What To Know About IRLY, The Dating App Created For Gen Z

Another day, another dating app aimed at a particular group of people? You better believe it. But instead of being geared toward farmers, bacon lovers, or the kinksters you'd find on the open-minded app Feeld, this one is for Gen Z. Honestly it's about time. Gen Z shouldn't be stuck with dating apps originally geared toward Millennials and Gen Xers. Instead of settling for second best, two Gen Zers decided it was time to create an app for their generation. So they did, and they named it IRLY (I Really Like You).

IRLY was born out of the dating experiences of Laura Rollock, a Toronto Metropolitan University student, and co-founder of the app. It allows users to send videos and audio messages and engage in interactive games such as trivia, would you rather, Pictionary, and truth or dare as a means to break the ice. "In real life, people are not always honest about what they want or how they feel," Rollock told DH Canada. "So we decided to create a platform where people can finally be themselves."

The theory is that tone is lost during written message exchanges, and people aren't always who they claim to be when they're hiding behind texts. Being able to exchange videos can put an end to surprises and nip disappointment in the bud, as well as cancel out awful dating app behaviors like catfishing. IRLY could shake up the dating app world, and that's great news for Gen Z.

How IRLY is different

Unlike other dating apps that rely on swiping to match and meet people, IRLY focuses on both online and offline pools of fellow users. When a user logs into the app, they are given the option of people who are in either pool. For those who are online, they can have a two-minute video chat or save the profile for later. If the chat is going well and both parties agree, they can extend the call. Not interested? Politely say ciao and move on to the next potential match.

"I think it's really cool that IRLY is gonna have an online pool, where you're always going to be matched with someone or presented someone based on the fact that they're actually online or not," influencer and IRLY co-founder Cameron Dallas shared with DH Canada. "You're not wasting your time swiping you're not wasting your time trying to message them and think of something like 'oh, what's the perfect thing to say to this person?' ... you're actually meeting someone in real-time, and you're getting someone presented to you that you have an opportunity to talk to instantaneously."

Considering how much time is wasted on dating apps, particularly with all that swiping and messaging back and forth, IRLY could be a step in the right direction. Gen Z is not getting any younger, after all! While statistics have shown that Gen Z is forgoing dating apps and meeting people in person, IRLY might be the game-changer they need to become interested in dating apps again.

It allows for more authenticity

In addition to videos and audio, IRLY gives users options for self-expression that other apps do not. When your entire dating app concept is built on swiping and not much else, there's little room for showing how you feel. With IRLY, users can react to photos and profiles with emojis — it's like giving a wink across a bar to let someone know you're interested but in a non-creepy way.

"We feel like there's more opportunity to express yourself," CEO and co-founder Connor Rose told Vancouver Is Awesome. "There's a major shift [in] online social media culture, where people are really pushing to be more authentic and showcasing their true authentic self. We believe that our app is basically doing that for dating." Much like personality, authenticity goes a long way — especially when dating. People who are authentic are more likely to have healthy long-term relationships, be more open and emotionally available, and be more attractive to others, according to Psychology Today.

IRLY may still be new (it just launched in 2023), but it has something unique to offer its users. Will everyone on IRLY find their soulmate? No. But it's nice to have another dating option with different features out there in the mix. All that swiping can really tire a finger out.