We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Ballensweig and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alexandra, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
The modern dating paradigm focuses on the outcome—a successful match, which leads to people feeling insecure, defeated, and frustrated when they spend time swiping, chatting, and meeting and it doesn’t “work out.” Online dating is correlated with poor mental health. Studies show that people who using dating apps are likely to be more distressed, anxious, or depressed. Dating apps are not cutting it. Studies also show that Americans who’ve used existing dating platforms in the past year felt more frustrated (45%) than hopeful (28%).

There is missed value in the dating process if we see it as a means to an end—the value is in the growth and learning that can take place with intention, with each new connection, and with reflection. If we focus on ourselves and our growth as we date rather than obsess over the outcome—we have the opportunity to cultivate self-awareness, compassion, discernment, tenacity, and confidence. We believe that the outcome; finding a partner happens naturally as we lean into our own growth.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
After moving from Los Angeles to New York, and having just sat several weeks in silence, the juxtaposition of retreat life, to attempting to date in New York City felt comical at best, and exhausting most of the time. As a naturally curious person, I’d examined why I was feeling depleted, defeated, and over-it with dating apps. I’d realized that I didn’t enjoy the process of swiping, of chatting with strangers and having those chats just fade away, and every moment spent on the platforms, felt like a big waste of time because unless I was connecting with people, and those connections felt meaningful, I was getting nothing from my experience.

I realized that I wanted to feel like dating was a good use of my time and attention regardless of whom I was connecting with or meeting. In order for it to feel good, and be good for me, it needed to be contributing to my growth and evolution in some way. So I began asking myself how I wanted to show up, what kind of person I wanted to be as I dated, and how can I become more of that regardless of who I was interacting with?

It felt challenging to approach dating this way on platforms that led with images, and dry profile questions that made me feel I had to present myself in some light in order to win something; someone else’s interest. I valued presence over presentation. Humanness over perfection. Compassion over indifference. Vulnerability over defensiveness. Curiosity over judgment. But none of that is rewarded or fostered on the apps.

I created humhum, a platform for conscious dating and connection, to offer a new kind of dating experience for myself and others! A container that values and supports kindness, intentionality, introspection, and authenticity; a container that feels generative, supportive of well-being, and enjoyable. I realized that dating can feel good and empowering when people are validated by what is in their control—their growth, not by the success of their matches. When people invest time and energy learning, evolving and connecting rather than judging, hoping, messaging, and ghosting, dating feels like a valuable process. On this new platform, and in new paradigm the dating process is the focus and personal growth the measurement of success.

As an experiment I spun up a conscious not-so-speedy dating event out of the yoga studio I was teaching at, in the Lower East Side, bringing single friends of friends together to move, breathe, share silence and tell stories, and date in a low-pressure feel-good way. It was a hit, and I hosted 5 more before the pandemic shut down New York City. The first week into quarantining, the community reached out to ask if humhum could be virtual. “Of course,” I answered, and figured out a way to convert what I thought needed to be an in-person, face-to-face experience into a virtual one without losing value. It worked, And it’s working. We’ve since hosted over 60 virtual dating experiences for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, along with over 100 guided 1:1 blind-date experiences. And we’re just getting started.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

RA MA Institute for yoga and meditation
Double Zero for plant-based pizza
Prospect Park for a long walk or picnic
Other Half Brewery In Domino Park
Frequency Mind Dome for breathwork and soundbath experiences
Join the Joylist by Jillian Richardson for updates on all things social
Anima Mundi for tonics and herbs in Greenpoint

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Tara Brach for writing Radical Acceptance, Sonia Rao for courageously creating art and sharing her truth with the world, and my brother Matthew Ballensweig, for always being both my champion and voice of reason.

Website: https://www.humhum.space/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/humhumspace/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/humhum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humhumspace

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCV7bW-iAUgYsYbpaAOxh1w

Image Credits
Jessian Titus (photographer)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.