I am not the first, nor will I be the last to put in my two cents about the dating app scene, but buckle your seat belts because here I come. I believe that the way in which a person meets their partner IS the RIGHT way. In person or online, one is not better than the other. However, the former is widely accepted and applauded while the latter is riddled with guilt, shame and secrecy. There is something intimidating about strangers meeting and possibly becoming partners through an app opposed to at a social gathering, but it is becoming more and more mainstream and demanding more and more attention and acceptance.
I have only seriously used Bumble and Tinder. In my experience, Bumble was great in concept because it felt organized and neat. If matches did not respond or I did not initiate conversation, they disappeared and left me with fewer options. I thought I would be less likely to experience mental paralysis from having too many choices when matches didn’t last forever.
Tinder was great for the opposite reason, I was flooded with matches and it was messy. It forced me to be more discerning, but also there was less pressure to be in contact with people because I had all the time in the world to message a prospective date and same went for them. Both are superb distractions and worthy competitors. I highly recommend trying Bumble, Tinder, or any of the other dating apps out there to make your own discoveries, maybe take it one at a time.
In the end, I concluded that there is solidarity in single-dom! I could have hundreds of matches on Tinder and just as many on Bumble if I put in the effort for conversation. Apps showed me that I may not even need them because these people on the app were also people in real life. Was it newfound confidence? Or the idea that seeing is believing — I see the hordes of singles and therefore believe that New York City isn’t only couples?
Either way, the apps were comforting to me. I wasn’t the only one searching even if I did not find a partner immediately or at all. There was something soothing about being in a vibrant city and knowing that I could meet people through many modes.
In the brief time I have spent on these apps, I have come to realize that while the apps make dating, romance, and relationships more accessible, they don’t make dating, romance, and relationships easier.
It is natural to assume that the 2 million apps in our phone app store would all add ease and convenience to our lives. We have apps that track everything from menstrual cycles to weather to walking to financial spending to eating habits! And yet, dating apps are simple to use, but not nearly as helpful as being able to map a route, request a car, edit a photo, sign up for an exercise class, or get your alarm to be the voice of a British man.
It felt like there was more of an obstacle or barrier in my way of meeting people — the virtual world, a seemingly unexplored dimension where 5 photos of me existed and a 100-character biography lived along with the photos and biographies of thousands of others. Without having common ground or a distinct connection, like a love for hot air balloons or a dislike of vanilla ice cream, connections are weaker.
Meeting hundreds of people was previously unheard of in a world without communication technology and baffles me to this day, but the realization that I may not connect with one of the hundreds was terrifying!
In fact, with most strangers, it was a chore to chat and keep up, but it showed me how much people ache to engage with others and seek compatibility. Even when I wished it could all happen in person without this third-party system, I was grateful to have an app try.
Now I can look at my dating app experience and note that while it was pleasant and helped me meet others, it was another stress in an already busy and chaotic life.
I wonder if that is because the type of app it is, where I am, or if technology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I know I’ll find romance with my openness to apps and experiences off my phone, but in the meantime, I am going to go back and sit with my questions and curiosities.
My next question is, are apps more about accessibility or ease?