The Scoop: Sometimes going on dates can feel like a series of stressful job interviews. The team at Fourplay, an app for double dating, is trying to change that. This Valentine’s Day, the app will expand into State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State. The launch will include a neon-themed party at a local bar, making it the perfect event for singles on February 14.
As a girl, I would speak to my grandmother about what dating was like for her when she was growing up. The picture she painted was worlds away from what I knew.
She and her girlfriends would go with a few boys to see a movie or get some food. They’d go to social dances at events put on by the local church or community center. She may have had a boyfriend here or there, but for the most part, dating was a lighthearted and casual thing, usually happening with other friends around.
When I started dating, the lines between hanging out with my friends and going on a date were much firmer. With a few exceptions, I would either be going to social events with a group of girls or going out on a romantic date with the guy I was seeing. Whenever I started dating someone, it was with the expectation that we would either form a relationship or stop seeing each other entirely. There was no room for a middle ground. Dating always felt serious, even before it needed to be.
Julie Griggs and Danielle Dietzek created the Fourplay app to facilitate double dating because they saw a need for more social dating in the modern age. While dating used to be a social activity and a way to engage with your broader social network, some swiping dating apps have become a means to an end.
“Most singles rely on their devices to meet someone, and that means going at it alone and experiencing binary outcomes — you’re either pursuing something intimate and romantic, or you’re never speaking again,” Julie said. “The double date is more fun, it’s lower pressure, and it’s safer. Fourplay is making the experience of being single FUN again, and that’s why so many singles love it.”
This Valentine’s Day, Fourplay is expanding into State College — the home of Penn State — with its Neon Valentine’s Day Party. Singles will be able to meet new people, go out with their friends, and, most importantly, have a fantastic time on a holiday that can be a bit of a bummer for those who aren’t in a relationship. With Fourplay, dating doesn’t need to be a solo experience.
The Perfect App for Single Friends in College
For many young people, college is a time for making new bonds, trying new things, and of course, having fun. College students often experiment with drugs and alcohol and start going out into nightlife. As new adults, they may experiment sexually as well. While all of these experiences can be exciting, they also create a dangerous environment for those who are at an especially vulnerable time in their lives.
Going on dates alone with new people in a new city can put young women in a vulnerable position and possibly expose them to trauma.
“Dating-related violence disproportionately affects college-aged women, a fact that we cannot ignore as healthcare providers,” Danielle said. “Being that Fourplay uses the buddy system, it lowers the stakes and offers a safer option from both a physical and emotional wellness perspective; this is especially important for a college population.”
Many women have gotten into the habit of sharing their locations with a trusted friend while on a date to make sure someone is paying attention if things go wrong. But if you go on a date with Fourplay, your friend is already there with you. If either of you feels uncomfortable, it’s much easier to facilitate a safe and convenient exit.
Your college years provide ample opportunity to foster social connections, making it the perfect time to try a fun app like Fourplay.
“We recognize the opportunity for faster network effects in the 18-22 age group, being that users can often create multiple Fourplay teams and are inclined to be social,” Danielle said. When you go on a date through Fourplay, you can have such a good time that you’ll want to try it again with your other friend groups.
Letting Connections Exist Outside the Binary
When you go out with someone you met on a traditional dating site, the date can end in two ways: Either you start to pursue a romantic relationship in some capacity, or you never see each other again. I have a handful of friends who have remained friendly with people they met on dating sites or apps, but not many. I went out with people who probably would have been great friends, but I stopped seeing them after realizing that there was no attraction. When you go out with someone, there doesn’t usually feel like there’s a third option.
But with Fourplay, it’s much easier to let new connections develop naturally. When you go out with a group, you may form a romantic connection, but there’s less pressure. “We have heard of relationships forming, including those that are romantic, platonic, or professional in nature,” Julie said. “However, we define success differently than other apps in our industry. Fourplay is successful if a single person has a great time when they meet up with their matches, whether that’s with their dates or with their friends.”
I met my partner through a mutual friend. She had a handful of people over to her apartment, and we hit it off. When we met, I wasn’t expecting a romantic connection. We just started talking as new potential friends. It was so much easier for me to feel comfortable around him and express myself than it would have been on a traditional date.
With friends around, getting to know a new person feels less high stakes. “Fourplay is making the experience of being single FUN again, and that’s why so many singles love it,” Julie said.
Meet New People This Valentine’s Day
Even if you’re single, Valentine’s Day can still be a fun and exciting holiday! It’s the perfect time to celebrate your love for your friends, meet new people, and look optimistically toward whatever future connections are coming your way. Singles in State College who are ready to celebrate both the holiday and the launch of Fourplay should check out Fourplay’s Valentine’s Day Neon Party at The Basement.
“Any Fourplay user 21 and older is welcome to attend and can purchase their ticket on the LineLeap App,” Julie said. “We’ll have glow sticks, LED sunglasses, and many other ridiculously unnecessary neon props, along with a photo booth and an open bar for early guests. Live music is by DJ Alex Nepa, voted Best DJ in State College.” Go with your friends and meet new people while enjoying the experience Fourplay offers!
According to Julie and Danielle, the Fourplay launch in State College is just the beginning of its expansion of the app into college towns across the country. “Right now, our plan is to expand to college campuses and become the app of choice for college-aged singles,” Julie told us.
“We’re starting at Penn State because that’s where our friendship began, and we will likely continue on to other state schools,” Danielle added. “We are also adding some awesome features into the app that will further enhance the feelings of the community.”
Being single doesn’t need to be lonely. And with Fourplay, it can be a wonderful period in your life. “Fourplay is not a means to an end but rather the main event itself,” Julie said. “It’s about enjoying oneself and making singles’ experiences more fun and more fulfilling.”