Group Dating is most popular in Japan where it is called "compa" or "gokon." It has become so popular because many Japanese find it difficulty to find a parter. 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.
The expression "compa" comes from the English "companions", and "gokon" 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 nampa), 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.
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."
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