While Tinder, Hinge and Bumble pretty much still dominate the online dating space, there’s no shortage of niche dating apps trying to carve out their own territory in an increasingly oversaturated market. From dating apps for those seeking oral sex and kink to short guys and men with small penises, suffice to say there’s now an online dating platform for every rhyme, reason and season. It can be difficult for a fledgling dating app to stand out these days, but every so often one manages to wriggle its way into the zeitgeist. The latest one to capture our attention, which reportedly boasts a waitlist of 9,000, is Fourplay, a dating app for group dating.
If you think that sounds kinky, it’s actually … not really, somehow. Based on the app’s suggestive name and group-dating premise, I initially assumed it was for couples looking to get kinky with other couples, but it turns out it’s just for pairs of single friends looking to go on dates with other pairs of single friends. Presumably you can all still have sex with each other if you feel like it, but that doesn’t seem to be the main point of the platform. Rather, Fourplay seems to be a dating app designed for busy singles in codependent friendships looking to “kill two birds with one stone,” as Fourplay co-founder Danielle Dietzek told the New York Post.
According to Dietzek, who founded the app with friend Julie Griggs after finding it difficult to maintain a healthy dating life while balancing the demands of work and friendship, the app is designed to help mitigate the anxiety and time suck of dating by combining it with your regularly scheduled social life. “We very intentionally designed Fourplay so that all matches happen as a group and there’s no one-on-one dating to mitigate the pressure and anxieties that come with dating,” Griggs told the Post. Basically, it’s a revival of Tinder’s short-lived group-dating feature, Tinder Social, which the app abandoned in 2017.
As someone who prefers to keep most of my relationships, romantic and otherwise, highly compartmentalized, this sounds like my worst nightmare. I don’t even want to go on a double date with my current partner and my friends and their partners, let alone roll the dice on some random dudes who, truth be told, are probably both only interested in my friend. No thank you.
Given that 9,000-person waitlist, however, apparently there is a demand for this kind of dating among more outgoing daters than myself, and I can see the potential benefits. If everything works out and you all hit off, you get a new partner and a new clique of couple friends, if that’s something you’re into. (I am not.) And if everyone really hits it off, you can have that foursome that seems like it probably should’ve been the point of the app in the first place.