“Would you like to have dinner with me?” » An evening with users of a friendly dating app



“Are you a pretty smart or funny person?” », “How important is humor to you? ». Here are some of the questions you need to answer to sign up for Timeleft, a casual dating app. Complete the questionnaire, choose a subscription (from 12.99 euros per day to 69.99 euros per six months) and let the algorithm introduce you to six other users, whom you will meet over a meal.

These dinners of the unknown are a symptom of a growing feeling of friendly loneliness. Growing to the point that in November 2023 the World Health Organization announced the creation of a commission on social bonds “in order to address the issue of loneliness as an urgent threat”. A phenomenon that seems to affect all strata of society.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The “loneliness epidemic” recognized as a public health problem

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Drawing up the typical profile of a Timeleft user is impossible. The ages of subscribers range from 18 to 80, and all professional fields intersect on the application. The only criterion for sorting: the financial aspect. Being part of the Timeleft community means paying a subscription, but also paying for a meal at the restaurant every week, “between 30 and 40 euros” according to the terms and conditions of the application – a significant sum.

Profession, nationality and astrological sign

The guests change, but the choreography of the evenings is similar from one week to the next. On Tuesday, we receive the address of the restaurant as well as the table number, then, on Wednesday morning, some information about the guests is revealed: professional field, nationality and astrological sign. The appointment is given on Wednesday at 8 p.m. When you tell the waiter that you have a Timeleft reservation, you get a knowing smile.

In Paris, for example, every week, around fifty restaurateurs welcome one to four Timeleft tables, and they are now accustomed to the shy smiles of novices and the cheerful air of regulars. The type of cuisine and the atmosphere change from one week to the next, but we often find ourselves in warm places, with large tables and dim lighting. Once installed, you have to watch the entrance to guess who the Italian banker born in Aquarius will be.

During the aperitif, the regulars take the lead. We exchange small talk to break the ice and we talk about our last dinners to reassure the new ones. ” Where are you from ? » Or “How did you discover the app?” » come back almost every week. From there, either the conversation starts naturally, or we glance at each other awkwardly while waiting for “human experience” promised starts by itself. In the event of a running out of fuel, the app offers a game of questions, “What’s the weirdest food combination you’ve tried?” » has “What day in your life would you like to relive and why? ». We discover that his neighbor on the right lived in South Africa and that it was there that he overcame his fear of heights by bungee jumping. If all goes well, we end up putting down our phone for good.

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