Monday, September 25, 2017

Tinder and The Age of Online Dating

Tinder has become all the rage recently; all of my friends are talking about matching with someone or getting a message, and I’m over here like what the heck is Tinder? Do you mean the thing you start a fire with, that sort of tinder? As a 23-year-old graduate student I wouldn’t say that I have much free time to date, so at first I was interested in this idea of finding “a match” quickly and easily on my smart phone. I thought about what it would be like to use Tinder, so one of my good friends joined and together we spent half an hour swiping left or right. After thirty minutes we looked at each other and laughed. I had lost part of my day staring at her phone looking at pictures of people I did not know.

I get the appeal of being able to easily find a date but I also find it a little discomforting. I worry that the world of dating is becoming so impersonal.

The thing that bugs me the most about Tinder is that it is based on physicality. There is not enough room to write a proper biography, so messages and matches are contingent on looks. Now a well-known fact about attraction is that initially it is based on appearance. On Tinder the problem is that when the conversation ensues, it occurs through text. Texting is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but a huge portion of interaction is left out: body language! Body language makes up a large part of communication and without it, it is hard to read social cues and get a sense of who the other person is.

My other problem with Tinder is that it has become a forum for people who only want to “hook up.” This does not shock me, there are bound to be those people, but a majority of the members who use Tinder seem to only want something physical. If you are one of the few who want a real relationship, how many people will you have to sift through to find someone else who wants the same? That is why I am not a big fan of Tinder. The concept is great, because technology and the era of constantly being on your cell phone is upon us, but my hope is that this era will soon pass. What happened to making conversation in line at a coffee shop, or even simply making eye contact and smiling at people? That is a rare event now; everyone has their heads down and their noses in their phones, probably on Tinder, when the right person for them could be standing within arms reach.

So I propose a challenge: put down your phone when you are walking around town, in line at a store, or out to eat. See what happens, observe the people around you and don’t be afraid to make eye contact or strike up a conversation. What is the worst that could happen? So take this challenge and see the results, you may be surprised at what you find!

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