For those of you still in relationships by now, congrats. Although you may be missing your significant other due to long distance or ready to put them in a chokehold from quarantining together, you have your person. For those of you taking this time to learn and love yourself rather than dating, congratulations are also in order. You have yourself to discover.
Then there are those of us who are single and trying to date…in the middle of… a pandemic. This alone has provided its own set of challenges and has left singles with little opportunity to (safely) meet a potential partner.
Being faced with this dilemma myself, I’ve made the executive decision to put my pride aside and finally dip my toe in the world of Tinder. Almost everyone knows that there is a stigma associated with the app—and dating apps in general— since many consider it to be superficial. Deciding often in a matter of seconds whether or not someone is worth your time based on a couple photos and a short bio can come across a bit harshly.
On the other hand, is it really all that different from how we pick potential partners outside of the digital world? Choosing to engage with someone is often decided based on initial attraction. According to Psychology Today, “Physical attractiveness may serve as a gatekeeper directing us toward partners who are healthy, age appropriate, and able to reproduce” (Weeden and Sabini, 2005).
Although I don’t have reproduction on my mind (and won’t for many, many years), there was nothing stopping me from taking advantage of all that Tinder has to offer—which, for the record, was a whole lot more than I had in the first place.
With that being said, here are 3 things you can expect when you’ve decided it’s time for Tinder:
Dating online requires optimism and an open mind. I began the process by shifting my mindset and viewing this decision as an opportunity rather than an act of desperation. Not only was this an opportunity for me to meet people I’d otherwise never cross paths with, but it was an opportunity to learn more about myself.
Now is the time to question what you like and what qualities you’re looking for in a potential partner. Ask yourself questions such as:
– What are my dealbreakers?
– What specifically do I like about this particular person?
– Why do I like that about them?
– Have I gone for someone like this in the past?
– If I have, did it contribute to my growth or set me back?
– Is there a pattern in my dating history? If so, what was it and how do I break it?
– Do I even want to break it?!? Why or why not?
I fully recognize that this opportunity for self-reflection may not be appealing to those who downloaded the app for purposes outside of dating. Nevertheless, I would like to present a challenge to anyone whose purpose for downloading exists beyond pleasure.
In-between swipes, I dare you to look deeper.
Expect to be ghosted. Countless times, I’ve matched with someone and started a conversation only to never hear from them again. Whether it’s because they got nervous (wouldn’t we all like to think that), lost interest, or deleted the app entirely, I learned to not take it personal.
It’s entirely possible that this may never happen to you and your luck, or skill, far surpasses mine. However, if it does, understand that it’s not a reflection of you or your worth. Besides, getting new matches afterwards definitely softens the blow.
You should also expect inconsistency when it comes to the intentions of others. As I previously mentioned, some people are on Tinder to hook up, make new friends, and even network. For this reason, it’s your responsibility to make your intentions clear so that both parties can determine whether or not they wish to continue the conversation.
That is unless they come out the gate with the eggplant or peach emojis…
There will likely come a point when you feel as though you’ve become a bit too familiar with the app. At first, I felt the rush and excitement from all the matches and super likes I was receiving. Naturally, this feeling faded as the attention was often short-lived and swiping left or right became almost tedious.
This is when I knew I needed a break.
Remember that it’s okay to step away because dating, even if it is online, can be tiring. Allow yourself to take a breather, collect your thoughts, and re-evaluate your intentions. No app is worth sacrificing your mental and emotional health for!
Overall, downloading Tinder has personally been a positive experience and has allowed me to learn more about myself, my wants, needs, and limits—all while being tucked behind the safety of a screen. Perhaps when the “panoramic” ends, I’ll be able to put all I’ve learned into in-person practice. But for now, I’ll stick to swiping!