Grouper (www.JoinGrouper.com) is a dating/social app that introduces groups of friends to new groups of friends by setting them up for drinks at a local hangout. They call these outings “Groupers.” They were founded in 2011 and currently operate in 25 cities throughout the country.
I first heard of Grouper when I was over at a friend’s place for a dinner party. It was a typical Wednesday night; we were all trading stories from college and our post-grad escapades while drinking a bit too much, when one of the guys said to us:
“Hey guys, have you heard of this new dating app Grouper?”
It caught my attention – this was the kind of guy you wouldn’t expect to use any kind of online dating. He was successful, charismatic, and had no trouble meeting women out in the bar scene. What would he need from a dating app?
“I’m thinking about signing up. Sounds pretty legit.”
The next night I went out with some friends to our local bar scene. We were having a good time, sharing some laughs, flirting with the girls who were entertained by our attempts at charm, when I ran into an old buddy of mine from college.
After catching up for a bit, he tells me he just came from a Grouper earlier that night.
“Yea man, the girls were awesome. We had a great time.”
Like my other friend, this one was a surprise as well. He was successful and good-looking with a great social circle, and he was excited about this new dating app too.
After hearing about it two nights in a row, I had to see what it was all about. I downloaded the app and applied for membership that next morning.
Here is my experience.
The first thing I notice is that the app is beautifully designed and easy to use. From a technical standpoint, I really have no complaints. The sign up process is straightforward and quick, merely asking me some lifestyle preferences like what kind of bars I like and how important religion is to me. The app also has some cool extra features like #Groupergram, where you can see photos from other Groupers, and Karma, Grouper’s reward program.
One downside is that the application process has a waiting period. According to the website, this is because they need time to review your profile and make sure they find a good match for you for the dates you are available.
I invite a few other friends to join Grouper (which speeds up the waiting period), and I am approved in a few days.
Then the coolest thing happens. I get a notification on the “Concierge” tab of the app, and it’s a message from Erika, one of Grouper’s Member Experience Reps.
“Hey, how’s it going? Hope you’re doing well! There’s an awesome group of girls next Thursday. Are you able to make it?”
Oh man. This is awesome. I actually have a real person to text with, right within the app, and this person is setting me up with a group of new women to hang out with. This is a game-changer.
It’s this point where I begin to wonder how a service like this could be free. You only pay when you actually reserve a Grouper outing, which is $20 and covers your first round of drinks. $20 is a fair price to be set up with three new people, if you ask me. I usually spend more than that on a night out anyway.
Handling the logistics really couldn’t be easier. All I have to do is tell them my availability, and they give me a location and a time. The hardest part is finding two friends to go with. Once I have my group set, we reserve our first Grouper. It’s go time.
The bar they picked was a cool spot. I have actually been there a few times before and had a great time. The hostess brings us to our table and explains that the first drink will simply be taken off the tab. Good deal.
Then the other group shows up. And dang – they are cute. After some fun conversation, we learn that we all have a good amount in common too. According to Grouper, they consider your age, educational background, profession, interests, and general lifestyle (which they gather from your Facebook profile) when making matches. In my experience, this seems to work just fine. We hang out for a good three or so hours that night, sharing drinks, laughs, and great times.
Overall, an awesome experience. Highly recommend.
So here’s the bottom line.
- Free except for when you reserve a Grouper (which is still a great value at $20)
- Concierge service – a REAL person to handle logistics, answer questions, and even share advice
- Logistics were very simple
- Eliminates the awkwardness of the “first approach” when trying to meet members of the opposite sex in the bar scene
- Avoid hours of managing an online profile, browsing through other profiles, and back-and-forth messaging
- Both groups of people are eager to make the outing a great time – they’ve already paid $20 to meet YOU!
- Matching criteria – you’ll likely have a lot in common with the other group
- The group dynamic makes things WAY less awkward than a one-on-one first date – much less likely for conversation to lull, and being with friends builds confidence
- Worst case scenario – the other group is lame, you part ways, and you’re already out with your good friends!
- Great rewards program – earn points by participating and inviting others to join, use points for extra services like matching consultation, better venues, one-on-one dates, and more!
- Less time online, more time out having fun!
- Waiting period during sign up
- Only sets you up for outings at bars – could be less fun for non-drinkers
- Risk element in that you don’t know anything about the other group or see any photos before you meet them (personally I see this as a good thing)
If you’re looking for a fun way to meet some new people, this is an awesome way to do it!
Leave a comment and tell me about your experience!
The Date Advice Guy
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