Life Lessons I Learned from Tinder

Summer flings are a foreign thing to me. I’ve spent most of my summers moving about and traveling. I never really had time to go to the pool and scope out prospects; I was too busy trying to figure out the Italian word for "exit." So, going into my senior year (gulp), I joined the dating app Tinder. Yeah, yeah, late to the game, I know.

My original intention was to conduct a social experiment. A friend of mine convinced me to send Tinderfellas, within a 15-20 mile radius, a link to a questionable Youtube video that made me cry with laughter.

But then three guys beat me to it. Talking to me, that is, before I could share the silly video.

So yes, I did conduct my social experiment (with just as questionable results, I should say), but then it evolved. It was eye-opening, to say the least. Without further ado, here are some lessons Tinder taught me with real life examples for your humorous pleasure. That’s right! I’m giving you permission to laugh at me, not with me. But please, be kind.

People are a lot of things: shallow, stupid, weird, amazing, and a whole slew of other adjectives. You’ve got to keep an open mind and enjoy the journey. I went for coffee with a guy after work one day. First, he left 30 minutes after meeting on the pretense he needed to meet someone else which goes against Basic Human Interaction 101. Second, he said his favorite type of music was “elevator music in a mall on the moon in the 22nd century.” I wish I could say I made that up. People are a lot of things. You are too. Just roll with it.

Like tasty cakes or an Amazon order, the best things in life take time. Due to a wide-range of circumstances that seemed to conspire against us, I spoke/texted/messaged/became Facebook friends with one Tinderfella over the course of two months before we actually met in person. When we finally met for dinner, we hung out for hours afterward--talking and enjoying the weather. It made my week and, out of all the guys I spoke to, he’s the one I was most disappointed I didn’t continue to stay in touch with. It was nice to have someone, an outsider of sorts, to talk with about stupid things like dogs and Spongebob. Unless you’re looking for immediate gratification, time is your friend. A recent study found that it takes, on average, 10 or less messages for millennials to get into bed. So, you know, instant gratification is perfectly acceptable. But you do you, and I’ll do me.

And, just like how time and patience is a good thing, so is talking. You know, using words to express ideas or concerns in order to communicate with another person. Or animal, depending on how lonely you are. One time, a guy and I spent 10 consecutive hours just talking. The only pain that came from that was I went to bed at three and woke up at six. It was a rough work day. It was great speaking with him, laughing at 2:57 on a Tuesday morning, and we learned a lot about each other and decided, “Nah, we’ll do better elsewhere.” But I got a couple good stories and some dark circles out of it. You win some, you look some.

In the era of feminism, girls shouldn’t be afraid to talk first. Some guys even write that they won’t initiate conversations in their profiles. Okay, fine. “I like your face, tell me more about this pizza cake you like to eat.” It can be as simple as that. It doesn’t need to spark a deep philosophical debate. C’mon, you’re both just as desperate and/or bored enough to be on the app in the first place. That’s a starting point. Go from there and see where it goes. Maybe you can eat pizza cake together. It’s a real thing.

And the most important lesson I learned is simple: be your strong self.

The first guy I went out with, I’d known for three days. We’d talk, of course, planned world domination and such, and met up at a bar one night. It started to rain and one thing led to another, and we ended up in his apartment. But some things he said or did made me feel uncomfortable. And you know what? I said no. No, not happening. Not now, not ever. No. And I left. And I walked across campus, went back home, called my friend, and we laughed. To be honest, I’m still laughing about it now. The entire situation not only empowered me and reminded me that no one can make me do something I don’t want to, but it also encouraged me. My words have meaning. My beliefs are mine, my body is mine, and no one can take that from me. This Tinderfella also ended up being the roommate of my friend’s ex, so that increased the hilarity to the story.

What I’m trying to say is that, though a bit of a contrived and naïve idea, I’m glad I got on Tinder. If anything, I got some good stories and insight into who I am. And as weird as it sounds, I wouldn’t be the person I know myself to be today if it hadn’t been for this “hook-up” app.