Opinion: The Tinder Epidemic

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With the rise in social media usage, online dating has become a common way to find a partner. The most common dating app is currently Tinder. In my opinion, relationships have become less personal, more competitive and all around more about hooking up instead of hanging out, as a result of Tinder. Especially when it comes to college students.

Remember when passing notes back and forth with your crush was a thing? You would get all giddy inside after fifth period when a note was on your desk with scribbled sentences that were super cheesy, like “I think you’re cute” or “Wanna sit together at lunch?” Oh, the good old days. Now all I get are raunchy pickup lines in my DMs from creepy men. What happened to the sweet bump-into in the halls where you and your crush would laugh and smile at each other because you both were too afraid to talk in person? Well, Tinder happened.

Tinder says it matches 26 million users per day, with 10 billion total matches since the app launched in 2012. Tinder has made dating more accessible, which is fantastic, but it also comes with some baggage. It’s now a lot easier to be fake and fabricate facts about yourself. Lying on social media has always been a problem – we’ve all seen Catfish episodes – but lying on Tinder can cause a real problem when you’re trying to find a partner.

It also steals the perfect meet-cute story. Instead of the cute detailed story where someone pines after the other and puts effort into winning their hearts over, you get a “well, we matched on Tinder and he sent me a pickup line about dogs, so I thought ‘why not?’” I love dogs as much as the next person, probably more, but a DM eliminates the romance in relationships.

Before it even comes to talking on Tinder, the users have to mutually choose each other. This causes a whole other issue. Tinder makes it way easier to turn someone down based on a single feature. A photo with bad lighting or a selfie with a cat can unintentionally give someone the wrong impression, and just like that, you are unimportant to them.

Tinder is training its users to judge based on split-second snapshots. In the real world, romance almost never sparks through the swipe of a finger and a ding of an app. Tinder just reinforces the idea that looks matter the most. This can cause so much self-doubt and analysis over a single photo. Social media causes this doubt on a larger scale, but Tinder zeros in on the problem with today’s society: looks are everything.

Even when you do get a match and go out on a date it’s hard not to consider the pressure that Tinder has. It’s primarily used for hookups. Among men, hooking up is the third most popular reason for using Tinder. Tinder has hidden expectations that can cause someone to feel cornered, or worse, feel guilty when they don’t want to hookup. There’s always another option when it comes to Tinder, another match around the corner.

Vanity Fair really targets this issue in their article, “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse,’” suggesting Tinder creates a competition.

“When asked if they’ve been arranging dates on the apps they’ve been swiping at, [the men] say not one date, but two or three: ‘You can’t be stuck in one lane … There’s always something better.’”

There is always something better. Dating apps eliminate personality and create competition in a wide playing field. Instead of having one or two options for a relationship, college students now have 20 or even 100 options a day for potential hangouts. With Tinder, you have to be very attractive and very interesting to keep each user’s attention. Even on a date it can feel like a competition because of the 50 some other matches available to the user at that very moment the date is happening. We are all already raised in a competitive world, do we really need to make dating super competitive too?

An optimist would say it’s possible to meet decent guys on Tinder, that there are always diamonds in the rough, even if that means sorting through the millions of fakes, but is it worth it? In my opinion no, which is negative to say, but it’s true.

By creating a Tinder profile, I am fueling the dating pool and opening myself up to constant ridicule and judgment. Finding a match on Tinder may be fun and exciting at first; everyone likes to be desired, but it can quickly turn into an addiction of swiping just for someone to compliment you. If you are really looking for a wholesome way to meet new people I’d say join a club or go do something you’ve never done before. There are people everywhere open to new experiences and relationships, you just have to go up and physically talk to them.

Image courtesy of Matt Gergyek.

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