Recently Okcupid made the change from people using usernames to real names on their site, and it quickly caused an uproar on the Internet from the dating sites users.
But, personally, I hadn’t heard about anyone my age being upset about it. In fact, most people I knew just used Tinder (or Bumble or Hinge or some other swipe-based app). Which made me wonder, why is our generation so drawn to Tinder as opposed to more traditional full-profile dating websites like Okcupid? I reached out to young people and a few psychologists to find out why the Tinder-model of online dating has such an appeal and here are the answers I got:
It’s convenient for our busy schedules.
This was the number one response I received. It’s free to make a Tinder account, it’s easy to make a profile and you can absent-mindedly swipe when you have down time. Also, many people our age don’t have time for a committed relationship due to busy class schedules and jobs, but they still want to casually date, which Tinder allows.
checking tinder while ur pooping: swipe n wipe
— izliz (@__inagarten__) September 27, 2017
Dr. Marisa T. Cohen, associate professor at St. Francis College and expert on first date experiences agreed.
“Many of the people that you meet on dating sites are the same people that you would meet and decide to go out with in person (provided you are filtering based on your interests/desires/non-negotiables, etc.),” said Cohen. “Online dating is especially wonderful for people with busy schedules. It gives us access to available others, thereby opening up our dating pool.”
There’s no long questionnaires.
A lack of lengthy questionnaires goes along with the convenience of Tinder. Something about questionnaires turns younger people off. Many say they’re time consuming, don’t portray what you want to say about yourself or some people don’t take them seriously at all. People like that you have a lot of control over your profile on Tinder.
“I think young people prefer Tinder because it’s meant for first impressions,” said Arabella Villanueva, a recent Stephen F. Austin State University graduate. “You can choose to reveal as much or as little as you want, and you don’t have to wait for the app to tell you whether you’re a good match for a person. You get to decide a lot for yourself.”
Also, Tinder is open to people who are looking for something more casual, so people have no reason to fill out those lengthy profiles or answer all of those hyper specific questions.
“[I] wasn’t sure if I was looking for a relationship, so it seemed silly to spend so much time carefully answering questions and looking through matches and making an account on yet another dating app for just a casual fling,” said Marcy Ayres, 25, of Brooklyn.
It’s a confidence boost when you’re bored.
Along with the low commitment, many people have Tinder accounts just for fun. Some don’t use their accounts a lot, and only swipe though when they’re bored – not necessarily when they’re looking to meet someone. Others use Tinder to help them get back out there after a breakup without being too serious about dating. Or it can be a confidence boost to get matches even though you may never actually message them.
“I chose Tinder because it was the easiest to use and it’s what my roommates were using, so it was fun to sit on the couch with a bottle of wine and swipe together,” said Lauren Nelson, student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
But you can still find a relationship if you want.
Despite Tinder being geared towards hook ups, many people ended up finding a relationship on Tinder. They admit there were a lot of creepy people to swipe through, but once they found someone genuine, the app actually made it easier for them to get to know the person.
“People may think of a first date as a time to get to know a person (their interests, hobbies, vocation, etc.), however all of this potentially was discussed during your initials emails, phone calls, or texts,” said Cohen. “So when meeting up for the first time, you have already moved past a lot of those pleasantries. It allows you to jump right in at a potentially more intimate place.”
And many students agreed with Cohen: “I do hate the ‘stigma’ of Tinder because a lot of people hear the word ‘Tinder’ and automatically think it’s just a place to find hook ups,” said Emily Flatt, student at Lindsey Wilson College. “I’ve met lots of great guys and been on multiple dates through Tinder.”
However, there are still reasons to dislike online dating.
In my reporting, I still found that these apps still had some pit-falls—like all other online dating sites. It may feel awkward talking to someone online you’ve never met before. Some people who are looking for relationships claim that they can only find people looking to hook up. And who could forget the endless amount of trolls? Every woman I’ve talked to has received countless messages with sexual jokes and innuendos and no earnest attempt to make conversation.
“I have never used a traditional dating site before, but I do think I would prefer a traditional dating site over [swiping apps because they’re] so casual, and a lot of people aren’t using it for the idea of a real relationship,” said Kaitlin Clatterbuck, a student at Lake Superior State University. “I could see myself using a traditional site in the future (if needed), because I feel confident that the people on there are in it for the real thing, and I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting my time with guys who are only looking for short-term hookups.”
But are current dating app trends changing our feelings about romance? Maybe not.
Professor at the University of Haifa and expert on the study of emotions, Dr. Aaron Ben Ze’ev seems to disagree. He said that despite the technological advances, some things — like romantic love — fail to change over time, which is why he said we can still relate to Plato and Shakespeare. Online dating and swipe-friendly apps like Tinder are just a new way to channel these romantic feelings.
“We are addicted to rapid novelty that takes place in constant flux,” said Ben-Ze’ev. “However, long-term profound love is still an ideal most people cherish and want to achieve. I do not think that this ideal will vanish, though it becomes in our society more difficult to achieve it.”