According to a poll from PEW, 38% of “single and looking” Americans have now tried online dating, and the majority of people now agree that the internet is a good way to meet people. But, honestly, online dating can be a bit annoying. You’ve got to browse through zillions of profiles, some of which are inevitably going to be completely fake or full of outdated photos from when the person was 4 sizes thinner and had a full head of hair. Then there is the hassle of writing messages, weeding out matches, and organizing stressful first dates.
In comes Tinder dating to solve these problems and revolutionize online dating — and the dating game — as we know it.
How Tinder Dating Works: The Beauty of Its Simplicity
The beauty of Tinder dating is that it is so incredibly easy to use. You just download the app, log in with your Facebook account, choose some pictures, write an optional bio, then set your preferences (distance range, male/female, age…). Now you are ready to go!
Tinder uses your smartphone’s GPS to locate other users within a certain radius of you. You can then see these users’ photos. Swipe right if you like the person, swipe left if you don’t. If you both swipe right, then you’ve got a match and can start chatting!
Why Tinder is So Much Better than Online Dating Sites
Tinder dating is rapidly growing in popularity in a way that no other online dating site has ever seen. The reason? Well, for starters, Tinder dating is so easy to use. There is no annoying surveys to answer (do you like cats or dogs better?), no painful headlines to write, or need to read through all those profiles to narrow down date candidates. But the real reason that Tinder dating is so popular is because it takes the rejection out of dating.
If you’ve ever done online dating, then you know how frustrating and discouraging it can be. You send out countless messages to people only to get no response. With Tinder dating, you only get to chat with someone if you both hit like. As Wired points out, the other party never gets notified that you expressed interest, so no harm done.
When you first start Tinder dating, it can be a big ego boost when you see how many matches you get. This alone makes Tinder dating so enthralling and puts the fun back in dating.
For women, there is another main benefit of choosing Tinder dating over typical online dating sites like Match.com or OKCupid. Keep in mind that the gender ratio on online dating sites is almost always heavily skewed towards males. So, women typically get inundated with messages from men. With Tinder dating, you only can contact matches, so there are no inboxes overflowing with messages from people you have no interest in.
Tinder Makes Online Dating a Game
Tinder users constantly talk about “playing,” as though it were a game. It not only seems like a game, but it is a fun game. You get to sit (often with your friends) and flip through dozens or hundreds of profiles, making quick superficial judgments on them. For guys, the Tinder game seems particularly fun as there is no shortage of profiles of college girls showing off cleavage or posing in scanty bikinis. When you get a match, it feels like you’ve won a prize.
Hasn’t dating always been called a game? With Tinder, at least dating becomes a fun game again. And, because it is so fun and relies on social media, you can lie to yourself and say you aren’t really online dating.
As Eli Epstein says about his experience with Tinder dating,
“It did, however, take me a few minutes to get used to the fact that I was, for better or worse, dating online… Tinder is sort of a loophole. It isn’t really ‘dating,’ and the Facebook angle made me feel like I was just repurposing the ubiquitous social media site. On Tinder I could preserve my cooked-up desirability and masculinity while secretly praying that the smokin’ young blonde would like me back.”
But Isn’t Tinder Dating Shallow?
Tinder dating gets a lot of criticism for being “shallow” because it is based solely on geographical proximity and appearance. Yes, when you first start Tinder dating, you might feel a bit shallow or guilty each time you swipe left. But, let’s be honest here, pretty much all dating is shallow.
Let’s compare Tinder dating to meeting someone in a bar. A bar is actually one of the worst places you can meet people. There is too much competition from other people (who are presumably also looking for a mate), women have to keep their guard up and the alcohol impairs your judgment. Yet, despite this, bars have long been the go-to place to meet people.
Unlike with online dating sites, you aren’t given a tagline and a list of interests before you approach a person in a bar. You approach someone because of physical attraction and because you both happen to be in the same geographical location. Does this sound like Tinder? Yes, just they’ve taken the bar element out of the picture.
This is why I don’t agree when critics call Tinder dating shallow or discriminatory. Let’s face it: appearance matters in dating! Sure, at the big online dating sites you have lots of info in the profiles or even some fancy-shmancy personality tests. But you’d be lying to yourself if you said that physical appearance in the profile picture wasn’t the first thing that drew you to a person.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Choosing People Based on Appearance
As Tech Crunch points out, we can actually tell a lot about a person by their photos. Each image was chosen by the user and thus has a subtext about identity – like the choice of clothing, the way they interact with other people in the photo, and the location.
Further, I’d argue that there are even some pluses to relying solely on appearance for choosing a mate, as opposed to a profile where you list your interests, hobbies, life ambitions, etc. When you go on appearance alone, you are sure to meet and date a lot of people who are really different than you. This is how we expand our horizons, learn what we like in a mate, and ultimately become better, more open and tolerant people. At an online dating site, I might not bother to contact a man because he wrote “paintball” as a hobby (How juvenile!). But, when Tinder connects me to him and I see pictures of him looking sexy in camo gear and hanging out in nature with his buddies, I might be completely drawn in.
Not Just a Hookup App
Because of the GPS feature, Tinder dating has drawn a lot of comparisons to the gay hookup app Grindr. But don’t dismiss Tinder dating as purely for hookups and casual flings (though there are certainly a lot of users interested solely in sex).
Tinder is most popular with the millennial generation. This generation of 20-something year olds grew up in the internet era after online dating had lost its taboo. As The Guardian makes a case for, Tinder is a natural evolution of what the dating scene for the millennial generation already looks like.
“Where once it was assumed that the person advertising themselves awkwardly on a screen was there because of social ineptitude, it's now much more common – and accurate – to assume that they are instead working 13-hour days in order to convert their unpaid internship into an underpaid graduate job. Time to cruise the bars, you say? Time to loiter in bookshops and catch a nice boy's eye over a copy of Patti Smith's autobiography? Not so, my friend! Where once there were pub japes, there are now spreadsheets. Where once there were chat-up lines and prospective girlfriends, there is now the Thursday dinner meeting with a prospective boss.”
It may be true that the number of Tinder matches increases during the late-night hours on weekends, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss this dating app’s potential for creating real relationships. There are over 10 million active Tinder users daily, so it is accurate to say that Tinder is changing the way we date, and the very way we behave.
How to Have Tinder Dating Success
Ready to try Tinder dating? Whether you are looking for a long-term relationship or a casual fling, here are the simple steps you need to know to find success with Tinder:
1. Choose the Right Photo
With any online dating site, the choice of photo is really important. Since you don’t have any witty tag line or extensive profile to back you up, the profile picture is especially important with Tinder dating. Make your main photo one of just you.
Women: If you aren’t looking for casual flings, then avoid any bikini shots.
Men: don’t put pictures of you flexing in front of the mirror. It will just make you look like an idiot and women will ridicule you.
2. Know What Your Deal Breakers Are
Before you start chatting with matches, it is good to make a list (or at least have a clear idea) of what your deal breakers are so you don’t waste time with morons.
3. Making Contact
Even if you are just looking for a quick fling, it is never okay to lead with something like “hey sexy.” If you have a flair for words and are good at text flirting, you might try making some witty comment about his/her photo. But remember that it is easy for messages to get misconstrued over chat! If you are really unsure what to write, just stick to the bland basics, like “Hi. How is your day going?” Or, as Maggie Lamaack says of Tinder first contacts, “Try to keep introductions similar to how one would execute them in real life… If a match leads with interests or asks about what I do for a living, and we find common ground on those areas, I have no problem going to meet him for a drink.”
Bottom line: If you wouldn’t say it to a woman in real life, don’t say it to her on Tinder! Read this article if you still aren’t sure what to say when you meet a woman.
4. Research the Person
If the initial phase of contact is going well, then do some additional research on the person. This is pretty easy to do as a lot of people don’t have the privacy settings on the Facebook profile turned on, or you may have a mutual friend through whom you can view their profile. This will give you a good idea of whether that person is a freak or creep you need to avoid!
5. Act Quickly
Attractive Tinder users can get dozens of messages per day. If you don’t send a message and follow up compulsively, your profile will probably just get buried under all these other matches. So, if you actually want to go out on a real live date with someone from Tinder, then you’ve got to act quickly. Turn on the push notifications. Start chatting via a third-party app such as Snap Chat. Once you’ve determined that you want to date that person, set up a date for that week.