Considering media practically runs our lives, it’s no surprise to me that people look to the nearest dating app to easily find their next relationship or hookup. I personally have never used Tinder, so this is coming from a biased point of view, but I also have seen the effects of using the dating app firsthand through some of my friends throughout college.
My first problem with my generation is that we do everything on the internet or through our phones. I’m not going to say that I’m some saint who is never on her phone or the internet (hello, I’m writing about this topic on my blog right now), but I also use caution with my electronics. Unless I’m waiting for some important phone call or email, I really try to stay off my phone when I’m hanging out with my friends or family. Ever been in the middle of a sentence when somebody starts cracking up over something on their phone, and you realize they haven’t been listening to your story for the last 8 minutes? Yeah, not cool, everybody.
Really though, I find it a huge bummer that the sanctity of relationships has become so distorted that I can’t even remember the last time I was asked on a date in person, by somebody less than ten years older than me, in my college town. It’s been at least a year. I’ve actually met men in person who only ask me to dinner after they find me on Facebook. Even though they had just been talking to me in person 2 hours ago.
Not even shitting you, I’ve been broken up with over text message before. Please, for the love of God, stop the madness.
As much as it seems like I’m totally against dating websites, I’m really not. If online dating is your thing, please understand that I’m not ridiculing you, and I know there are people who have met incredibly wonderful SOs online. I just believe that moderation is key.
My real problem with Tinder and dating apps is that people let them ruin their social skills, their relationships, and will even lower their standards as a result of online dating.
Again, I have never used Tinder, so my initial opinion of the app when it first became a big thing was essentially that it was for the low self-esteemed and desperate. I’m not necessarily proud of that, because I try really hard not to be judgmental. I also have friends with Tinder profiles that are definitely not desperate or low self-esteemed. It’s just that the idea of hanging out with my friends, swiping through profiles, occasionally dodging a dick pic, and completely disregarding guys I’m not necessarily attracted to seems so, so harsh. For somebody who really places an emphasis on personality, a dating app based solely off looks was on a way different level than I was.
Maybe the real problem is actually me, and I’m just not down to conform with my fellow Millennials’ ways of life. It’s not like our parents were flipping through their iPhones swiping right or left or whatever*. They found love somehow without all of this online bullshit (my parents are high school sweethearts, happily married 25 years…). As a little girl, TV shows and movies and books and magazines told me that love would happen so romantically. I’m not a very romantic person, but I also would like to be taken out on an actual date once in a while.
*6 year old me believing love experiences would be as awesome as Lizzie McGuire’s really let me down*.
I’m fairly certain that dating apps have turned me into a hopeless romantic. The term has now evolved so much that even going to dinner with respectful, 20-something man is too much to ask for.
Dating apps and online dating has, unsurprisingly, allowed Millennials the freedom to conduct all of their relationship and social business over the internet. I swear, I don’t think most guys my age would even know what to do if they wanted to ask me out in person. Would they bravely walk up to me and ask for my number? Unlikely. But that’s probably why I only get asked out by guys who were already preteens by the time I was born.
Even sadder than my nonexistent love life is hearing instances of people still scrolling through Tinder when they’re already in relationships. Aside from the frustrating hook-up culture we live in that makes it completely abnormal to actually define relationships, Tinder has marketed itself as a “social” app, meaning that people apparently find no problem in swiping through every once in a while to see how many matches they have. Earlier, my friend told me her friends use Tinder to find matches just to make sure that they still can. People want to know that they’re able to appeal to others, even though they’re in relationships. However, in doing this, they’re reinforcing their low self-esteem (ex: “I’m not attractive/desirable/wanted if people do not ‘swipe right’ on my profile”) and hurting people that care about them. Maybe some people are okay with their SOs scrolling through Tinder every once in a while, but I know that I would be incredibly hurt by this. In raising your self-esteem, you may be lowering someone else’s.
Going back to what I was saying earlier about our hook-up culture and “defining relationships”, I cannot stress enough that I do not find it a bad thing. I am completely all about sex positivity. The problem is that it has overshadowed people looking for actual relationships. It seems as if every guy I talk to is only looking for casual hookups or low-involvement. Again, that’s fine if that’s what they’re looking for, but for young people that want to remain monogamous, it’s a huge letdown. I’ve gone on a couple of dates where the whole time I was thinking, “Is this a date? Is this not a date? What is happening right now?” If you ask somebody out, make your intentions clear from the beginning so that nobody ends up hurt at the end of the night. If you want a hookup, that’s fine. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, great. But find your target market and pursue only your target market** . Then, ask them out in a respectful manner.
I guess, in the end, what I’m really trying to say is that dating apps and online dating should not to be used as a primary option for people my age. I go to college in one of the most single cities in the U.S. for young people (seriously, Reno is ranked 8th), and I rarely get asked on a date in person. We have transformed ourselves into a society that would rather get to know somebody over social media than in person. The love of your life could be standing right in front of you, but you would never know, because you’re swiping through Tinder looking for them.
I know that not all people follow these ideals, that there are good guys out there that share the same beliefs that I do, and that I will eventually find someone that gives me the same love and affection that I will give him. But that’s not at all what concerns me. I’m worried about my friends getting stuck in shitty relationships distorted by false images portrayed by online profiles. I feel sad for my smart, beautiful, talented friends that stress out about “defining the relationship” with a person that really isn’t looking for one.
People say that new is better than old, but does that really apply to dating methods? I’m not looking for some Nicholas Spark’s-novel-kind of relationship, but I also don’t want to be dragged into these fucked-up mind games where neither party knows what the hell is going on. And I don’t want to be considered a “prude” or as “high maintenance” for following these beliefs. Dating should be enjoyable and uncomplicated, but it never is.
I’m optimistic that my kind of person is out there, and truthfully I’m not worried about finding him any time soon. It’s just that so far, dating in my early 20s has left me rather unimpressed.
Any thoughts about Tinder and online dating?
*Not even kidding, I had to Google how Tinder works…
**This was the marketing major in me showing her true colors.
*Song of the Day: Ooo–Karen O, because she gets it*