Are Dating Apps Ruining Our Socialization Skills in Real Life?

Dating in college is nerve racking and overwhelming.

There are so many people on this college campus and it can feel impossible to meet someone here that you can connect, or at least have a half-decent conversation with.

This is where turning to Tinder and similar dating apps can help.

These online dating apps make it so much easier to talk to and potentially meet people in your surrounding area.

But are these dating apps actually helping us take charge of who we meet and talk to? Or do they just allow us to hide behind our screens and not put as much pressure or importance on actually getting out there and talking face to face with people?

I personally can see both sides being partially right as these apps are very convenient and allow people to practice talking with others from behind the safety of a phone screens.

But these dating apps may also harm our long term socialization skills when it comes to the real world. 

The benefits of dating apps 

As society changes and evolves, new technology becomes available that assists in making our lives easier.

Dating apps are something that grew out of this modern and new technology.

Essentially, we don’t even have to go out to bars anymore.

We can casually see and learn about potential partners from the comfort of our couches, or just about anywhere.

A person now has the ability to make very clear what they are looking for, in their bios.

These apps also make it a lot easier to avoid matching and talking to people that you aren’t similar to or who aren’t looking for the same thing as you. 

When we meet people in person, we may be less forward about what they are truly looking for as to not be rude or not be too forward right away.

Hiding behind a phone screen can be bad but it can also allow us to protect ourselves, screen who we actually want to meet and get to know better and even be more honest about what we truly want. 

I asked UF Senior Alexa Signori whether or not she thought dating apps had negative effects on our in-person socialization skills.

“I don’t think dating apps are ruining people’s social skills in real life, because we don’t chat on them for that long,” Signori said. “I use a dating app to see if the guy I matched with is someone I would be willing to meet in person.”

Besides using the app to screen guys and only meet and put effort into those she is actually interested in, she also brought up another positive aspect associated with dating apps.

 “Dating apps have allowed me to meet so many different people I wouldn’t have met in real life and I’ve gone on so many dates which have enhanced my social skills,” Signori said. “I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people, and now I have experienced many new social settings with my dates.” 

Dating apps are still relatively new but have already changed the way that we meet and interact with the people in the areas around us. 

The negatives of dating apps 

There are some pros to dating apps, like never having to leave your couch to find yourself a date or somebody to talk to, there are also some aspects of these apps that have changed dating - not for the better.

While hiding behind your screen can be a positive that helps people that are less outspoken feel more confident in saying what they are truly looking for, this same technique of hiding behind ones’ screen can be used in a negative way.

People feel more comfortable being inappropriate, rude and just straight out too forward because they feel protected by the anonymity.

They feel disconnected from the fact that one is speaking through an actual person on the other side of this screen.

It can also feel as if everyone on these apps are using the same cheesy pick-up lines over and over again, and that pretty much these apps are all about quantity over quality.

I asked UF junior Brittney Miller what she thought about dating apps and whether or not they had positive or negative effects on our socialization skills.

“People get so used to texting each other that when it comes to face-to-face interactions, it can seem super awkward and forced,” Miller said. 

It is so easy to be outgoing and have a great conversation that flows when you have time to think about a clever message to send to somebody you are talking to on these dating apps, but sometimes in person that easiness and connection can disappear.

It is easy to portray yourself one way online and then another in person, which is why these apps can become so negative and misleading.

Everyone connects in a different way.

For some people dating apps take the fear out of being truthful and forward when it comes to trying to get to know someone that they are interested in.

However, for other people, these apps represent an endless sea of bad jokes and pick up lines and may just seem pointless.

But it is important to keep all negative and positive aspects of these apps in mind when using them.

These dating apps are what you make of them, and no matter how you feel we have to admit that they have truly changed the way we meet, date and connect with the people around us.