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'First Round’s On Me' Shows Us How To Date In The Digital Age

We are constantly inundated in the world of technology. But when did that slowly start to mesh with our dating lives? And when did it get so challenging to date in the real world? Though there are a variety of factors that contribute, it’s important to take notice of the forces that are attempting to swing back against digital dating.

As the turn of the 2010s hurled towards us, a new age of tech, anonymity, and social exchanges were thrust upon us. Clicking, liking, commenting, and engaging all became the new (and necessary) social standard of interaction between people, and this was something we were required to accept. We were expected to keep up with this completely new landscape of social contracts, and if we didn’t, the feeling of missing out on social media was almost too much to bear. Thus, a new standard of communication slowly became our standard of community.

Our communities in real life now had their own discourse online. It was easier to engage virtually with topics or people you loved. Everything got a little easier, and with that, more impersonal.

Queue a big, wide window opening for the internet to usher in a new type of relationship into our life - our collective, complicated, and on-and-off relationship with dating apps.

Dating apps began materializing seemingly out of thin air. Then all at once. They all offer the same silver platter to you. One that will satisfy your needs, whatever that may be, and deliver it with ease and quickness. If it’s a hookup, relationship, or attention virtually for the next 12 hours, dating apps promise you a solution to your lonely heart.

Once there were real dates, which slowly turned to a DM. There were flowers, which now have shaped into an Instagram "like". There was date night, but now… hell, Netflix and chill?

Some dating apps are based on specific factors, like sexual orientation, ethnicity, status, age, profession, religion, or even fetish. The variety within dating apps has gotten so vast, it’s begun to turn people off to the idea entirely. Enter the concept of “dating app fatigue”. In the age of booming tech growth, convenience, hookup culture, and AI, there is a deep longing for romance that can be born organically.

With this collective societal desire (and feedback from peers) in mind, Joseph Feminella got an idea. One that would give birth to his own definition of dating intentionally in the digital age. Feminella then created First Round’s On Me (FROME).

Abandoning the prototype for every other dating app out there, Feminella set out to create a concept for an app that encouraged chivalry, discouraged the dreadful chatting cycle on apps, and employed the ethos of dating with intention.

Founded in 2020, First Round’s On Me has changed the landscape and expectations surrounding dating for its users. It challenges the way people approach dating by having specific perimeters that coax the online generation to make lasting connections with others, ones that can only take place in real life.

To match with someone on First Round’s On Me, you must send them a date invitation or ask them to plan one with you. This invitation includes a date, time, and location that is all planned in-app. To begin chatting with your new crush, you must accept the date they have planned, with the chance to adjust time or location. After this, you may only chat in-app for up to 12 hours before your planned date. Talk about doing things with purpose.

Additionally, First Round’s On Me has carefully curated Neighborhood Guides, which show hidden gems and tried and true date spots close to you. Whether your poison is coffee, tea, or a stiff cocktail, FROME has vetted locations for your date all in-app to choose from.

If you’re having alarm bells go off regarding safety, we anticipated them. Upon arriving at your date, FROME will send you a safety check-in within 15 minutes of arrival. This ensures everything is going to plan. If anything feels off, there is an option for FROME to alert your emergency contact immediately with your location.

First Round’s On Me has begun to build its community across the United States through events involving local restaurants, bars, brands, artists, and personalities. Through this local engagement, there is an opportunity for safe and organic meetings to take place. Whether you leave a FROME event with a new friend or potential date, it takes all the pressure off of meeting someone new.

FROME founder Joe Feminella & his wife Hannah

Now active in 12 cities (including Miami), the belief behind the app has never wavered. This has made First Round’s On Me the fastest-growing dating app, ever.

We believe in the dire need for true human connection, now more than ever. At a time when it’s easier for us to stay indoors and connect virtually with others, chivalry has lost much of its gusto and presence in the dating world (and the world in general).

Dating is a practice in confidence. At First Round’s On Me, there is ample opportunity for practice. We believe in putting yourself out there, and boldly.

We cannot wait to continue to grow our community and see the relationships that are made from our app.

For more information about First Round’s On Me, go to to download our app, view our social media, and to check out our blog and podcast. We hope to see you in a city near you, and would like to formally invite you to begin dating differently.

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of First Round's On Me


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