Navigating Online Dating

Dating in today’s world is an interesting endeavor. It’s never been easier to find people to meet than today and yet, somehow, relationships are harder to come by. Why? At the rate I’m going on dates, I should’ve found fifty Mr. Rights by now!

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So what’s the catch? If you ask me, I think the reason is that dating apps using the Swipe Right/Swipe Left method have made people disposable as it's become so easy to just swipe for another match.

We all know Tinder. However, if you’re new to the Internet, Tinder is a phone dating app that allows you to look at people’s profiles and either swipe right — indicating you like them — or swipe left — sending them off to the deep chasms of the Internet where they’ll hopefully have better luck with another suitor. The other individual won’t be notified that they’ve been rejected, but odds are they’ll figure it out when they’ve spent weeks waiting for the notification that you’ve matched with them. App users make these decisions to swipe in either direction based on profile pictures and a paragraph’s worth of a ‘bio’ — although much of the time, when it’s filled out, a bio consists of a funny anecdote picked up from Twitter or Instagram.

The problem is, it’s a known fact that many users, men in particular, are serial right-swipers. They will either swipe right on most—if not all—potential matches manually or use dedicated apps that just automatically swipe right. This is called playing the “numbers game” and the point is to raise the percentage of people who will in return swipe right on you. Once a connection is formed, Tinder will notify you. Then, and only then, do these serial right-swipers review the profile to gauge whether they’re interested. Which really means that many of the matches made are incorrect and the two individuals don’t actually “like” each other. In my case, understanding that many men play the “numbers game” and swipe right on everyone allowed me to approach dating very differently. I now know that if a match doesn’t message me or reply to my message it’s because he goes around swiping on everyone—and I don’t want to date someone like that anyway!

Additionally, Tinder is so focused on profile pictures—you can have up to 9—that those who aren’t serial right-swipers make a good chunk of their decisions based on pictures alone. This in turn lends to people only posting pictures and not writing anything about themselves in the biography sections. Plus, we all know everyone is going to post the best possible photos of themselves, even though that image may look slightly different from the person in real life. This in turn lends to Tinder being used predominantly for one-night stands or friends with benefits relationships.

Tinder and similar algorithms on other dating apps have led to people swiping so much that connections do invariably occur. One can have dozens of simultaneous conversations with people they’ve matched up with on Tinder. And there are many sub-levels to the type of people you can meet!

Some people just want to chat but won’t tell you that they aren’t interested in meeting. Others—and these are people I’ve come to appreciate—will tell you outright whether they’re looking for one-night stands/friends with benefits or not. You’re probably asking why I appreciate these people when they’re so blunt. Honestly, it’s because these people don’t waste my time by talking incessantly only to tell you after you’ve invested time and possibly emotion into the conversation.

Many users are single and looking to mingle but a disturbingly large number are in relationships. I was speaking to one man for a week before l—after picking up on some very well disguised clues—asked him outright if he were single. His reply? “Nope. Haha. It’s something I want to talk face to face about." It just boggles the mind! Then there are the ghosters—those who will flirt and chat only to poof and disappear! 

Overall, the dating culture and norms created by the swipe-right/swipe-left apps such as Tinder have upturned everything we knew about dating. And yet I persevere and continue dating in this crazy, post Tinder-revolution world. Why? Because once in a while a gem will come along that’s worth having dealt with all the rest. More and more people are creating long and meaningful relationships born from online connections in today's world. Do you have any online dating stories? Let me know in the comments below!