We're Developing Principles for a New Dating Culture

At Burning Man this year, Kindra Founder and CEO Gina Levy and User Happiness Agent Alison Kawa had the honor of leading a lively discussion at camp IDEATE (at 5:45 & J) about “How Burning Man Culture Can Help Create a New Dating Culture”.

There is much about dating culture today that could be considered broken:

  • Disrespect. Ghosting is widespread. People date and disappear, hiding behind technology, rather than staying in connection and clearly communicating how they feel about the other person.

  • Commodification. We swipe through hundreds of people like skimming a catalogue and judge people as commodities on the most superficial attributes. And we represent ourselves with images that aim to sell us, rather than share who we authentically are.

  • Lack of individuality. Since judgements typically happen in the microsecond before a swipe, we are effectively viewed not as individuals with a unique collection of traits, values, and experiences, but rather on how we align with mainstream ideals of physical attractiveness.

  • Ego-stroking. Current dating practices are often driven by how many people one can get to like them, rather than the desire to make a genuine connection.

Burning Man’s ten principles clearly define the container that holds Burning Man culture. When people aren’t sure how to engage with each other, they can turn to the principles for guidance. And the principles point in a direction for Burning Man’s growth both on and outside the playa.

In that spirit, we have been working to craft ten principles of Kindra dating to help grow a new more respectful, accepting, and connected dating culture where people engage with each other with curiosity, love and kindness.

As we set ourselves up for the task of defining these principles, we would love your input and feedback about what kind of dating culture you would like to co-create.

The principles we are considering:

  1. Deep Connections – Whether you connect for a moment, weeks, months, or many years, strive for deep connections of the heart, mind, and body that celebrate and value you as a human.

  2. Authenticity - Be specific about who you are. Express and represent your truest self so you can find someone who values your authentic self.

  3. Communication – Whether about gender, relationship type, health, your needs, family, or finances, be clear.

  4. Clarity of Intentions - Know your own goals and intentions and be clear about them with the other person.

  5. Radical Inclusion –  All genders, religions, races, and types of relationships are welcome.

  6. Consent - Each step of the process, make sure your partner is verbally consenting.

  7. No Ghosting -  Don’t disappear. Honor the connection you made and the other person’s time. If you are no longer interested, politely let the other person know.

  8. Respect –  Treat people with the same respect you would offer in person.

  9. Honor Individuality – Discover who someone is as a full person and reach out to them with specificity.

  10. Kindness - The world is a tough place. We all come to this moment with both wins and traumas. Treat each other with kindness and empathy, because you don’t know where the other person has been and what they overcame.

We would like these principles to inform additional features we are considering for the app:

  • Anti-Spam - If a user sends the exact same message to more than 10 people, Kindra would nudge them to write more personalized messages.

  • Ghosting Prevention - Kindra would prompt users to send a closing message (and offer some multiple-choice suggestions) to someone they appear to have stopped connecting with so they can close out the connection with respect.

We are looking to you, Burner Kindra beta testers, to help us create a dating culture that mirrors the love, respect, kindness, and generosity of the playa. Please join our Facebook page for a discussion about these draft principles and possible features, or message me directly.

We will also be facilitating small intimate discussions around dating and relationships so Kindra can better understand how to support you in your dating journey.