message? What if I ever bump into him in person now?! Instead of putting yourself completely out there, some apps will connect you to a potential suitor only if you've both expressed interest in each other's photos and/or profiles. Try Tinder or Let's Date.

Date a Real Person
: Ever worry that the guy you're talking to online sounds too good to be true? In the world of online dating it's entirely possible. But the added security of dating apps that require log-ins via Facebook at least make it that much harder to "catfish" someone or create a profile under an assumed name. Let's Date, for example, requires members to have been on Facebook for at least a year, with a minimum of 50 friends. We "Like" those odds.

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Tell if He's into You: We can't actually see anyone using this in real life, but it's intriguing nonetheless: The Vital Signs app claims to tell how attracted another person is to you via your phone's camera; it apparently reads subtle changes like increased breathing rate/chest movement and reddening of the face, which can be signs of arousal (or, I don't know, food poisoning?). It may be hard to capture your date's image without him realizing it, however; maybe this one is best used as a flirtatious little getting-to-know-you game!

Get Over Your Ex
: We get it: It's tough to move on from your last relationship when your mutual friends are tagging him and posting pics all over Facebook. Clear your head--and your activity feed--with KillSwitch, an app that will automatically delete any post containing your former flame's name or image. Granted, it's best to part ways amicably and not have to freak out every time he's mentioned, but sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures.

So get out there, girls, and make it happen! One real-life dating tip, though? Put the phone down when you finally meet face to face. Studies show that people tend to be more selfish and less social in the presence of their cell phones, and even the act of having yours on the table can make you less approachable. Instead, switch the ringer to silent, put the online boy browsing on hold, and just enjoy the evening.

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