Love Me Tinder: Why Dating Apps Are One Big Game


LAST WEEK, a woman decided to stalk someone she was talking to online and show up at their house — not choosing to knock, like the average stalker who is showing up unannounced, but instead going through the next best entrance: the chimney. Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, she got stuck in said chimney and the fire department had to rescue her by way of dish soap. While the whole ordeal was over in just a few hours, she’s done a bang-up job on giving online dating a bad rap—making the world think singletons are all so desperate to find someone, they’ll climb through his or her chimney for some fFaceTime. Well, you haughty coupletons out there are wrong because the biggest reveal about online dating that almost any singleton will tell you is that it can’t be taken that seriously anyway. Yes, of course there’s the exception to every rule and there are people who find their soul mates online. However, when I think of sites like Tinder, I’m even more convinced the use of these social media dating sites isn’t to find your soul mate, but just to practice dating… like dating with training wheels on. After all, I’ve never met anyone whose relationship from Tinder has exceeded eight months, you know, when sh*t gets real.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the social media dating-sphere and I would challenge anyone to disagree with me:

It’s an absolute shock and surprise if you ever actually meet the person behind the photo.
We are so ADD these days that if conversation isn’t interesting enough or a date hasn’t been set quickly enough, that profile disappears into the abyss of old message threads that require far too much of a scroll from your index finger to even try to resuscitate. So you might as well take a risk and put yourself out there because you probably won’t meet the person anyway.

Being quippy and witty all the time on messages is exhausting. Cut to the chase and ask for a date.
Try to be normal, like “Hey, what’s up” or “I see you like The Jets, are you from New York?” You know, instead of, “Wanna sit on my face?”— I mean, do we all really have to be trying so hard all the time? Practicing the skill of communication is a requirement for any real relationship and while it might be hard, as the profile might not seem like a real person, when you finally meet a real person, you’ll be better at getting to know him or her.

The person looks most like either his or her last or second to last photo.*
Anyone with a keen sense of business knows the best pictures go first — you’re selling yourself because, when it comes to the dating game, you’re a product. SBT (sad, but true). Yet, people don’t want to be completely dishonest, so an accurate photo will be slipped in around slot #4 or #5. With that said, while it’s important to learn what people like about you, in this process, you will learn what you like most about yourself and that’s the most important thing to get comfortable with.

*Asking for someone’s Instagram handle is not the loophole to this. It just makes you look more superficial.

Try not to have more than two drinks on a Tinder date — as that person is a stranger. Then as you date normal people, still apply that rule.
I say this for two reasons: getting drunk with a stranger can be really unsafe. For obvious reasons, right? Second, you’re a fun person. Alcohol makes you even more fun. You may find yourself having a really fantastic time after two drinks with your date but that’s because YOU’RE a fun person. It’s time well spent if you cap it at two, then you won’t have beer goggles that convince you it’s okay to go out with this person again when any sober version of you would clearly decline. And, you don’t want to get a DUI on the way home from a Tinder date. That’s a really sad story to tell. And Ubering to any first date is sending the wrong message. Tinder or otherwise.

Do not play on Tinder while you are on a Tinder date.
Seems obvious, right? Well, not so much. I’ve heard this happen to a number of people. We are so disconnected with the reality of dating that Tinder just feels like a game we are playing — they ask you to keep playing! But being on Tinder while you’re on a date with someone is basically like asking someone else out on a date when you’re already on a date. Not cool.

Dating is hard and at a time when it feels like you’re never going to find anyone normal in the sea of algorithmic strangers, try not to take any of it too seriously. Tinder dating is just practice dating. Sometimes it’s easier to be our weirdest selves around strangers than people we know, so maybe if we go on enough Tinder dates, we’ll just start embracing our weirder selves and attract someone who is just as comfortable being as weird as we are… but not chimney-weird, of course. Never chimney-weird.

Image Credit: Kim Dong-Kyu/Art x Smart

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