**NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR PRIVACY.**
Dating as a millennial is confusing as hell. Just ten years ago, dating apps like Tinder didn’t exist and you’d have to actually go outside and interact with people to find your significant other.
In 2016, all you have to do is swipe left or right.
The dating culture is going through an awkward stage right now. Half of us are trying to find our soulmates while the other half of us are embracing the hook-up culture that seems to be a trend among young people at the moment.
Today, many college-aged people feel like they need to validate their relationship by making it “Facebook official” or posting pictures together on Instagram. The private details of a relationship are now being displayed for everyone who has an Internet connection to see. Tinder might be making dating more public and social media may be the cause, but is that a good or a bad thing?
College Times talking to some Tinder users to find out how they use the app and if it’s changing their outlook on the whole dating scene.
For busy college students like Travis, Tinder has become one of his only sources of dating. While it’s nice that the app has allowed him to choose who to talk to and who to ignore, it has also made him more cynical towards a real relationship.
“My outlook on dating has definitely soured as a result of Tinder. I’m much more pessimistic about the prospects of a relationship being successful due to the high amount of times that it hasn’t. I can effectively arrange my dating environment because I don’t actively date outside of Tinder,” he says.
There’s also a sense of entertainment when using the app.
“Some of the profiles are hilarious, plus there’s the opportunity to preach to someone about Donald Trump. I’m not voting for him, but I am on my Tinder profile. It’s hilarious,” Travis says.
Creating a new persona on the app might be fun but it comes with a cost.
“The worst is when you have someone who is super different in person than they are on Tinder. This doesn’t have to apply to just appearances either. I’ve seen girls with completely different personalities than I imagined from our Tinder conversation,” he says.
As a result, Travis has opted for more casual dating and less serious relationships.
“I’ll meet you for coffee so we can meet each other in a public space, but later we are gonna bang. I’m the worst. I’ve actually kind of ‘settled down’ with someone I met on Tinder. She comes over like once a week for dinner,” he says.
According to Travis, Tinder isn’t necessarily making dating more public, but it is making it more apparent that dating is a social game.
This new model of dating is helping people find what they are looking for faster, whether that’s a life partner or a Friday night hook-up.
“It’s just gotten more obvious that dating has always been, and always will be a market discovery process. Dating culture is just going to be getting more and more honest,” he says.
Another college student, Ally, actually used Tinder for dating from the beginning, but she had a completely different experience that would have never been possible without the app.
“My best experience was a relationship that started with someone I met on the app. He was my first love, and it didn’t work out because it was long distance. He was in Arizona training to be a pilot and once he went back to England things were difficult so it did not last. I really wish we were still together, but he is seeing someone else now. I do regret breaking up with him,” she says.
Ally says she started using Tinder for fun, but when she got a relationship out of it, her outlook of the app completely changed. She and her boyfriend at the time lived in two completely different places, so in a way they would have never met without the help of Tinder.
“There are many people on there who do not want a relationship, but I’m not even sure I wanted one when I first used it, and I got one out of it. I like it because it just connects you with all kinds of people and even if you do not actually meet them, it is honestly nice to just talk to people sometimes,” she says.
After a breakup from a long-term relationship, Molly says she turned to Tinder as a fun way to take her mind off of the relationship. She’s currently dating a guy she met on the app, but matching with someone on Tinder wasn’t always successful.
She’s received weird messages from people late at night. One Tinder match told her he was just visiting the state and wanted to hang out with someone while passing through. Another guy was really nice but she says at the end of the night there just wasn’t a connection.
“I wasn’t feeling it, so I gave him a high-five and of course he ghosted me,” Molly says.
Molly doesn’t think it’s a bad thing that dating is becoming more public. In fact, she likes seeing that her friends are doing well.
“Social media in general has made dating more public. You always see people posting pictures together and such. I mean, I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. It’s kind of nice to see how your friends are doing and if they’re happy and with someone,” she says.
She also learned that people online are a lot more honest about what they are looking for on Tinder. Molly had one match that told her from the beginning that he was polyamorous, and she sent a screenshot of the conversation to a friend.
“The guy had a very particular lifestyle and it was weird. I mean, not judging, but it was interesting,” she says.
The Tinder experience also helped Molly break out of her shell and she thinks it could help change the norm of dating going forward.
“I think girls are now more likely to ask guys out, message them, and be OK with hook-ups over long term relationships. It was fun going on these dates; even if I didn’t want to, I forced myself just to get the experience.”
Natalie uses the dating app, but she’s never wanted to meet people outside of the messaging inbox of Tinder.
“I most definitely use Tinder as a source of entertainment. I really never have a desire to meet people off of the app, but seeing what guys use as pick-up lines is always a classic. And seeing if you can find people you know always makes it more enjoyable too,” Natalie says.
For Natalie, Tinder is a fun app that she doesn’t mind sharing with others. She sometimes lets her friends choose her matches for her.
“Most of the time I like to share what people have as their bios with my friends so we can laugh together. Certain ones I will show profiles to and let them pick, other friends do not even know I use Tinder,” she says.
Our generation seems to crave attention on social media platforms, and Tinder is no exception.
“I really think girls tend to go to Tinder because they hear what they want to hear. Boys will give them the attention that they want, which may not be a bad thing all the time, but then they rely on it,” Natalie says.
There may be a lot of negative things about Tinder, but you can also have many unique experiences.
“I know a lot of girls love Tinder during Spring Training time just because there are so many baseball players on it,” she jokes.
Daniel uses Tinder in the hopes of finding the man of his dreams, but he also loves how the dating scene has become a game. He regularly shares Tinder conversations with his friends.
“I do it to mock how absurd the process of finding someone online truly is. Tinder is a game. The more social you make it, the more fun it is for everyone, myself included,” Daniel says.
He does mention, however, that using Tinder works really well for his schedule.
“It allows me to sit at my desk, send some emails, do some paperwork, and maybe find a date for Friday night,” he says.
Meeting new people through Tinder has really changed his perspective on dating. Going on a date is more of a casual event and less of an anticipated one. For Daniel, Tinder has removed the difficult process of meeting people.
“It’s made dating more of an expectation. You don’t have a date? You haven’t been on a date in four months? That’s your own fault. You have 100 men at your fingertips,” he says.
At the end of the day, there’s no way to answer whether or not dating apps are doing any good. It’s clear to see that they are turning the dating world into a social platform in itself, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Maybe this kind of dating is just too new to decipher.
“I would feel silly blaming Tinder for our need for attention. But then again, when I’m single and feeling neglected, it’s the first app I open up,” Daniel says.