Meeting people online can be a real pain, especially if you go to the wrong Match.com and wind up getting literally burned. By a tech-savvy pyro. Hooking you up with less fiery girls: Grouper.
A free, invite-only online social club set up with the express intent of moving interactions offline as quickly as possible, Grouper alleviates awkward one-on-one first dates by arranging drinks between groups of friends (three on each side), all the brainchild of a serial entrepreneur and a food & travel writer who met at Yale, and apparently had time to brainstorm in between constantly telling people they met at Yale. To ensure everyone involved is up to snuff (read: "interesting"), the application process involves answering a few questions (e.g., "What was the last fun thing you did?") and granting them Facebook profile access, from which they'll deduce a compatible lady for you, so enjoy hanging out with chicks who also post pics of themselves totes funneling from Donkey Bong, Jr. Once you're in, just ring up two friends to join you (they don't have to be members, since cool people hang with cool people), set a date, throw Grouper 20 bones per head, and they'll handle the deets, picking a not-sucky venue (Apotheke, El Cobre,
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Blind Barber...) and buying the first round of drinks, which of course you'll funnel from Donkey Bong, Jr.
Since it's invite-only, the wait list is currently long, but as Thrillist readers are by definition The Balls, they've set aside 50 spots at the front of the line, ensuring this time around your love life doesn't go up in flames.