What I Discovered from Dating Apps
What I Discovered from Dating Apps
I have been thinking about doing this experiment for quite some time but hadn’t found myself single and curious enough to follow through. Until now. All of the information that backed my reasons for not liking dating apps was previously based on what I heard from the people around me and not from my own experience. Before I downloaded the apps, I gathered as much information as I could from friends that I knew use or have used them. First, I had to figure out which ones are out there and what the purpose of each is. I was very surprised to find out the amount of dating apps that exist and the fact that most of them have an “unspoken” purpose. Some are for hook-ups and some advertise that they’ll help you find love. I even stumbled upon one that claims they can set you up with busy and professional young adults…whatever that means. I was a little nervous to go through with this since this was my first time ever using dating apps (I won’t count the time my friends and I downloaded Tinder and somehow turned it into a drinking game on a snowy day). I really had to convince myself to just do it and see what the dating app world is all about. Thankfully my curiosity got the best of me. I prepared a guide of everything I learned from the experience that might one day help someone decide if it’s the right move for them or not. Warning: This blog might be a tiny bit biased because I went into the experience being against it and left the same way. I will do my best to explore all aspects of dating apps fairly.
First things first: I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, so I started by picking three apps to download. I decided to pick three very different ones, the first one being the one that is meant for hook-ups, the second one was the one in which girls have to make the first move and the last one was the one that from my research seemed to be the one where people actually try to get to know each other with the goal of developing an actual relationship. Before I joined each dating app I came up with a set of rules to follow just to make sure everything went smoothly and I didn’t get distracted. The rules were:
I will not meet anyone from any of the apps in person. I felt like this had to be a rule since I wasn’t actually looking to date/hook up with anyone.
If anyone that I know reaches out and mentions that they saw me on any of the apps, I will either ignore them or just pretend I joined for fun. This one was difficult because the second the first two people reached out to me I felt compelled to immediately tell them “I’m doing an experiment for a blog.” I didn’t like that I cared so much about what they thought so I just ignored anyone that brought up anything related to it after that.
I will not tell anyone that I “matched” with that I am just gathering information. I will just enjoy the conversation. This one was tricky because people actually asked what I was looking for and I really don’t enjoy lying so my response was “I am doing a trial run on dating apps for 7 days just to see what they are about” and did not mention the blog, which kind of felt like a lie but one I can live with.
I will not put any personal information up other than my first name, pictures and anything that doesn’t give away my location or anything like that. One of the reasons I don’t approve of dating apps is because you never know who you are talking to on the other side. Old school I know but safe.
Off I went into the dating app world!
I allowed myself some time to navigate through each app to figure out how they worked. I started off being really careful about my picks. I was looking through each person’s pictures and reading their profiles. Pretty much anyone that made me burst out laughing with what they had written on their bio or the questions they picked to answer made the cut. Within a couple of hours of having joined, I deleted my account on the app that was “for hook-ups.” Nothing specific happened to make me do so it was just a different vibe than the other apps and I just didn’t feel comfortable on it even under the circumstances. After a full day, I got a little bit more comfortable with the whole thing even though 4 days into it, I got rid of the app in which only the girls are allowed to make the first move. It was fun swiping and matching but the fact that I had to be the one to message first made it a bit weird for me. At first, I was coming up with what I believe were awesome opening sentences but after two days or so it got boring for me, all I could come up with was “Hey.” Having to make the first move every single time also made it seem as if I was REALLY looking for something more and that’s not what I wanted this to be about. On day 5, I took a one-day break from the dating app world to meet with someone I had actually met in person a couple of weeks before and had been sporadically texting. This only helped strengthen my distaste for dating apps. Anyway, here’s what I learned throughout all 7 days:
“Welcome to a More Thoughtful Way to Date”
This was one of the greetings I was welcomed with in one of the dating apps. I actually scoffed at this as I wondered “WHAT IS MORE THOUGHTFUL THAN ACTUALLY MEETING PEOPLE?” Is there really anything more thoughtful than taking the time out to go up to a person, ask them out (even if through text after you have already met in person) without the quick escape of simply swiping them away if you find there is something you don’t like about them?
Dating apps are the LEAST thoughtful way to date. During the entire process I couldn’t help but feel ashamed at how shallow I quickly became after a few minutes of swiping. My eyes were getting tired of reading repetitive bios. “I don’t like his hair” swipe left. “Creepy smile” swipe left. “Looks shorter than me” swipe left; as if I would ever be so dismissive to a person that is courageous enough to come up to me and spark up a conversation. I, of course, couldn’t help but dig deeper and consider what this does to real dating. It made me think about how dismissive people are today when it comes to accepting another person and what they deem as their flaws. How people no longer stay, call it “not settling” and go off to find the “perfect partner” only to discover that the person they one day will consider their perfect match is the person whose flaws they accept and vice versa.
The Big No-No’s
Scrolling through all the different apps I noticed how unoriginal everyone can seem. I am sure everyone loves traveling, everyone enjoys good food, everyone appreciates a humorous person and who the hell doesn’t love dogs? But are these really the only things that make people stand-out? The things that make people who they are? More importantly, are these the things that people want to base their initial connection with others off of? Realistically, just because a person likes to travel doesn’t mean that’s what they actually do, I would’ve enjoyed my time in the online dating world more if I had seen some radical shit. There are SO MANY things that make people stand out. I like knowing people beyond surface level. No one’s time is guaranteed, we should skip the formalities.
I quickly became aware of the laziness of some of the people in these apps. If you take the time out of your life to download a dating app and then register for it (picking pictures, confirming your e-mail etc.) taking another 2 minutes to add a quick description to your bio should not be too difficult. A bio that is made up of a couple emoji represents laziness or the fact that the person believes they should be liked based on their looks? Either way, it is not a positive thing. This is the kind of laziness that gets translated into real dating when you actually start seeing this person and realize that dating someone is a lot more than the minimal effort of picking up your phone and answering a message.
Snapchat/Instagram Story Filters
Just use a real picture, will ya?
Finding Familiar Faces
If you stumble upon a person you know outside of the dating app world: SWIPE LEFT and let them move on with their life. They are most likely there attempting to find a change and they’re probably already juggling conversations with a bunch of people to have to deal with the awkwardness of that. If you REALLY want to talk to them, slide into their DMs like anyone else would.
There’s a 100% chance that you will come face to face with the decision of swiping left or right on one of your exes, or two. I wish I could say this in more than one language: SWIPE THE F*CK LEFT. It’s not funny, cute or romantic to swipe right. Plus, you will be disappointed when you find out that they never matched you. Also, don’t judge them for being on the dating app, you wouldn’t know they were on there if you weren’t too.
Zero Real Pictures
Puppies are cute. Grandmas are very cute. Cats are alright and memes are meant to be on Instagram. Having only these kinds of pictures on your profile and absolutely zero of yourself is a big red scary flag.
Asking People Out
This one got a bit tricky. I noticed that a lot of guys would message with a “Hi, how are you?” and the next question would be “Would you like to meet for a drink?” I would be so surprised if I found out that this has worked on anyone that is not looking for anything more than a hook-up. Then I noticed, that if my answer was “No, thank you” most times, the person would then try to continue the conversation and learn more about me. Was that a trick to weed out the people that weren’t serious? I don’t know. All I know is that after this happening a couple of times, I would just end the conversation without saying anything because it simply became annoying.
Some bios I came acros
“What do you do? Where are you from? Where do you live?” After a while I considered just making up different things but even that didn’t seem exciting. Quite honestly, the only question that I was happy to answer during all seven days came from the person who asked me “Do you have any allergies?” Yes, I do. Let’s talk about that!
None… Just kidding. It was hard to admit but I do believe there are some positives to online dating. See them below:
Taking the Edge Off
Some people are good at dating and meeting new people. They feel comfortable going up to anyone and starting a conversation. Other people, not so much. For these people, dating apps can be a positive thing. They could serve as a way for them to “practice” talking to others and have the conversations they normally would have with another person face to face so that when the time comes to go up to someone, they can feel comforted knowing that this is not as nerve wrecking as they believe.
During my time using the dating apps, I felt more confident simply saying “No” or ignoring an unwanted request which is something that I am usually a bit skeptical to do. I felt empowered knowing that I didn’t owe anyone I was talking to anything so I could say no to any request if I wanted to. It’s not that I feel as if I owe people stuff in real life, I just always have a hard time saying no because I try not to hurt people’s feelings. Being able to say it to people on the apps helped me feel confident enough to believe a little more in that saying no does not hurt anyone.
The apps also made it easier to answer questions very honestly without a second thought. You know that moment when someone asks you a question that you think over in your head before answering? That feeling was pretty much non-existent while I used the apps.
Meeting Fun People
I actually got to talk to some really cool people. My opinion may be biased because these people that I labeled as “cool” were the ones that upon matching with me, actually took the time to have a conversation and didn’t ask me out within one second of matching. I really appreciated that there was no rush, just fun conversations. This did give me hope to believe that not everyone on a dating app is trying to find someone to hook-up with and that there are people that genuinely want to find the right person. Maybe they haven’t had luck in the real world?
Although I am not a fan of how easy it is to dismiss people on dating apps, the positive aspect of this is that if you have a clear purpose, you are looking for a meaningful relationship or just for a hook-up. You can be completely honest about this (or actions will reveal it for you) and then you can choose to only talk to people with the same purpose as you. Of course, there will be people with confused purposes, but that happens in real life too!
Will I ever seriously use a dating app? No. I discovered that my seven days using them almost every day felt more like a routine I was dreading rather than an enjoyable activity. I love talking to people but more than just talking what I really enjoy about a conversation is the connection that takes place between the people that are having it. This aspect is completely missing when you are trying to juggle a conversation with multiple people and when you aren’t facing the person you are talking to. Like one of my lovely best friends recently said: “I rather meet people organically.”
If you are set on finding your soulmate on a dating app, I recommend slowing down the process and trying your best to really focus on the least amount of people at once. After all, it is everyone’s own decision to make and we should always do what makes us happy.
Happy dating and Until the Next Late Night,