“You should definitely get Tinder.” This single sentence was all it took to convince me to download dating apps. I have always been a very skeptical, traditional dater. As a hopeless romantic, I do assume that I will somehow get asked out at the dining hall or in class, and yet somehow, before my friend could finish telling me to, I had pressed download.
I was shocked. All of these other people went to this school? They are all looking to meet people? I felt like I’d been missing out. Soon enough, I found out about Tinder’s cousins, Bumble and Hinge. While I never hopped on the Hinge train, I did get Bumble. My profiles looked exactly the same, with a few exceptions to tailor to each app’s stereotypes.
Tinder, known for searching for something casual, and Bumble, known for searching for something a bit more serious, work pretty much the same. You swipe right if you like someone, left if you don’t, and you can super-like someone sometimes. Both also give you the option to pay a monthly fee for unlimited swipes, but I never purchased this option so I cannot tell you how it works. On Tinder, both people can message each other, but Bumble has a safety feature where only women can message first.
Since my freshman year, I swiped and swiped and swiped. I had many hilarious conversations, some creepy, some rude, some even sweet. These apps are a place to find people from all walks of life, and maybe even the love of your life. No matter what you’re looking for, these apps are fun. However, it took me far too long to realize that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for on these apps, and it wasn’t because of the apps themselves. It was because of how I viewed them.
On these apps, you’re asked to provide a few pictures of yourself, a quick blurb, some interests (you choose how superficial), and if you choose to include it, some of your world views. The truth of the matter is, though, much like other social media platforms, we are only posting a quick snippet of ourselves, usually in our best light. We select our best pictures, use bios that probably tailor more to other people than our truest words, and simply pick and choose what to put on the internet (wisely, perhaps).
To me, this creates a false layer of expectations, where you expect to get what that person’s profile looks like. That’s very rational, and I don’t mean it in a catfish type of way. I mean it in a way where you see perfect lighting and good pictures and, again, maybe three sentences of a person. In reality, what you are searching for is a real human being with depth, and that is much more than six pictures.
If you’re looking for something fun and casual on these apps, power to you, and maybe that isn’t that big of a deal in these situations. I knew I was searching for something serious, and I just felt like I wasn’t going to get it on these apps, and here’s why: I never actually met up with anyone because again, I just felt like nobody could know enough about anyone to actually do so.
Maybe this is irrational, and yes I do know that’s how you get to know someone in the first place, but it just wasn’t something I felt fully comfortable doing. I didn’t know what sat behind a screen, and even in 2022, I’ll keep dreaming about being asked out after class.
Lots of people are successful in finding whatever they’re searching for on dating apps. I love that for them and think that’s amazing. It means they work. That is simply not the case for me, and that’s okay.