Online Dating Suddenly Gets Serious

'Meeting anyone who cares about something other than herself is sexy,' says one app user

If you’re a single millennial and treading water in the ocean otherwise known as online dating, sharks swim all around you. An app that’s just a year old may make those waters a bit more navigable.

Neqtr matches single millennials not on their looks, but on their common interest in doing good, giving back, or simply pursuing a more meditative existence. Call it online dating with a conscience.

“Tinder is for hook-ups, period,” one young woman said. “I have gotten messages from men that are lewd, crude, and way beyond inappropriate.”

“Tinder does work for some, but the online-dating success rate is less than 1 percent — it only results in about 120,000 marriages a year from the 20 million per day that use online dating tools. That’s a very low conversion rate,” Neqtr founder Sonya Davis told LifeZette.

“People are looking for something real — hoping they will find someone,” Davis explained. “Tinder came along and there was a resulting over-saturation in the market. Other apps like Tinder were just tweaking their algorithm and not offering a real solution for what people actually want. Tinder is the household name, and it’s known as a hook-up app — people are racking up notches on their belt with it. In talking to a lot of women, they aren’t satisfied with it.”

Tinder is the prime example of the more cutthroat world of online dating. Users are pointed toward singles who are local to them, and then can indicate “yes” or “no” at lightning speed, based on a few, small, barely discernable photos and a few meager personal details.

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A new tongue-in-cheek ailment called Tinderitis has even popped up. That’s caused by incessant left-and-right swiping as users either approve or dismiss other human beings with a simple flick of the thumb.

“Look, Tinder is for hook-ups, period,” one 25-year-old female marketing professional from Lubbock, Texas, said. “I have gotten messages from men that are lewd, crude, and way, way beyond inappropriate. I would maybe try Neqtr, but for now the search for Mr. Right has totally exhausted me.”

How does Neqtr work? Intended for socially conscious singles who find an interest in volunteer work attractive, Neqtr suggests matches based on users’ shared causes. Through the app, people who want to meet one another can find a charity event to attend together.

“Whether it’s yoga, fitness, activism, or rescuing stray animals, we help you find like-minded people who share your same passions,” Neqtr says on its website. “Because you shine your brightest when you’re doing what you love! That’s how we make giving back sexy.”

The people behind Neqtr hope more millennials will value themselves and the world around them by leaving Tinder.

Neqtr partners with over 50 non-profits that serve as the source for opportunities for couples to do good together. They are fundraising now, looking for angel investors to help them continue offering their anti-Tinder alternative.

“Women are being harrassed on Tinder and that shouldn’t be the norm — and it shouldn’t be OK,” Davis said. “Media and entertainment and women in general poke fun at the hook-up aspect and the crassness, and that enables the whole culture to get worse, because if it’s a joke, nobody’s fixing the issue. That’s what we’re working to do.”

So can volunteering be … sexy?

“I try everything,” said one male 29-year-old Boston, Massachusetts, facilities management professional after hearing about the app. “I say put it out there, meet as many people as possible. Purely statistically, you have a better chance the more people you are interacting with. And meeting someone who cares about something — anything — besides herself is definitely sexy.”

Online dating, however, may not be for everyone.

“Online dating is neutral — it can be terrible or wonderful, depending on what is brought to it, and what happens afterward,” Dr. Shoshana Bennett, a New York clinical psychologist, noted. “The bottom line is whether you meet a potential mate in the grocery store — or online — the same set of skills will be needed to make your final decision.”

The people behind Neqtr hope more millennials will value themselves and the world around them by leaving Tinder — and joining Neqtr.

“Spend one hour of your life meeting someone and doing good — that’s sexy,” said Davis. “A lot of women are afraid to admit they’ve been harassed on Tinder. They feel shameful about it. Tinder only offers the illusion of choice through what is really just convenience.”