As we long for that special date on Valentine’s Day, it’s interesting to note that half of America is single. It appears that society has lost the script on dating. How did this happen? In a culture saturated by technology, everyone is messaging, but are we really communicating? The way people seek and find love has radically changed. The hook-up culture, texting and social media have profoundly altered the dating landscape. In the eyes of many, traditional dating has become "outdated." Yet, men and women still seek meaningful relationships. People are frustrated in love. Is it because we don’t know how to connect in today's virtual world?

A few years ago, one of the most popular professors of philosophy at Boston College, Dr. Kerry Cronin, noticed this decreased dating trend among her undergrad students. “And I thought, ‘Well, this is crazy.’ So I started asking students to go on what I refer to as ‘traditional dates’ as part of an extra-credit assignment,” said Cronin. However, the act of going on a date was more complicated than she thought. A combination of the prevalent “hook up” culture, as well as the preferred method of social interaction (texting) had all but obliterated skills of basic social interaction. And, so "The Dating Project" began, and her class quickly became one of the most popular courses at Boston College.

Film Producers Megan Harrington and Catherine Fowler Sample were brainstorming pitch ideas when the subject of dating came up. “We were both single at the time and trying to navigate the world of relationships, as so many others are, and we thought a documentary could not only highlight the challenges but identify some solutions for the many singles out there,” said Harrington. Their research into dating uncovered Professor Cronin’s popular class, and "The Dating Project" film was born.

The film follows five single people, ages 18-40, as they search for authentic and meaningful relationships. There is no script. There are no actors. These are real people trying to find love and happiness in an age of swiping left or right. Their willingness to approach a common problem with a new attitude and perspective is inspiring.

"The Dating Project" is more than a film – it’s a movement. Let’s revive, reclaim, and restore dating. Through better dates, we cultivate better relationships, which lead to stronger families and overall, a better society.

Start by downloading free The Dating Assignment, and watch the film available on Amazon, iTunes or Google Play. Need some inspiration on taking that first step? Dr. Kerry Cronin will give you a little kick-in-the-butt in the behind-the-scenes interview below.

Be prepared to date with a new outlook. Hopefully, you’ll be empowered by what you’ve learned and bring your best self to the challenge. As author/life coach Dr. Henry Cloud once told me, dating to find the “right one” is a numbers game. So, get out there and improve your odds. I’m happy to share that after 5 years of persistent online dates, speed dating, blind dates and set ups, I did find my husband on a free dating app – and we’ve been happily married 6 years.

To find out where you can watch, please visit TheDatingProjectMovie.com or @TheDatingProjectMovie on Facebook. Then, share your experience on social media with the hashtag #DatingProjectMovie. It’s time to date differently.

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