Unless you’ve been in a devoted relationship since dating apps became popular, you’ve probably installed a dating app on your phone at one point in time. While some of us are active dating app users who are constantly checking Tinder for new could-be lovers, we can’t deny that dating apps aren’t for everyone.
After all, it can be nearly impossible to actually find love when you’re using a dating app in a college town. I mean, clearly every college student is looking for “the one” at 1:30 a.m., right? While you might periodically uninstall your dating apps whenever you get a crude message—so you know, three times a day—there are several factors that should deter you from using them.
1. You’re getting matched with too many jerks
Pretty much everyone has come across an unhealthy amount of hyper-sexualized pickup lines or crude messages on every dating app. However, if you’re getting too many of these messages, it might be time to consider deleting your profiles.
Alex McGuire, an alumna from Iowa State University, says, “I ended up uninstalling a dating app because I realized that people were approaching me not necessarily because they thought I sounded interesting, or had things in common, but because they wanted to know what my ethnicity was or where I was from. I’m multiracial, which apparently means you can start off conversations as insensitively as you want. I never felt more tokenized or fetishized in my life.”
Unfortunately, people use online and app dating as a way to hide behind a screen, which is why some people think that they can just ask abhorrent questions without any repercussions that would happen in the real world, such as getting a drink thrown in their face followed by a swift knee to the groin.
While one loathsome idiot shouldn’t deter you from using any dating app, it might be time to save yourself from unnecessary abuse if you start to receive multiple derogatory messages.
2. You would rather build relationships in person
Although dating apps might seem like a stress-free way to get to know some potential new suitors, especially for introverts or anyone with social anxiety, dating apps can make it more difficult to interact with your match once you meet them IRL.
Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, explains that while she’s never used a dating app before, her friends have uninstalled their dating apps “to advance relationships through real-life meetings.” This totally makes sense, because we all need to have chemistry in the real world to be able to stand hanging out with anyone.
We won’t lie: it’s going to be tough to hold a face-to-face convo, but it’ll be worth it. After all, nobody wants to live a life behind a phone.
3. You’re using them to boost your self-esteem
Dating apps can definitely give you a temporary self-esteem pick-me-up, because everyone on every dating app matches with you because they like your face (unless they’re one of the two people who actually read your bio). However, this may just give you a pseudo-boost of confidence, because you’re actually basing your self-worth on validation from other people.
Kayla Düngee, a junior at Georgia State University, says, “I personally quit dating apps because I used them as a quick fix when I was feeling low (breakups, self-image issues, etc). There are better ways to heal yourself rather than seek validation that you are beautiful and worthy through an app.”
While it might be nice to know that people other than your best friend like you, you’re ultimately just going to feel crappy when you swipe right on a cutie only to find out that it isn’t a match. Now, the app that made you feel momentarily great about yourself makes you feel like you’re less than, but in reality, you’re a catch and that person is just shallow.
Not to mention, some people actually berate their matches just because they didn’t message them back within the minute—you know exactly what I’m talking about. They send you some “witty” pickup line, you don’t respond ASAP because you’re being productive and then they say “that’s okay, you’re fat and ugly anyway.” Gee, I feel so stellar about myself now.
If you don’t believe us that dating apps can negatively impact your self-esteem, take it from the American Psychological Association‘s study on Tinder’s influence on self-esteem. Jessica Strübel, Ph.D., of the University of North Texas, explains, “Tinder users reported having lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and bodies and having lower levels of self-worth than the men and women who did not use Tinder.” There are plenty of healthy alternatives to using a dating app. Working on some self-love is a much more fruitful way to make you feel better about yourself, without giving you any forced boost of self-worth. Instead of swiping away your body image woes, get your girl squad together, put on some face masks and watch Netflix.
4. You’re in a relationship (whatever that relationship might be)
It should go without saying, but just uninstall your dating apps as soon as things start to get serious—whether serious happens before or after that dreaded DTR talk is up to you—between you and bae. Unless of course, you and your devoted other half are searching for a cat sitter on Bumble or a third person to join you in
the bedroom choosing a side in your lovers’ quarrels, then, by all means, use all of the dating apps known to Android.
However, if there’s no doubt that you and your SO are dating, you shouldn’t even think about installing a dating app on your phone. We get it, you’re obviously just using it to “look at eye candy,” but just stop yourself before you even start. Just be normal and watch porn to ogle at your eye candy.
If you and your boo haven’t had the official—but awkward—talk about what you are, but you still feel like you want to devote your time and energy to this person, then you should still uninstall you dating apps. No matter what you tell yourself if you’re talking to other people in a romantic way when you’re “in like” with someone else, then you’re probably feeling like you’re hiding something from them. Call it guilt or a selfish way to make yourself look slightly less terrible, but it will make you feel better to delete the apps altogether. After all, are you really going to miss getting those creepy Tinder messages every day?
5. You’re too busy
While every college girl boss is busy, some are just especially busy. Some of us need our friends to reserve a spot in our Google calendars just to have a five-minute chat about when we can hang out next. If you’re about to have an emotional breakdown because you need to reschedule your itinerary just to make room for a 15-minute coffee date, then don’t do it. You could just use your dating apps to find a FWB, but you still have to find time to fit them in your schedule. Don’t fret; a vibrator is a busy girl’s best friend. Hello, multitasking!
Unless of course, you find a stellar person who’s willing to
hook up while you’re editing your thesis watch Netflix while you comb through your hundreds of emails. If that’s the case, you better lock that ish down.
Otherwise, stop dreaming about unicorns and remove every dating app from your phone. If you know deep down inside that you don’t have time for a fling or a full-blown relationship, then don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can make time to go on a few quick dates.
6. You’d rather be single
In a society that seems obsessed with finding your other half, it might be difficult for anyone to fathom that there are people who just aren’t content with being single, but who live for being single. Regardless, we do exist.
Whether you just want to be single for the moment, the next ten years or the rest of your life, you shouldn’t download a dating app if you aren’t feeling it. After all, the whole point of a dating app is to talk to someone new and eventually meet them, so don’t put yourself through the stress of combing through prospective dates if you don’t want to date. Seriously, think of everything you could accomplish if you stop yourself from wasting time looking through prospective FWBs or soulmates on Tinder. After you uninstall all your dating apps, you can use the time that you would have wasted on judging peoples’ shameless selfies on Tinder by practicing some self-love.
After all, nobody is really alone, unless you live in a controlled environment and don’t talk to anyone at all, under any circumstances. Most of us have friends. Even if you don’t have a solid bestie that you spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) second with, you should at least be comfortable chilling with just yourself. Let’s face it, you’re the bee’s knees and you should love hanging with your single self, so sit down on your clichéd college futon and binge-watch your fave Netflix series (without fear of being “interrupted” by someone who wants to “chill”).