March 15th 2019
In the age of social media and dating sites, romance has become more inauthentic and fickle than ever before. I decided that today I wanted to take a bit of time to open up about how I feel the internet has killed dating.
When I was 19, I joined my first dating app. I had just ended a long term relationship and I was trying to rebuild my confidence by creating a profile and seeing if I could get some matches. I joined Tinder because it was one of the only dating apps I knew at the time that my friends were using.
On the first day I made the profile, I already got tons of matches. The highest amount of matches I had on my profile at one time without deleting was over 500. Soon, I became fixated more on getting as many attractive matches as I could than I was on whether or not any of the people I met were nice or even remotely interested in me.
I went on a few dates, nothing crazy or special. I would see a given guy for a couple of weeks before one of us would get bored or someone would ghost (either intentionally or by accident). It wasn’t until recently that I realized how shallow dating apps can really be.
Right now, I have 2 apps on my phone (and I am not ashamed of it because I feel like most people do at this point). I use Hinge and Tinder. Both apps are very similar yet different at the same time. Both operate under the “you must match to message” principle which I enjoy because it helps avoid spam. However, Hinge allows you to see who likes you where Tinder doesn’t tell you unless you match or someone “super likes” you.
Plus, Hinge is a little more personal than Tinder because instead of swiping left or right based primarily on pictures, Hinge encourages you to create a whole profile where people can like you for pictures OR answers to prompts. Which at least helps with conversation starters.
However, this post isn’t to review Hinge and Tinder, it is to talk about how I feel dating apps have sort of hurt romance as a whole. The first point I would like to bring up is the “Paradox of Choice”.
I actually learned about the Paradox of Choice when I was studying marketing in college. It often relates to products and competing products. When a person is confronted with too many options, they often freeze and choose at random or they avoid a decision all together out of the pressure that whatever they choose may not be the best fit. I feel like this really applies to dating sites, especially ones where you have limited likes.
I often find myself being superficially choosy on dating sites because I am afraid of “wasting” a like on someone if I could find someone better. I also often tend like more haphazardly when I am bored or lonely, and I often bypass any efforts of seeing if the person may be good for me. I have so much choice that I often miss out on people due to an unwillingness to choose, or I just choose randomly without exploring my options.
And the key thing to remember here is that I am doing this with HUMAN BEINGS. These are people, not products, yet I am treating them like they are the same thing as choosing a jar of pasta sauce or something. And my guy friends say similar things. They say they like to “rogue swipe” and see what they can get.
Imagine talking to someone and finding out that they matched you because they were just randomly swiping right and it wasn’t because they had any genuine interest in you! This is just a small part of what bugs me about online dating.
Another huge thing that bothers me is that, since everything is behind a phone screen, people tend to be less impeccable with their word. It is so much easier to completely go ghost on a person you’ve never met in person, even if you’ve been talking nonstop for weeks. I know this happens in real life too, but it is definitely less common when you’ve met someone organically and you have some skin in the game.
The last thing that really bugs me about online dating and how I feel it has killed romance is that I feel like hookup culture has overtaken the search for anything meaningful. A person could say they are looking to settle down with someone, but talking to them online, you might find that they are trying to get you to come over right out of the gate which makes the whole “looking to settle down” thing seem a little less genuine.
Now, I am not saying that if someone explicitly says they are only down for hookups that that is wrong. I am saying that people who present themselves as someone looking for a serious connection then talk to you as though they have no interest in anything meaningful are a huge waste of time and energy and they really make in nearly impossible to figure out who is actually genuine in their intentions.
Overall, I am not here to demonize online dating, especially because I myself have gotten into a relationship with someone I met on a site. However, I really just wanted to share my thoughts in how dating apps have really turned dating into a less intimate and more stressful experience than in the days of meeting people organically.
However, I was always taught in school to offer a counter argument at the ends of my papers so here it is…online dating is great because it helps connect you with unique people you would have otherwise never met and/or might have been too shy to meet in person.
What are your thoughts about online dating culture?