A blonde boy and his baseball cap friend were spotted at my local Safeway near the nuts and popcorn aisle on their way to produce. Hang on, where did the blonde come from? Why had I never seen him? Was he a teenager or of eligible dating age?

Before I could even pull up to my apartment, I was opening Tinder in an attempt to locate Grocery Store Guy. As I carried my groceries in and started to swipe, I could hear my mother’s high-pitched voice as if she were my nosey conscience: “Annie, when I was your age you talked to guys in-person. What’s wrong with talking to people in-person these days?”

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I’ll tell you what’s wrong

  • Slow reflexes: In a game of dodgeball I’m the first person to get hit with the ball. Similarly, in the game of dating, I am rarely ready to intercept a cute guy on the fly.
  • Awkwardness: Had I actually approached him, anything that would have come out of my mouth would surely have been of the “Those look like good nuts. I love nuts…” variety.
  • Possible rejection: What if he had a girlfriend? What if he blew me off? Hiding behind an app and waiting for a mutual match felt so much safer.

However, I quickly realized that Tinder was not necessarily the solution. Somewhere between choosing whether I’d sip on coffee or latte and send work email or IM, my decision-making abilities had been maxed. The last thing I wanted to do was decide between right swipe and left swipe for every guy within 25 miles of Grocery Store Guy.

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And this wasn’t the first or last time. What about the guy you spotted in the office next door? The girl who you always miss on your way out of the gym? When will you cross paths again? Enter Happn.

Happn is a location-based dating app that allows you to see how many times you and potential “crushes” have crossed paths. So why is this so much better than other dating apps? I used it on my recent trip to San Francisco to find out.

As clichè as it sounds, a day of Happn’ing in San Francisco led to discovering tech guys at every turn, and the app’s approach at matching was something new and improved.

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5 Reasons Happn is the Improved Tinder

1. Geographically Desirable

If SF was an ocean, the only fish that you can realistically date are located within your coral reef. With 1 hour+ train rides from the Marina to Palo Alto, proximity is everything, as is the case in most big cities. Crushes within kilometers save hours and unnecessary Uber dollars.

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2. Similar Interests

You crossed paths once outside the coffee shop. And the beach. And the bar down the street. I’m willing to bet you’ll probably bond over similar morning rituals, weird pet peeves and/or that one time on Spring Break… Convenient > creepy.

3. No Immediate Decision Required

It’s like a Pinterest feed of nearby men. Imagine if you were forced to say “yes” or “no” to each cauliflower crust recipe or riding boot recommendation on Pinterest? It would kind of stress you out. Instead of taking immediate action, Happn allows you to scroll through potential crushes while still receiving that same slot machine-type sense of instant gratification when you discover a mutual crush.

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4. Likes Don’t Disappear

“So far I like that you can still see profile after you like them,” said a 24 year old San Francisco Happn crush. I hadn’t even thought of that. Perhaps girls don’t feel like stalking guys’ profiles or we’re not as likely to make the first move, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I mean, maybe I do want to continue looking at someone’s dreamy smile while I wait to show up in his feed.

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5. More IRL interaction

“Right now? At the top? I think I just saw you leave lol” a Product Marketing manager messaged as he witnessed me hurrying down Dolores Park towards my cab. Crap, I was so close to meeting a Happn crush in real life.

In theory, one would think that by knowing the location of your crushes and the frequency of your crossings that it would lead to more face time. And on my trip to San Francisco, capital of the techie type I like, I was determined to prove that it would.

 

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As I climbed up the hill at Dolores Park, I was pretty sure I saw him seated at the top beneath a statue with his friends. And Eminem lyrics may have played through my head: Her palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Feeling awkward and anxious, my friends and I took a seat on a bench to wait. Until I accidentally started a full-on photoshoot in the park and missed his next message. Oops, yes, right now.

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Except I was now running off to a 1:15 reservation at Chubby Noodle for bottomless mimosas. Same story with “Want me to pick you up on my motorcycle?” crush after endless dim sum. And Mr. Man Bun who was having beers nearby on Polk Street. Needless to say, the next morning I awoke at my friends’ with a list of unanswered messages and mimosa hangover while I wondered, “Will I ever meet up with a crush in-person?”

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Fortunately, thanks to the app I’ll know next time we cross paths and maybe finally make it Happn.

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Happn is available on both iPhone and Android


 

Locations: Dolores Park // Chubby Noodle SF
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