Girl Talk: Are Dating Apps Really Worth It?

Dating in college is a mess. If you believe otherwise, good for you, but you’re either lying or just got lucky. Those looking for committed relationships have trouble finding someone willing to commit. Those seeking just a hook up do so at the risk of catching an STD or worse: feelings. In college, meeting people in person can be so difficult. There are thousands of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes on this campus, most of which you may never come in contact with because of differing majors, schedules or interests. Thus, the dating app is born. 

At this point, it’s rare to meet someone who has never had an account on a dating app at some point during their college experience. Given our generation’s interest in and expectation for immediate satisfaction, what is more perfect than an app that brings horny singles (that are real people and not an online pop-up) right to your palm? Apps like Tinder and Bumble are easy to use and, for those of us with a little social anxiety, you can meet people without the added stress of social interaction or making a bad first impression. 

I was personally against using dating apps for a really long time. Call me a boomer, but I wanted to make meaningful connections with people the old-fashioned way. I still do. I’d much rather answer that question of how we met with “I spilled my drink on him at The Strip” or “he paid for my coffee because I was crying at the Strozier Starbucks during finals week," than admit I met a guy on Tinder and actually liked him as a person. However, despite that, I’ve had dating apps for the better part of the last two years.

If I’d prefer to meet someone in person, even if it’s just for something casual, why bother with dating apps? I still ask myself this question, because my time using dating apps has brought me far more stress than is warranted. I’ve always been more introverted, never one to approach someone or really make that first move, and I have a record of making a fool of myself in social situations, so, originally, I figured why not give it a shot? I’m better with written words anyway, and people seem to like me much better online than in person, so it seemed like the logical thing to do. And if I’m being honest, I just felt so bad about myself all the time, and I wanted positive attention from a few cute guys.

When I first made my accounts, I just used them as an ego boost, which was obviously not my proudest moment. I was too scared to actually go on dates with anyone, so I’d talk to them for a few days and when they’d suggest meeting up, I’d either ghost if I wasn’t interested or tell them I just wanted to be friends if I thought they were cool. Some of them were cool with being friends, but others would continue to push the romantic aspect of the relationship despite the boundaries I’d put in place, which was never fun for me to deal with. But overall, I was just having fun with it for a while. I liked talking to new people and messing around with guys I could tell just wanted sex because at the time I was not interested in potentially contracting chlamydia from some frat guy. 

I kept telling myself I actually just wanted to make friends out of it. That I liked the attention I was getting and, deep down, I didn’t really want to have a relationship with any of these guys. It took me actually catching feelings for someone to realize that having random guys tell me I was pretty wasn’t enough. I wanted a real connection. But things with that guy didn’t work out, never really even started to begin with. I deleted all my apps shortly after that, only to redownload once I realized I just wanted something casual.

I thought it would be easy. Men are so horny all the time (if you’re a man and you’re reading this don’t bother denying it). So how hard could it really be to find a guy to hook up with on an app where all everyone is looking for is sex? 

Apparently, very. What I thought would be quick and easy turned out to be even more difficult than searching for a meaningful connection on an app designed for sex. Guys on dating apps say they want sex, not a relationship. But then when I was offering what they want, they wouldn’t take me up on the offer. I was left to wonder: is there something wrong with me or are these guys just all assholes? Or was I maybe just always picking the wrong ones? Although many of my friends have found themselves in this same situation, it felt for me that everyone else didn’t have as much trouble finding someone to hook up with them. I was left with this feeling that I wasn’t hot enough to be the hookup and I didn’t have the personality to make them stick around. After using dating apps for over two years, I would’ve thought I’d have had at least some kind of meaningful interaction with a guy that didn’t end with me feeling like I’m not good enough, but I haven’t. 

Deep down, all this time I’d been hoping for my own Tinderella Story, but all I’ve been left with is a pumpkin that rotted waiting to be turned into a carriage and I never even got to wear a pretty dress. Letting go of the melodramatic Prince Charming metaphor, I hoped that I’d at least find someone who liked me enough as a friend to stick around. I’ve been made to feel like I’m not even worth the effort of friendship, and after a lot of self-evaluation and some therapy at the good old University Counseling Center, I’ve realized I am.

I realized that using dating apps has never truly made me feel better about myself, and ultimately decided to delete all of them for good. Although I’ve been quite bored without the constant entertainment of men being idiotic, I have started to remember that I’m a human being with thoughts and feelings and not just a picture on the internet for a guy to throw words at. 

I don’t want to sound like I’m anti-dating apps. While I haven’t ultimately had a positive experience with them, a lot of people have. They can be a great resource for meeting people when you move to a new place and they are often a great source of entertainment. Some girls I know have had a lot of success on dating apps, and if you’re one of them, that’s great! Keep doing you. But if, like me, you’ve ever had any thoughts questioning your worth after spending an extended amount of time on a dating app, do yourself a favor and delete them. I promise you’ll feel so much better once you do. I definitely have. 

For now, at least for me, I think it’s best to sit back and let life run its course. If a guy wants to be in your life, he'll make the effort, and if he doesn't, you can do better. We have more important things to worry about than some boy who invites you to get drinks with him and pretends not to notice when his beer gets put on your tab (yes, this did happen to me once). So, if you hear me talking about using dating apps again in any of my later articles, I give my permission to any one of you to beat my a*s.

All images courtesy of Giphy.

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