Why My Year On Tinder Was A Learning Experience

image - Flickr / Leo Hidalgo
image – Flickr / Leo Hidalgo

When I first found myself testing out the waters on the so-called “dating” app Tinder, I was definitely intrigued. The girl who had obnoxious bright red hair, piercings and a lack of social skills in the area of all things “boy” was finally diving into the world of dating and casual hookups. For any girl or guy, Tinder is a sea full of possibilities. For one, there are limitless amounts of attractive people that are willing to spark up a conversation with you. For a moment someone thinks you are attractive enough to take two seconds of his or her time to swipe right. However, it is extremely easy to forget that it is just simply that. You are simply either swiping left or right based on someone’s appearance, just as someone is doing to you. That “in-depth conversation” you’re having with someone is only happening because you most likely both pictured each other hooking up.

But just like many others before and after me, I gave in. Even with this preconceived notion of Tinder solely being a hookup app I ended up on my first date. From late October of last year and onwards, I found myself going on a vast amount of these “dates”. To my friends, I was the serial Tinder dater. I was the one either constantly talking to a new guy or experiencing some heartbreaking aftermath. Because apparently to my surprise at the time, the majority of people on Tinder didn’t want anything more then getting in your pants. Chivalry is a lost cause in this app.

Yet, I still continued going on dates because I learned the game. I mean, that’s all it is, right?   So date after date, I found myself just going out with guys to pass the time. It was fun, it was new and I enjoyed it. Meeting new people is exciting and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, some of them were the funniest experiences of my life. Yes of course, the first two dates I went on that didn’t escalate to anything other than a day or two later of minimal texting became extremely disheartening. But as your experience on the app progresses, you begin to learn the rules of serial dating. The one that seems to come up more and more is my number one rule for myself which is probably the most important: do not fall for anyone off of Tinder.   This was my one rule for myself, and of course I failed… shocker.

Problems only arise when you emotionally attach into these people and that became my issue with Tinder overall. You can go out with people, you can sleep with people, and you can mess around with people, just do not fall for people off of Tinder. You can have a weeks worth of endless conversations, exchange numbers and talk 24/7 and actually develop a relationship… via text. But the sad reality is, you and that person both downloaded the app for a certain reason. You either downloaded the app to fuck around, to see what the hype was all about or to actually find a hookup, so kudos to you if you found what you were looking for. But if you went on Tinder knowing the underlying tone of what it was really for and set out to find your “true love”, then you made your experience on Tinder a ticking time bomb. No one goes on the app to find love or to find a boy friend or girl friend. Tinder ain’t that kind of party.

But of course we remain on the app. In some weird satisfying way our self-confidence and self worth skyrockets when we realize the person we swiped right liked our profile back. Your self worth and value is determined by if someone essentially thinks your either hot or not, which is actually horrible if you think about it. Everything is all fun and games until you see yourself getting way too emotionally invested into it. We are letting an app determine our overall sense of self worth because that’s pretty much one of it’s goals. It can make you feel like you’re on cloud nine while also making you feel like complete crap. So it’s a win-lose situation.

But here is where I will play the Devils advocate for the app. I went on a date, regular to all my other ones. I met a guy who (at the time) was actually really great. So one date turned into regularly seeing each other and to some extent, being pretty couple-ish. But I knew I had broken my own rule. I put this rule in place for myself because I know exactly how I am. I am an extremely caring person, however I am also very naïve. And so because of this, I’m constantly caring too much and always planning my escape – my two vices. So, not only did I know that developing a relationship with someone on Tinder would affect me, it would also affect that person because I constantly have my foot out of the door. Tinder forces you to do that. It’s hard deciphering who is genuine from who is a coward when your friendship or relationship simply began over a dating app.

Now don’t get me wrong, Tinder has some success stories. My best friend met her boy friend on Tinder at the end of last December and has been dating him for almost a year. That to me is absolutely insane. So yes, shout out to the 1% of people that actually find a decent person because so many others and I envy you. I’m not going to lie, I met some pretty cool people who I definitely could have seen myself with. But there are factors and these factors don’t always work in our favour. It’s all fun and games until it dawns on you that you’re seeing someone off of a dating app. I mean, that doesn’t disvalue anything that happened in the time span I was seeing certain people, but I found myself struggling with that concept. For some time I actually believed that dating was only possible on Tinder because dating in today’s age is nothing like it once used to be. Why ask someone out in person or get to know someone face-to-face when you can do it at the convenience of your smartphone?

This piece started off as a response to an article I read titled I Was Wrong About Tinder. So, So Wrong. When reading it, I found myself relating to it a lot because I was so, so wrong about it too, but in a completely different way. While the author found her sense of self worth and value within the app, I found myself stripped of mine only until after I deleted it for good.

When I was sat in my room this November, swiping aimlessly through people I’d either matched with before on my numerous times of deleting and re-downloading it, I asked myself something. What am I doing? I am the worst person to be on this app. I will not dumb my feelings and own character down because I actually give a shit about people who literally know the bare minimum about me. And even the ones that I do develop relationships with, why? I don’t care what this new technological age has to say about it, Tinder is not the place to develop a relationship with someone. And if you believe that it is, then I actually feel sorry for you because you also believe your self-value is determined by it as well.

Sure, you meet a ton of hot and interesting people, but what about actually getting out and learning about someone face-to-face and not just from their profile? What are you going to do? Be on Tinder till your 40 after your numerous failed Tinder relationships cause you to think you’re completely worthless of love? No, and I for one refuse to believe that just because I didn’t match with someone or because someone didn’t text me back that I am not ‘worthy’. You’ll learn fast that it’s actually not impossible to meet people off of Tinder and that you actually do attract people in real life. It is such a good feeling to know that someone digs you for you and not what you’re posting on a profile. Your worth should be something that you find deep within yourself, not deep within a dating app.

Yeah, Tinder makes you feel great about yourself, but that feeling only lasts for so long. So how about we put down our phones, get out of our little insecure and self-absorbed bubbles and MEET people outside of our smartphones. Get to know a person’s personality and looks face-to-face – in person – one on one. Three’s a crowd, so delete Tinder. You’ll thank me later. TC mark

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