In our ever-continuing search for love, many of us have, at some point, turned to Tinder in the hopes that we’ll randomly swipe across our soulmate. This, in my opinion, has resulted in quite a lot of horror stories. It’s unsurprising when you think about it. Tinder is essentially just a random pooling of people with the freedom and technology to present themselves online however they wish. Their general goal being to impress other people and get that sweet, sweet swipe. There are certainly pros and cons to the whole thing. It’s easy and fast—you get to see many more faces than would be convenient in day to day life, and some of the pickup lines can actually get pretty entertaining. However, I feel that more often than not, Tinder is mentioned in the context of “why I should never use it again.” That raises the question of whether Tinder a complete waste of time or if there is a reason that so many people keep coming back to it.
A roommate of mine recently decided to go back on Tinder, and as much as it has been a constant source of entertainment, it’s also become very apparent of how many issues the app has/can cause. To begin with, it makes me feel like a judgmental assh*le. In day to day life, I try to view the world as nonjudgmentally as possible. This includes looking at other people and not immediately dismissing them if they aren’t six feet tall. This happens to be the exact opposite of Tinder. I know the point is to find people you think you could be attracted to, and technically there is nothing wrong with that. However, there was a part of me that really hated tapping through someone’s pictures, reading a less than stellar bio and laughing rudely as I swiped a very aggressive left. The app made it seem strangely acceptable to view people in such a light as if they were objects rather than human beings. There is something horribly satisfying about seeing someone and being able to completely dismiss them purely based on their face and body. That doesn’t change the fact that it can sometimes make for a slightly sad and guilty experience.
I also feel that just like many other forms of social media, Tinder can become a very unhealthy form of validation. As easy as it is to dismiss someone because the lighting in their photos isn’t good, it is just as easy to swipe right on absolutely everyone. There is a certain rush that comes with getting constant matches and messages. It says, “people like me! People think that I’m attractive!” And to be honest, I completely get why that would be thrilling but starting to rely on a form of social media (especially one so focused on sex and attraction) can become a bit damaging. In addition, I think that the interaction being online makes people feel as if they can get away with saying or doing anything. And the sad part about it is, they most likely can. A friend of mine ended up expressing a lack of interest in a guy after a very aggressive and not very clever sexual innuendo and instead of simply accepting it, he took it upon himself to critique every single photo she had posted on her profile, claiming that he had “never really been interested” and was “relieved that she understood that.” This all being done as if he hadn’t just expressed extreme interest in both her and her “wonderfully shaped t*ts.”
Scientists have also claimed that, for the most part, Tinder is a “waste of time” (which I feel may be a slight spoiler for this article). According to metro.co, Tinder is much more useful for casual sex and hookups than actually finding a quality and lasting relationship. Many people are disappointed to find that the wider selection of people doesn’t necessarily equate to a higher success rate. Research has also shown that there’s a big difference in how men and women use the app. Ladies tend to be more selective and take their time picking potential matches while it is more common for men to close their eyes and slash their finger across the screen until they eventually get a match. This may mean that anyone sexually or romantically attracted to men may have a harder time picking out the bad fruits when using Tinder. According to Bendixen, people deemed “traditionally pretty” by society tend to have sex more while using the app. “There’s a connection between a high interest in short-term sex encounters and less chance of meeting someone interested in a long-term relationship through the use of the dating app.” This all implies Tinder as a great option for casual sex but not for anything deeper. But the kicker is, all of this information still applies to when you’re not using dating apps. So really, it doesn’t make it better or worse.
I know I’ve been talking about the cons for a while (they’re just more interesting tbh), but let’s move onto possible pros. To start off, if viewed like a game and not taken too seriously, Tinder can be a lot of fun. I find the random profile claims of being “7 foot with a d*ck to match,” horribly cringy one-liners and the ever-present dog photos, to be a consistent source of entertainment. And even with statistics against you, there is a chance that Tinder could help you find love. You could be that little outlier in the data pool that gives hope to those who continue trying. A friend of mine actually started dating a boy they met on Tinder, and the relationship was actually solid and lasting (even though I’m fairly sure he did start off with a cheesy one-liner). Tinder has also been shown as a convenient way to find people you’re attracted to and have quick (or hopefully not too quick) casual sex. There’s nothing wrong with this, so if it was your goal from the start and this is openly communicated, this app may be perfect for you.
I suppose what it comes down to is what you’re actually on Tinder for. In terms of finding a quick hookup, it seems to be fairly effective. However, finding “true love” or relying on it in the hopes that your Romeo or Juliet will pass by in the cascade of faces isn’t super likely. That isn’t to say that there’s no hope, but general trends suggest it’s not advisable. That being said, if you are considering getting Tinder, it is all person and situation-specific, so don’t let this article get you down. As long as you approach the app with realistic expectations, a thick skin and a focus on safety, then there shouldn’t be any issues. I suggest you assume that everyone you swipe on, left or right, is a complete assh*le until proven otherwise, and things may surprise you for the better.