Frequently Asked Questions

Why would anyone want to see their friends in real life?

I hope that’s not a very frequently asked question! It’s because close friendships are vital for everyone, and we seem to have lost our way a bit over the last couple of decades. Droppin is an experiment in seeing if we can rebuild strong friendships again.

What about COVID-19?

Stay safe and follow the relevant local guidance wherever you are. Droppin is meant for small groups of friends, not huge gatherings, so plan accordingly. In fact, it may be just the thing that people are looking for to help us through this strange time and recover something meaningful.

Can people I don’t know contact me on Droppin?

Nope, only people you know already - that is, people whose phone numbers you have added to your phone’s contact list. Droppin isn’t for discovering new friends but for building your already existing friendships.

Why are there no notifications?

This was a tricky one to decide while making the app. On one hand, it would be great to be notified when friends are free to hang out, or when they say they are coming to see you. But on the other hand, notifications are a distraction and can cause serious FOMO (fear of missing out) if your friends are available but you are not. It’s also a good idea to remove unnecessary pings and buzzes from your life.

Having said that, it’s a good idea to get people used to using the app by giving you some nudges during the first week - just so you get into this good new habit. If you’d rather not get those first week notifications, you can turn them off in the settings menu.

And, by popular demand, we now include notifications when you have set a status and someone else has clicked “I’m coming” (or cancels their intention to come to see you). We hope this kind of notification actually helps you to keep off your phone because you know you don’t need to actively check your phone to see if anyone is coming.

Let us know what you think about these notification decisions, and there’s always room for improvement.

Why can’t I see my friend on the Choose screen?

First, make sure they have actually signed up (sorry, had to get that one out of the way!), then pull down on your Choose screen (or press the “refresh” button in the side menu) to refresh your contacts. This might take a few seconds as Droppin checks any of your contacts who weren’t signed up previously.

We do this so that we don’t have to store a list of all your contacts on the server even if they haven’t signed up (more security for the win!)

Droppin reads your contacts list by checking if there are any phone numbers saved for a contact, then checking if any of those numbers have signed up.

Droppin assumes that if your contact does not have a +xx country code at the beginning, it’s because their phone number is from the same country as yours, and appends your country code to the front of any numbers in your contact list that don’t have one.

For example, if you have a UK phone number, you will have selected the “United Kingdom” flag at the beginning and signed up with a number that looks something like +44 7890 123456. Droppin remembers your country code (+44) and sticks it on the front of numbers in your contact list that don’t have a country code yet.

You can check what country code you have in your Settings screen, and change it if you need to.

What does this do that other apps don’t?

It doesn’t let you stay scrolling forever! Friendships are much better when you can see each other in person rather than stay behind your devices. There’s no messaging, no video, no photos, and no planning ahead beyond today.

Some other apps have tried doing something similar around 2015 but haven’t stuck around. I think that might be because there wasn’t the same awareness of the damage that social media can do so people tried it for a bit but went right back to their bottomless feeds, combined with an attempt to make them too flashy and engaging.

Paradoxically, user engagement defeats the point of Droppin, because we want you to put your phone down, not keep looking at it! We’re still trying to work out how to make a popular app that actively drives people off their phones. It’s a strange balancing act. If you’ve got any great ideas, we’d love to hear them!

Will people actually use this?

That remains to be seen. This is still at an early stage, and undoubtedly the cultural shift we’re trying to make is not an easy one. Seeing friends is harder than scrolling, but we’re convinced it’s worth it. We’re trying to apply what the people at the Center for Humane Technology have been talking about for a while by rebuilding real communities.

If you see one or two friends at a time, and get hooked on it, we’ll be happy. Droppin isn’t about arranging huge parties but seeing small groups of friends.