Coffee Meets Bagel

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By Jessica Situ

An alarm at noon means it’s time to pick up some bagels—at least it is for these millennials. Jennifer, Karissa, and Kevin are all users of a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB).

Coffee Meets Bagel is a female-centric app that offers its users a number of “bagels” or matches everyday at noon. Women are given “bagels,” which are matches that the system provides, based on stated preferences. This allows the women to easily pass or like their options and have easy control over the conversations with those they like.

Jennifer Huang, 23, started using CMB in the summer of 2016. Huang says that because she ranked religious preference as her top priority, she only “liked” guys who were listed as Christians, which meant that if she “liked” the guy, a connection would be made. “I only talked to three or four guys because Coffee Meets Bagel is a very low maintenance app,” she said. “The majority of people who I know also use it only use it casually, while focusing on their regular daily lives.”

When Huang checks for her “bagels” she usually has five to six options. She explains that because there are so few, people that she connected with took it seriously enough to initiate a chat conversation right away. “There was one person I connected with and we exchanged Facebooks to continue the conversation via messenger,” she said.

She only went on one date through the app, and it was the same person that she conversed with via Facebook messenger. “We hit it off so we decided to pursue a committed relationship about three months after of seeing each other.” She was 22 at the time, and he was 23.

Karissa Caputo, 24, a graduate student in New York City, said she likes that Coffee Meets Bagel seems more serious and not just for hooking up. “I like how it limits the number of people I see each day, so it’s more manageable” she said. “But at the same time, I wonder who they’re not showing me.”

Caputo also says that she likes that guys have to make the first move on Coffee Meets Bagel because she’s traditional. CMB is suitable for those looking for serious relationships, says Kevin Hong, 23. Hong works in the financial industry in New York City. “I think I found myself introspective a lot of times, as in thinking ‘Why don’t I like this person or that person?’ at the same time wondering why people didn’t like me either,” Kevin said. “I also think being a young guy doesn’t help because there are a lot of older people and girls tend to not date younger.”

bagelMen receive up to 21 matches with an option of like or pass on CMB. Hong said he doesn’t appreciate the limited number of choices that Coffee Meets Bagels provides. “One of Coffee
Meets Bagel’s main features is their claim that their matches are highly curated, but I never really found it like that,” he said. “Anyone can kind of create an app where you just match preferences, and it seems Coffee Meets Bagel doesn’t do much differently.”

Hong explains that he’s found that Coffee Meets Bagel has been helpful in learning more about himself, but that it hasn’t led to any matches. “I liked a few people, none mutual, so it definitely wasn’t helpful in a dating sense, but I guess I only have myself to blame for that because I’m so picky.”

Even though Kevin hasn’t had much luck on the app, he still thinks it’s worth a shot. “Personally, it hasn’t produced a lot of results, but I think in the right hands it could be useful.”

Arum, Dawoon, and Soo Kang are the sister team that started CMB back in 2012, hoping to “inspire singles to feel good about dating again.” They say they tried to create an app that reflected the different styles of dating for men and women.

CMB joins a crowded field of dating sites that have grown in popularity as millennials seek intimate connections online. Generally online dating has lost much of its stigma, according to the Pew Research Center, which found that “a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.”

The Pew Research center also found that “One-in-five online daters have asked someone else to help them with their profile.” When asked whether he would change the contents of his profile based on a friend’s suggestion, Hong says he would not have changed much. “Personally, I wouldn’t change my profile to be someone I’m not. In the end, if your potential match doesn’t like you for who you really are, do you really want to date that person?”

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