Online Dating Apps Might Be Wasting Your Time

Whether your go-to dating vice is Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge, online dating apps in college has become more normalized and socially acceptable, but what are we as users getting out of it? To make a profile, one has to dig through their hundreds of phone photos and narrow it down to the five best options, whether they are recent or not. Next is to determine your preferences, or what you prefer in a significant other. On Hinge, there are options to only show individuals that fit user specified categories such as religion, height, and even ethnicity. On Tinder, the only preference a user can determine as their preference is distance and age.


With the engrossed life of balancing both school and work, college students may find it difficult to squeeze in dating into their scheduled routines. Going online and superficially judging someone within three seconds is much easier than speaking to someone whom you find attractive in the library.


It is easy to go on tinder and judge someone based on only a few characteristics, but when we are in public we do not judge the way we do when we see people online. You are truly putting your best self out there, which is the problem. Your best pictures, your most unique qualities, your most interesting facts, your quirkiest caption. In reality, you are unable to repeat the same elevator pitch to hundreds of potential people you may connect with. You are unable to strike every flattering pose or angle every single second of the day. You cannot be the energetic and fun-loving person you may try to represent online. And this is normal. Online dating apps, similar to Instagram, have the influence to make users try to be their best. Living up to these expectations with a date from a match can be intimidating for both sides, thus leading to a lower success rate than dating in person. People deserve to see the everyday you, all sides of you, and you deserve to see the best sides of that person as well.


Some say Tinder is the hookup app, Bumble is where to go to look for something more serious, and Hinge is the one stop boyfriend shop. These stigmas can carry heavy and can bring shame to those who use them leading individuals to ask themselves, “Am I desperate to be looking for a hookup online?” or “Do I seem pathetic by trying to find my future husband through a dating app.” These stereotypical views can bring unwarranted shame to the user and make them believe they are doing something wrong. But there is nothing wrong with online dating, it is about what your true purpose of being on the apps are and how they make you feel.


Online dating tries its best to mimic interpersonal interactions by being able to include likes and interests, but is that truly what people looking for love connect on? For example, I enjoy playing the guitar, painting, and writing yet most of my friends cannot do or dislike doing those three things but are the closest people to me.


I would argue the most addicting thing about dating apps, similar to most addictive substances, is the instant gratification. At the palm of your hands, you have access to hundreds of compliments, whether that means just a match, or an actual compliment given to you by someone else. An instant high, that really is what it says it is, instant. Felt for a moment, then forgotten the next. So you keep swiping. Swiping until you get the next second high, this time someone complimented your profile picture. Instant high. The next time someone superlikes you, instant high. Like a chain smoker, the first one is not good enough, and you have to keep going through the pack until you are either out, or have something else to do.

In person, we take compliments to heart more. Most people are not actively seeking out attention or consistent admiration from others. In fact, a common practice especially for those our age, is to divert compliments or downplay them. The point is that we remember them. They stay with us. You remember the time a stranger in the plaza said to you how much they liked your outfit, but do you remember what Pete from Tinder said to you even last week? Most likely not.


Online dating is not something that should be looked down upon whatsoever. It can even be a way to connect with others for different reasons that just hooking up. But it is important to put into perspective how you are using the app, and why you are using it, and ask yourself if you are misusing it. Stepping back and analyzing what the app does for you, and how it makes you feel when you use it and after you close out of it, can help you determine whether or not it is the best option for you at this point in time. If it is attached with any negative emotions whatsoever, delete it, at least for a few days or a week. Most importantly, take care of yourself, and realize that you are the only person who can fully do that.