I once had a friend who was obsessed with Tinder. It seemed like everyday she had a new boy to talk to, and was bouncing back and forth between at least six at any given time. When we went to new places, she’d hop on Tinder immediately to see who was in the area (and if they were a college football player). On average, she’d talk to a boy for two weeks before something went wrong. According to her, they’d either suddenly become jerks or they’d “only want one thing”. In this situation, she happened to be the one to pick the fights because she expected the boy to instantly want to hang out with her and be texting her back 24/7.
Yet it’s fair to ask, were her expectations too high or too low?
When using apps like Tinder, it’s important to think of why we’re there as much as why everyone else is. It could be any variation of boredom, finding a random person to hook up with, new people for just chatting with, hunting for a serious relationship, or if you’re me, digging through to see who is on the app that you went to middle school with…
Shockingly, Business Insider says that statistics show that 30% of Tinder users are married. Everyone has an ultimatum that virtual anonymity helps mask. Making your objectives clear from the beginning can help you from getting hurt down the road. That can be said in any situation, but with cases like Tinder that exposes user to hundreds of strangers at a time, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
But why do we feel the need to be attached to this app at all times? It has made the dating culture of today disposable. You can throw a person away so easily. With a left swipe or a deleted conversation they’re gone right out of your life and into the proverbial online “trash”. Even if you do meet in person, you hook up with someone, you never speak to them again. It almost strips us of our humanity itself; we’re not a person with feelings and emotions, we’re a profile with a mutual interest in Saturday Night Live and cheese, whose picture has a sunset in it. There’s no making eye connection with someone across the bar or giggling when they trip over the leg of the stool in front of you. The air of mystery, of in the moment excitement, is gone when we lose that face to face contact.
There’s a new website out now called 8^8, which claims that after you answer eight questions, it can find your soulmate.
My thoughts? Whoa, pump the breaks there buddy. I don’t even know what I’m eating for dinner and it takes me twenty minutes to decide on footwear. I’m in no way ready for a soulmate, but I can stop hyperventilating now.
According to the website, “8^8 is a project designed to find the one person among the world’s online population whose tastes and sensibilities match yours exactly…The one person who naturally functions on the same wavelength as you, because he/she is your soulmate – someone who could be a lover, or a best friend, but more fundamentally, someone who feels like a twin you were separated from at birth.”
The chances of someone having the exact answers as yours are 1 in 16,777,216. But do we really want a complete carbon copy of ourselves? It can almost set us up for failure, because even though it’s not a fool proof method, we’re automatically thinking that we’re going to like this person. Some magical romantic moment will happen, and destiny will be sealed – manufactured destiny. But what if it doesn’t? Then we panic because something in us is broken and we’ll be alone forever. Or if they don’t like us, we think we must be totally unlikable, even to people who supposedly think akin to us.
In being so proactive, we’ve forgotten the true nature and attitude of dating. Meeting someone organically with no inhibition is starting to feel like an ancient practice. We’re putting so much pressure on ourselves, looking too hard, that we end up finding nothing. Or worse, we smash puzzle pieces together even when they don’t fit in hopes of something landing. We don’t want to make traditional connections any more. Dating has become digitized to a fault, that when we do meet this person we’ve been speaking to for weeks, we don’t know how to act. It’s a sign of the evolving times, but it’s also an indicator of how we treat the people we know, too.
When my friend was on Tinder, she wouldn’t speak to me. She’d sit there and swipe, or she’d be talking to the boys she matched with. When there was an issue with one of said boys, however I’d get frantic and angry texts from her. This became 80% of our conversations because it was all she wanted to talk about. She’d lost all concept of communicating with her friends because she was so invested in these boys she’d never even met.
Don’t get me wrong, I think online dating is a useful tool. Apps like Tinder don’t bog you down with useless questions to answer if you think they’re ridiculous, and dating websites are great ways of meeting people if you have bad anxiety and the face-to-face approach is terrifying.. But when we completely remove the human element, we become disillusioned. We build up the idea so much, that the reality feels like a disappointment. It’s not that we have to give up this technology, but grounding ourselves in the notion that Tinder is not the be all/end all is a start. Nothing compares to an in person connection, and we shouldn’t try to replace that with what we have downloaded on our phones. Being able to engage in a conversation with some, laugh with them, and understand the intrinsic value of it all is worth more than a thousand flaky Tinder matches.
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What are your thoughts on Tinder and online dating?