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Group dating is a modern pattern for dating where a group of single men and a group of single women organise a night out, with the hope of forming romantic partnerships. It is most popular in Japan where it is called "compa" or "goukon." It has become popular because many Japanese find it difficult to find a partner. Group dating can also be found in many other countries, however, compa is very ritualized and unique. Generally, a single guy and girl who know each other organize the compa in advance, each agreeing to bring 3 or 4 eligible friends. The venue is usually a restaurant, izakaya, or anywhere people can eat, drink and make a bit of noise. [1]

In other cultures, group dating is becoming more popular as a safe alternative to single dating (especially blind dating), also helping to ease tension, since both parties will feel more comfortable having the company of their friends.[2]

Group dating is often recommended by parenting experts as more age appropriate form of dating for preteens then one on one dating. [3]



In Japan, a goukon (合コン ?) is a group blind date, typically used to form at least some friendships between two groups that are each of a single sex.

The expression “compa” comes from the English “companions”, and “gōkon” is simply a combination of “goudo” (“group”) with compa. Both terms are commonly used and their meaning is basically the same.

Generally speaking, compa isn’t for finding one night stands (at least not openly - that’s more associated with nanpa), but for making friends and possibly forming long-term relationships. However, there is still a stigma attached to attending a “dating party”, and someone going to a compa might tell coworkers or other friends they are going to a regular drinking party.

Typically groups of men and women will sit opposite each other and hold whispered discussions with their peers about which potential partners they find attractive. Later they will mingle.

Kon comes from konpa a party formed within a single group (for example people within a certain university class). means combination. The gōkon may thus be a combined party; for example, a preexisting group within a girls' university may meet up with a preexisting male group from a mixed university.

Recently writing a text message on a mobile phone and showing it to others has become popular as an alternative to whispering.


According to an article in USA today:

"Group online dating, its creators and practitioners say, is safer than traditional Internet dating: With friends in tow, there's little fear that a date will spike your drink during a trip to the bathroom. It's more natural, akin to happy-hour mixing. Going out in groups improves your odds, at least in theory. And if the opposing social circle doesn't live up to its virtual profile, well, it's a night out with your gang." [4]

According to a San Diego Union-Tribune article:

"[The Concept] is part of a growing trend in the lucrative online dating market – harnessing the power of friends. Several sites are tapping into the idea that most real-world relationships begin, like it or not, with the help and influence of friends and family."[5]

In March 2008, comedians Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell posted a video on YouTube soliciting women for double dates. Since then, Dave and Ethan claim to have gone on over 200 double dates, documenting the results online while promoting group dating as a safe, productive means of making real-life romantic connections.[6]


Goukon style events have also developed independently at Oxford and Cambridge universities, where they are known as a Crewdate and Formal swap, respectively.


  1. ^ "Compa Parties". Japan for the Uninvited. June 23, 2006.  
  2. ^ "Invite the gang for a night of online dating". USA Today. March 9, 2006.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Invite the gang for a night of online dating". USA Today. March 9, 2006.  
  5. ^
  6. ^

See also



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