In the etiquette of dating there is something you might call, colloquially, "the fade out," or perhaps "the fadeaway"—you also might call it, in harsher terms, being rejected by someone who deems it not important to actually tell you you are being rejected. (Because that would be rude.) Instead, the person simply stops calling, texting, and communicating in whatever form your previous interactions took. (Post-it notes, maybe?)
The fade out happens to everyone. In many cases, it's a preferred method for ending a relationship. If you've been on one date, or maybe two, and simply decide you're no longer interested, isn't it better, after all, to move along and not actually confront the person you're not interested in with the uncomfortable reasons that you've made that decision?
Some say no. And, since there's pretty much an app for everything, it's not surprising that there's a (new) app to help people "learn from" one of the great tragedies of our time—being rejected by a date. Or an actual boyfriend or girlfriend. Because if you can't learn from dating, what's the purpose of it?
Enter WotWentWrong, an app created by Australian Audrey Melnik that asks users to "proactively seek feedback" from their dates, "give and receive constructive feedback," and "develop insights and behaviors to ensure your relationship goals."
As Melnik explains, "Unfortunately, it’s a near-universal experience to have gone on a first-date with someone that seemed to be mutually enjoyable, only to be let-down when your partner didn’t call afterwards—a sort of ‘dating disconnect’ between your perceived experience and what your partner was really feeling but not telling you. WotWentWrong provides a socially acceptable way to get clarity on what really happened for your partner during the date, so you can find closure, learn from the experience and move on."
As such, it offers request templates in attitudes ranging from "flippant" to "confused" to "philosophical," which quotes Benjamin Franklin. (The example below is "cool.") Note: there is no "angry" or "violent" or "vengeful," though you can alter the messages yourself before sending it on to that vile ex who just stopped talking to you and hope that he or she will respond. In the interest of helping you move on, of course.
To make matters more compelling, you can also rate the person to whom you're sending the form, in categories ranging from stylishness to adeptness in the sack. Presumably, snarkiness here will not help your cause for closure.
Unsurprisingly in matters relationship-related, a lot of people have found this idea at least compelling enough to check out the site. Since its launch in January WotWentWrong has attracted 20,000 people from around the world—top interest comes from Belgium and then the U.S.—and inspired at least one reported "fake breakup."
When we asked for examples of how people are actually using the app, though, Scott Piro, who's handling publicity, told us, "Even though we went from 30 beta testers to 20,000 unique visitors in first four days after launching…people aren’t using the app to request or send feedback yet." He chalks that up to folks needing time to get used to the concept—"It’s a bit like the start of a seventh grade dance," he says. "Everyone’s waiting for someone else to make the first move." And, after all, not everyone has gotten dumped...yet! That's what bookmarks are for.
In the meantime, we're gawking, considering, filling out practice joke forms and fake breakup emails to our friends, and... thinking. What might actually ensue if we actually sent this to someone? Or received it from someone else?
Even as buzz for the app travels around the internet to reactions both positive and negative, the question remains: Do you want to know that you were dumped because you chew too loudly, smell bad, have horrible taste in movies, or, even worse, "are bad in bed"? Melnik, who addressed some of the backlash in a blog post, would say yes, because you can then go on to conquer those off-putting habits (with the help of specially placed ads related to curing them—i.e., "if someone was told that they have a problem with punctuality, WotWentWrong will present the book Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged"). Then, free and clear of what one person hated about you, you move on to the next. Who may hate something else. Hey, none of us are perfect.
We admit, it does inspire some curiosity—what would that guy we dated for three months but haven't spoken to since say about us that we might be able to leverage positively in our next relationship? Then again, ignorance and bliss have gone together like peas and carrots for ages, and we don't much care what either of them would say about each other.
Still. The site is free. We're tempted by it for the same reason we insist on clicking on Twitter spam and Facebook tags we know are going to reveal something dreadful. If there really is a terrible photo or opinion of us circulating out there in the ether, we need to see it, the emotional health of that act notwithstanding. This is living, 2.0.