Breakups suck. There are the tears, the awkward conversations with family members, sometimes even the exchanging of boxes in the mail filled with each other’s things... and lastly, there’s entering (or re-entering) the world of dating apps. The “swipe culture” wasn’t really a thing before I started my last relationship - I had heard of Tinder, but never saw the app or really understood what it was. But after my breakup, the app store became my new best friend; I downloaded Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, happn, and too many others to name them all. Getting matches on these apps was instantly gratifying, but then the high of a match wore off, and after a second or two, I would start swiping again.
It was weird to go from being a girlfriend, to just being a picture in an app that someone could swipe “yes” or “no” to. I would go through periods where I would use all of the dating apps, and then delete them for a few months, only to re-download them later. What was it about these apps that kept me coming back, but never encouraged me to actually go out and meet all these men who I was matching with?
It’s hard to be interested in meeting someone on my own based on a few photographs. Of course real men stand behind these pictures (most of them), but it’s hard for me to become excited enough to put myself in an awkward situation of a first date to meet them for the first time. We both know we are attracted to each other based on pictures only. We both also know that each of us is using these apps and speaking to other people at the same time. We both also probably have an escape route planned where a friend is supposed to call with an excuse about why one of us has to leave. The whole thing feels forced or superficial to me, even though we both do want to meet new people who could be a potential match.
I would much rather meet someone in person at a bar, coffee shop, show, party, etc. When you see someone in person, you can instantly see if there is chemistry between the both of you and if you are attracted to them both intellectually and physically. After meeting someone organically, when they ask you out on a first date, you definitely have an idea as to whether or not you are interested in seeing them again. Going on a date alone, with someone who you matched with on an app, leaves less room for a natural connection to be the leading factor as to why you are out on the date. The reason you are both there is because you swiped “yes” based on photographs and maybe a few text messages back and forth.
Despite my reluctance to meeting people through dating apps, I still use them because it is much easier to meet someone via an app than in-person. In my experience, men and women rarely approach people who they are attracted to in-person. You may exchange looks on the street, or in a bar, but the majority of people will resort to swiping on their phones, since swiping leaves us less vulnerable than walking up to someone and letting them know that we’re interested.
There are a few dating apps that I would love to try and actually see myself using, like Squad. Squad is different because it’s not a one-on-one dating app and it allows you to go out with friends. Squad allows you to make profiles for you and your friends, and swipe through other squads who you might be interested in meeting. The awesome thing about this app is that it takes away the pressure of all the awkward first dates. If you don’t hit it off with someone in the squad, maybe some of your friends will, or maybe you will still have a fun time, even if there is no romantic chemistry. There is also little to no rejection on either side, since a Squad date isn’t one-on-one. It gives off the feeling of meeting someone organically and feeling out your chemistry, while still using technology to make meeting people easier or more attainable. Since you are already with your own “squad” of friends, you are almost guaranteed to have a good time, or at least a few good laughs.
In theory, I love the concept of dating apps. Universally, cultures are relying more and more on technology to improve our lives both professionally and socially. If we can use apps to meet awesome people, without the pressure of an awkward one-on-one interaction, then the trend of “group dating” could lead to a lot of fun experiences and stories to tell.