Friends Don't Let Friends Date Alone


Wingmate was a 2-month social experiment I conducted to see what would happen if I incorporated "wingman culture" into online dating. In other words, how can people help their single friends find love (or whatever it is people are looking for nowadays)?



What I Accomplished

Web design/development, mobile app concept design, working prototype to test thesis, branding, IG marketing campaign, hooked some of my friends up


There are only 2 rules to Wingmate:

Rule 1

Singles cannot write their own profiles. Instead, their friends (a.k.a. “wingmates”) must write it for them.

Rule 2

Singles can bring their wingmates into new conversations with matches.


This entire thing started as a joke

I posted some concept designs on my Instagram as a “hahaha, wouldn’t this be a funny idea." Within 24 hours, my inbox blew up with people from from SF, LA, New York, Austin, Toronto, and Taipei asking where to sign up their single friends.


Keep it Lightweight

Did I design an app? YUP. Were people asking for it? YUP. Did I ever build it? NOPE.  The entire experiment was hacked together using Webflow, Airtable, and Instagram. It was important to me that I test market demand before committing time/money/people to create working software. The ‘empty room’ problem is very real.

How did matches work?

When two singles expressed interest in one another, I threw them and their respective wingmates into a IG group chat. Wingmates were encouraged to introduce their singles and nudge the conversation forward.

How did singles get intimate when their friends were lurking in the same chat?

Super easy. Just DM the other single separately. Turns out people can totally juggle both group and private conversations at the same time.


How this changed the dating game

You look real arrogant if you brag about yourself in your online dating profile. Your friends, however, can brag about you all they want. This also introduces a new form of social validation: "Wow, look at what this person's friends are saying about them." Tinder profiles are easy to fake. Getting multiple people to vouch for you is much harder.

Online dating can be very isolating. It’s you against a long line of strangers. Dating IRL is far more social: your friends do warm introductions, you learn about new people in group settings, and you have your friends to fall back on when things don’t go smoothly. Having your wingmate with you in these early conversations removes a lot of social anxiety.


Also, sombody 'winged' a dog... so that happened.


Turns out, people LOVE to be nosey about their single friends’ love lives. Who knew? Wingmate was just the excuse people needed to stick their nose even deeper. Ultimately, people had fun, nobody got harassed, and a few matches became dates. Worth it.


Selected Works

Sans(Coming Soon)

Ubiquity6Capture & Edit in Augmented Reality

Jazz ImageModernizing Traditional Large-Scale Printing

MindbloomPsychedelic Therapy is Here

Zero by RoA New Way to Quit Smoking

Project CollectionFreelance & Independent Works

Eight SleepSleep Stories


Copyright © 2023
Jeffrey Rae Fan