“He sounds like a really great guy. How did you two meet?” her friend inquired.
She swallowed nervously, “We — uh, we met on Tinder.”
Suddenly the room spun, the floor quaked, and then — in one swift motion — the earth exploded, disintegrating into nothingness, all because she met her boyfriend on Tinder.
Hyperboles aside, most people react poorly when I tell them I met my boyfriend on Tinder. They’re more than happy to hear about how well he treats me and even go as far as complimenting us as a couple, but as soon as I say we met off of a dating app, their smiles turn sour — and I can sense the judgement.
Tinder (for those of you who are unfamiliar) is a dating app that recommends other people’s profiles to the user based on sexual orientation, age, and geolocation. In order for any two users to communicate with one another, they must both “like” each other’s picture or swipe the image to the right.
It’s a simple concept, but issues arise with how it is used. Thirty-nine percent of users are between ages 16-24, attending college, and primarily using the app to seek casual sex. This leaves Tinder with a skeevy reputation as the “hookup app” and is often criticized as the killer of genuine, face-to-face relationships.
But why should Tinder take the blame? After all, it’s only been around since 2012.
American media has been desensitizing us to all things sexual that were once taboo; we are living in the most sexually casual era to date. Our blasé attitudes towards sex and relationships are perpetuated through several aspects of our media: movies (Trainwreck, 2015), music, advertisements, etc.
Terms like “friend-zoned” (an instance of unrequited love among two friends) and “Netflix and chill” (a euphemism for casual sex) are two — of many — products of our social environment that have skewed our perceptions of intimacy.
At the end of the day Tinder is just like any other social media platform, it’s a tool. The issue isn’t Tinder, it’s how it is utilized in a society that perpetuates the normalcy of fleeting relationships. The results you receive with Tinder will mirror the effort you put into it.
Seeing as I am either working or studying, I used Tinder to communicate with new people. After I made a “match” with someone, I would make casual conversation which could develop into deeper conversation. If the conversation grew stale or if the other user and I did not mesh well, I would “unmatch” the user and move on.
I had great conversations concerning music, current events, and other interests. I would have been satisfied if my experience had ended there — but I am thankful it did not.
The top of Tinder’s website reads, “Every connection can change your life.” Then, further down the page, the company details: “Tinder empowers users around the world to create new connections that otherwise might never have been possible.”
As a girl from the south suburbs (Orland Park), I hadn’t traveled much west of my home, and I just so happened to match with a guy named Justin who lived in Naperville, 45 minutes away from me. We talked for two weeks straight, and I fell for his soul before I had even met him.
It’s been almost a year since our first date, and I thank myself every day for giving Tinder a try despite all the negativity I was fed. I had never even heard of Naperville before I started using Tinder, but wow, am I sure glad that I did.