Swiping left or right, having the ideal profile pic, trying to pick between your options – here are 7 good and bad things about Tinder and dating online.
It seems like more and more people are finding love online. Traditionally, boy meets girl would take place at a mutual friend’s party, at the bar, at a church event, or with people who’ve been friends for a time. If you were daring enough, you might hit up one of those singles’ parties or give blind dating a shot. The classifieds section in the newspaper have also been filled with Lonely Hearts lining up their details to try to find that special someone out there in the wide wide world.
Enter the internet. Our brave and noble friend that has changed so much of the way we live. Enter sites like eHarmony and Match. Enter online dating sites for specific interest groups like Russian Wife Finder and Christian Mingle. And with the prevalence of smartphones, enter dating apps like our good ol friend Tinder. Swipe left when you’re not interested, swipe right when you like what you see.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I have plenty of friends and work colleagues who found love online and ended up happy ever after-ing, or are on their way there. These services do get results. But for every person who succeeds, it seems there are also a whole bunch of horror stories out there involving putting up someone else’s photo as your profile pic, lying about your interests, or constantly being badgered for naked pics by someone who turned out to be 30 years older than you.
So there’s a lot of good and a lot of bad out there. Here are 7 good and bad things about Tinder and online dating. And I was going to flat out categorize each of these under good or bad, but in truth there may be good and bad in all of them.
#1: It avoids wasted time
There can be so many things that may feel like they eat into the time you could be spending with another person. That whole starting out phase can take ages – will we or won’t we, does he actually want a relationship right now, is she actually interested in pursuing something further, do we have enough in common to start somewhere… on and on it goes. Many people stay in this region in their relationships for a long time. Sometimes you never even leave this point.
Something I think is definitely good about online options, and I think most people who use them with success would agree, is that they take a lot of this awkward starting out time and gives what can sometimes be a stronger starting point. Everyone knows what they’ve signed up for, so let’s get straight to it.
Not much bad on this category I think – that’s a good one.
#2: It can reduce people to their profile
Our society loves our options. Try ordering a “coffee” next time you visit Starbucks and watch the barista struggle to inform you of all the ways you need to configure your beverage. Milky or dark, tall or really tall (Venti is it? I can never remember the biggest one), your additional flavours and toppings.
That’s also how our online dating approach may be. He has too much facial hair, her chest is too flat, they aren’t smiling in their profile pic, they were too honest about what they want out of life, they weren’t honest enough… We make sure we go checking through our list.
And we accept or reject people based on a very surface summary of who they are. Perhaps that does help us get around the problem of wasted time, but perhaps it introduces new complexity because you’re not getting a fuller picture before the topic and pressure of romance is introduced.
Good or bad – up to you.
#3: It gives people a chance to see you “that way”
I want it thaaaaaaaaaaat way
You’re on an online dating site and have set up your profile to let the romance begin. You’ve installed the Tinder app and opted in for what that means. So has everyone else using the service.
It means people looking at your details aren’t just looking to do some business networking or to make some new chums and chumettes. They’re out for love. They are chasing the romantic experience.
Also, good luck getting that song out of your head for the rest of the day.
Also, you’re welcome.
#4: Your first impression will be pretty perfect
We all know the power of a first impression. I mean, you wouldn’t have even clicked through to this article unless it gave you the sense there was something in it you want to read.
That’s what online profiles are like. It’s the best of who we are. We don’t upload how many divorces we’ve had or how many people we’ve broken up with or how we aren’t able to maintain relationship with our family or friends. We put up our most handsome or beautiful profile, we make sure we’ve got that Valencia filter cranked to 11, and our greatest achievements and dreams have been conveyed in the most eloquent manner possible.
You’re not seeing the full picture. That’s what the dating process is for. But sometimes it sets up high expectations and/or false expectations, especially if the things we’ve put up aren’t necessarily true.
#5: Can we still talk in person?
I was talking to a few of my fellow bloggers this morning after church about this topic, and one of the first things they threw up is that it may be a reflection that we don’t know how to talk to people in person any more.
It’s an interesting point.
Are we turning online because we just don’t know how to do the face-to-face thing any more? That we can’t approach someone we’ve gotten to know or someone we’ve met somewhere and ask them if they’d like to take things further?
Or are we just moving our bravery to an online space?
Either way, if we can’t do face to face in person, if we can’t relate to people in their humanity or hold good conversations, whichever dating approach we take, things probably won’t last too long.
#6: It makes most relationships casual
As much as online dating options are put forward as ways to find your soulmate and lasting commitment, the majority of users are still in it for a casual fling. Just throw the word “Tinder” into your search engine of choice and have a look at how many articles there are pertaining to getting laid in your first few dates.
The casual relationship is an interesting concept. Usually we really just mean we’re looking for sex, otherwise you could just go hang out with some of your acquaintances or friends.
The pursuit of orgasm is one that our society really holds as important, but it doesn’t lead to any form of lasting satisfaction. In fact, it usually devalues the other person and is primarily concerned with you getting your fix.
Now before you start hitting those comments, I didn’t say that everyone who uses online dating services is just chasing a fling. I’m just pointing out that’s what a large enough percentage of users are using the services for.
#7: It means you’ve probably stopped considering the people you already know
The decision to turn online is an interesting one. Some people view it as an opportunity to expand their horizons or “spread their nets in multiple waters”.
But usually what it means is that you’ve stopped considering the people you already have in your world.
There’s something very alluring about the idea of the tall dark and handsome stranger… or strangerette. Whatever the feminine equivalent of that ideal is. The person across the sea is mysterious and unknown, they’re ideal, they have it all together.
Whereas the people you and I know, we may have written off because we’ve known them too long, they’ve become familiar, we know exactly what we get with them. Or maybe there really isn’t anyone in the pool of people we currently know that has the qualities we’re looking for.
While the decision to go online improves your chances greatly of getting a date, perhaps it may also cause you to miss what has been there all along. For all the people I know who’ve found success dating online, I know several more people who’ve also had success by just keeping their eyes open and seeing the value in the people they know. Perhaps there’s someone you’ve overlooked who may actually be the one you’ve been looking for.
And perhaps it’s even more than just the looking for the right person. Maybe it’s in being the right person. Being the person who can see and accept someone in every season. Knowing how to fight fair. Being able to talk about the serious stuff but also just able to have a good time when it’s time to celebrate.
So there’s some of the good and some of the bad on online dating from my vantage point. The good and the bad things about Tinder and its counterparts. Like I said, there are many success and failure stories either way you go. But maybe in honestly considering some of our reasons for being online (or offline) we’ll be able to continually grow our lives in a changing world.
What about you? Do you agree or disagree with what you read here? What are your thoughts on the realm of online dating?