Dating Apps: Maybe They're Not So Bad

We all understand the sentiment: meeting your significant other in person is more romantic than meeting on a dating app. Why can’t we all have that “bump-into-someone-in-the-produce-aisle-and-feel-that-unmistakable-spark” type of love? When we talk about dating apps, the most positive assumptions don’t often come to mind. Before I decided to try a dating app, I always thought “I don’t need to use that sort of platform to find love; if I meet someone in person and fall in love, I’ll know it was meant to be.” Well…as I came to learn, there are many things wrong with that statement. Yeah, sure, I met plenty of men “in-person” who were all nice enough but we definitely weren’t soulmates or anything. People don’t have to be desperate to use dating apps—many individuals (especially in Seattle) are incredibly shy. Furthermore, if a stranger were to ask you out at the grocery store, it would typically be regarded as creepy.

During finals week of our freshman year, my best friend and I were messing around and he told me how difficult it had been for him to find nice guys on dating apps. Since I had never been in a serious relationship before (that brief one in high school didn’t exactly count), he thought it would be fun to create a dating app account for me. I refused at first (because, after all, I was very against dating apps) but finally decided “what’s the harm?” and agreed. I had one condition: anything but Tinder. I had heard horror stories from my friends. We created an account on “Hinge” which is technically an app for professionals and people in their mid-twenties, but I didn’t know of any other platform. It was actually pretty fun “swiping” through potential dates and reading about them, but nobody caught my eye. I am extremely picky when it comes to dating, so naturally I used up all my “swipes” every day.

The week after that, one day before I was supposed to leave Seattle and go home for Christmas break, I came across someone’s profile who immediately caught my attention. All of their pictures were so endearing and they seemed extremely adventurous (and sweet, even though it’s impossible to say that indefinitely from a photo). Since I was too shy to actually message them, I “liked” their picture (a feature on Hinge) and they reached out to me shortly thereafter. We met the next morning at a coffee shop that I loved and hit it off right away!

couple holding hands in a restaurant on a date Pexels / bruce mars To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect on our first date. I had never met someone from an app like this, and if my parents knew, they definitely would have lectured me. Although I presumed that the meeting would be awkward and was tempted to cancel with short notice, I felt that there was something special about him (yes, I know that’s cheesy) and decided I should meet him.

I ended up being late to our first date (of course) because I had spent all morning packing for my trip home and had a small mishap with the dresser drawer…unbelievable, I know. Luckily, I’m a fast walker and only showed up two minutes late but was flustered and my glasses had fogged up. Surprisingly, it actually wasn’t awkward and we hit it off right away (something I thought I would never experience with anyone). We had similar taste in pop culture and identical values—we both talked really fast as well (haha) and everything seemed to be perfect. If I had any reservations, it was only our age difference: he was six years older than me. He had already started his career and had already traveled to so many different places/accomplished so many spectacular things and I had just started university. I thought there would be a gap in our maturity levels (I know guys mature later, but still). Yet to my surprise, we were at exactly the same level and I would have assumed we were the same age.

After leaving the coffee shop, he showed me his office which was right next to UW and we talked some more. I eventually had to leave because I had an appointment, but he asked if we could possibly go on one more date later that night before I left Seattle the next day. I agreed, and we met at Pike Place to enjoy the waterfront. It was amazing how well we got along, having known each other for only a few hours, and I could see myself wanting to spend all my time with him. We stayed up until 4:00am that night just talking and we both couldn’t believe we had found each other (apologies once again for the cheesiness)!

Even after we began dating and had been together for a while, I still felt that people would judge me/us for meeting through a dating app (in hindsight, I’m not even sure why I cared). When my friends asked how we met, I would tell them that I met him at a social with one of my university friends. Thankfully, I have since gotten past my negative connotation with dating apps and am able to be honest about how we met.

Fast-forward to today: we have been together for almost one year and have spent nearly every weekend and holiday of the past year together. We’ve gotten into slacklining, serious hiking, bouldering, tried nearly every coffee shop and Thai restaurant in Seattle, and so much more. He’s my best friend and I can’t imagine myself with anyone else!

I never would have guessed that the first person I ever met on a dating app would end up being the love of my life. Moral of the story: “relationship apps” can be wonderful!

This was my personal experience with a dating app that I was hesitant to use in the first place. If my story resonates with you, I advise you to check them out! If they're not for you, that's completely understandable as well.   

Shout-Out to Hinge: “Designed to Be Deleted”