How many people truly admit that they not only created a profile on a dating app, such as Tinder or Happn, but also went out on a date with someone they met online? I have.
Dating apps have taken blind dating to the next level. In reality, we’ve turned dating into a game of Pokémon Go—“gotta catch em all.” Online dating app users ferociously swipe left of right oftentimes judging someone off of a poorly pixelated photo or two, and a short Twitter post sized bio and…well, nothing. Yet, once a match is made it is like “a massive dopamine-fuelled [sic] high” and if it does not work out on to the next one.
In my online dating experiences, I’ve had conversations that were over before they even started. It would begin with a “hey” and end with no answer. Maybe we have a nice conversation, but then he would vanish.
After talking to a guy briefly and having a general (rather boring) conversation, he asked me this, “So, what are you looking for on here?” I figured out later that he was disguising his hook-up scheme as “friends with benefits,” so it ended there. However, I never asked myself that question or answered it. Was I really looking for a guy to steadily date, maybe an eventual boyfriend though I had just got out of a relationship that ended poorly? Wouldn’t it be helpful if people were more honest about their intentions?
The Data on Online Dating
According to Pew Research and Berkeley School of Information, people spend twelve hours a week on online dating apps, yet still one-third of the people using dating apps have yet to go on a date with someone they met online. Sure, the amount of people using dating apps has increased, “one-in-five 18- to 24-year olds (22%) now report using mobile dating apps” whereas 5% reported doing so in 2013. Yet, what is the point of wasting time seeking out a match through the slew of faces swiping across their screen if not to meet or to get to know someone?
Dating Apps are Changing the Game
Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and Happn are changing the way we interact with one another. The question is: Are they the catalyst or the side effect of our current lifestyles?
We live in a very fast-paced society with demanding jobs and personal lives so meeting people or planning dates may be difficult. Also, as we grow more attached to the digital world, talking to people in person may seem harder. It’s unnerving that “dating offline is hard and takes some getting used to,” says Janna Koretz, Psy.D Founder and Licensed Psychologist. “To not immediately reach for the phone…feels really strange. But often connections are missed because we aren’t paying attention.”
Turning to on-the-go, no pressure dating, means we forfeit human contact—reading facial expressions, hearing someone’s voice. So, when or if users finally meet, they may be surprised.
The Age of Regret-free hookups
According to AskMen, online dating is “an always-available, pocket-sized method for finding the woman of your dreams — or, at the very least, a regret-free hookup.” This shows that there is less regard for people met online, and you won’t know what you are getting into until the conversation starts.
If we continue to use dating apps, especially Tinder, which according to Consumer Research is the most used in comparison to Match, OKCupid, eHarmony, and Grinder, parameters need to be set. People should be placed into specific categories based what they are looking for.
Believe it or not, while Tinder is known to be the hook-up app, InstaDo: Friend Zone Is Over– is a way more frank than any app yet. It gives you the option of matching with someone and asking if they want to go out for coffee, dinner, movie, or do it. Just like that, blunt and honest. While it may be a little risqué, it can be a good way to filter people by dating goals instead of them wasting your time beating around the bush.
You may be thinking, what do I do if I actually want to meet someone serious? Paying up may be the unfortunate answer.
Love Don’t Cost a Thing…or does it?
While people are, in fact, finding relationships through dating apps, Consumer Research shows that “Only 13 percent [of Tinder users] said they had made it past the first four weeks…” Yikes.
It is possible that more serious dating opportunities can come out of paid service? Tinder launched a premium account which includes unlimited swipes, a rewind feature for those moments you swipe too fast and miss a possible match, and the chance to match beyond your city limits. According to NPR, “U.S. users will pay $9.99 for Tinder Plus if they’re under 30, and $19.99 per month if they’re 30 or older.” If you’re wondering how many people are actually committed to paying a monthly fee, “more than a million people now pay for the premium version of the app”
How can paying for online dating be the answer?
While I don’t necessarily agree with turning dating into a love e-commerce website, it may help those serious about finding a partner online. If someone is willing to put money towards their profile, it separates them from people who are just “doing it for fun.”
A friend of mine knows someone who has found the love of his life via a dating app where he paid $10 a month for a profile. In reality, if you date someone on a monthly basis, you’d spend a lot more (most likely) than $10. So, is it reasonable?
Overall, I have a lot more questions than answers about online dating. Yet, I know that everyone should truly ask themselves what their ultimate goal is when they create and continue to use a dating app profile.
Without asking ourselves what we really want from the many faces we encounter on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, or Happn, how can we really find a meaningful connection? Maybe we’d have better luck catching a rare Pokemon.