10 Weird Ways Tinder Is Changing the World


1
Changing the Nature of Dating
"If things don't work out with you, I'll just swipe right on someone else! I love the digital age!" dolgachov/iStockphoto

Online dating is becoming the norm with younger generations. According Pew Research Center, in mid-2015, 15 percent of adults had used an online dating method and 29 percent knew someone who met a long-term partner that way. In the 18 to 24 age demographic, those numbers were higher, at 27 percent and 34 percent respectively. They also found that since early 2013, use of dating apps increased from 3 percent to 9 percent, with a much sharper increase of 5 percent to 22 percent in the 18 to 24 age demographic [sources: Smith, Smith].

Apps like Tinder change the pool of potential mates for anyone using them and take away some of the guesswork of finding a date. If you see someone on a dating app, there's a better chance that they are looking to meet someone than if you see them in public. And if you mutually select each other, that means you're already past one hurdle without having to have started an awkward conversation about their sign or college major.

Dates themselves are reportedly trending more casual, with people meeting for drinks to inexpensively see if they have any chemistry rather than the cliché dinner and a movie. App users have even touted the cost savings of getting to know potential dates via chat rather than spending money in clubs, bars and other similar places right off the bat.

As with any new and widely adopted technology, people have raised fears that dating apps may affect our psychological health. Some think the large number of choices might keep us from investing in our current relationships, since there will always be someone seemingly better a swipe away. There's also an idea that, as with social media "likes," we may take the external validation Tinder matches give us too seriously and become unhappy and anxious when similar validation doesn't occur in real life. Dating apps also seem to make us objectify and sell ourselves to other users via idealized images. Looks-based judgements have always been part of gauging attraction to potential mates, but this rapid rejection or acceptance of static-images takes it to a new level.

As of yet, there haven't been many studies showing negative consequences. Only time will tell if Tinder is the end of relationships as we know them, or just another tool that we'll adopt as an efficient way to play the dating game.

Author's Note

At least two of my good friends met through online dating, and now have kids together. I also live on my phone, so although I don't partake of dating apps, I can totally see why it would go mobile. I am uncomfortable with the idea of selecting or rejecting people quickly based on a picture, though. I'm also an aging Gen-Xer who is probably better off not knowing how I'd fare in such an arena. But I know how addictive social and game apps can be, since I unconsciously open Facebook every time I pick up my phone, and I've deleted Candy Crush and Word Streak many times only to desperately redownload them. I can quit anytime! Just one more game.

Whether you want to find a spouse or a series of one-night hookups or want to play with the app for fun is no one's business (except maybe your date's or partner's). If it opens up your pool of potential mates, or just makes your social life more exciting, good for you. I'll keep myself busy with the voting polls.

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