By now, you probably know what Tinder is. Dating apps have breathed new life into this thing called romance and “hooking up” on college campuses everywhere, and this definitely was not a thing five years ago. But despite the surge in popularity of these dating apps, there is also a lot of backlash, doubt, and challenges associated with this new technological and lifestyle trend. In fact, articles like this famous one from Vanity Fair probably helps reinforce the negative stigmas associated with dating apps.
Whether you are one of those who have regularly used a dating app, are hesitant about getting one, or merely scoff at the idea that a real, non-awkward relationship can be found by swiping “left” or “right” based on people’s pictures, here are some pros and cons of dating apps, and perhaps it will help you make your final conclusions about where you fit into this culture of modern matchmaking.
1. The variety of people you will “meet.”
Ever wished you could approach that cute looking guy/gal but never had the guts to or the situation just wouldn’t have been appropriate? With an app like Tinder, you are literally making a choice depending on the pictures and personal bios other people have put up, so you have all the opportunity to swipe “right” (which means you like the person) or swipe “left” (which means nah I’ll pass) without any butterflies forming in your stomach. If you’ve “matched” with someone you swiped right on, you have the option of starting a conversation with them through the app.
2. The ability to choose how to present yourself.
Like other forms of social media, dating apps give you the option to show off the best pictures you have of yourself and also unleash your witty online presence, attraction to dank memes, or to channel your inner artistic side. It’s true that Tinder has the stigma of being a “hookup” app, but in reality these apps are what you make of them as well. If you are looking for a serious relationship or even just someone to hang with for a day, Tinder can also be a place for this.
3. If you’re using a dating app in college, chances are other college-age students are using one as well.
In big cities like Boston or New York, you can be reassured that many of the people who are on dating apps are probably not creepy suburban dads (to reinforce that stereotype, if I may). And college being such a big place and all, many people on dating apps are probably just trying to make their world a bit smaller.
Basically all the reasons I listed for “Pros” can be viewed as “Cons” as well. Here are the ones that have probably crossed your mind when you think about dating apps.
1. There are so many fish in this dating app sea that with every amazing profile you pass through, you are on the lookout for something better.
Or, you become quick to judge a person based on their profile in a way that would never happen if you met that person IRL.
I see people swiping at terrifying speeds through Tinder profiles in the dining halls at my school while eating their pizza with the other hand, so developing a jaded or nonchalant attitude about dating apps is probably going to happen to you at some point.
However, do remember that the way you use a dating app also reflects through the people you match with. If you put on an attitude of “looking for the next attractive stranger” and swiping fast and furious, chances are that your experiences meeting interesting and wonderful people will be limited as well. Dating apps are what you make of them, and this is most true especially in a day and age where sometimes you sift quickly through Instagram as compared to taking time to read the captions and closely examining the things that people post. Attitude matters, whether it’s externalized or internalized for yourself.
2. You are talking to strangers that you have never met in person before and can only judge them based on their profile and the way they interact with you through chat.
Also, these strangers don’t actually know what you are like in person either– perhaps you are funnier in person or your humor only comes out through chat. What will happen if you meet up with someone and are scared they don’t find you as attractive or amazing as you seemed to be on the app? Or vice versa?
These points are all valid. But to be fair, if you end up meeting with someone who is not what you expected or is disappointed and not as excited at realizing what type of person you are like, then this is probably not a match made in heaven. And there should never be pressure for a “second date”. You can politely decline and never have to see that person again. That’s the beauty of apps like Tinder.
3. There are a lot of college students on dating apps, but there must be a reason why they are on it instead of out interacting with real people.
This is a concern I hear voiced by peers frequently, but there are many reasons someone can get a dating app. You should first ask yourself, why would you get a dating app? (Or if you have one, why did you get it?). Your responses will probably match up to many others who have a dating app profile as well.