Have Dating Apps Changed the Field of Dating

Rachel Spinella
Features Editor

PC: Rachel Spinella

Ever since the invention of Tinder in 2010, it has changed the playing field of dating all together. Instead of typically meeting someone through a more intimate social setting, this generation’s norm is meeting people online, or in this case, over social media apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn or for more specific apps that are designed for smaller communities, like Jswipe for Jewish people or even Christian Mingle.

According to the Atlantic, dating apps originated in the gay community with the first ever dating app for single gay men called Grindr followed closely by the app Scruff were released in 2009. This eventually led to the official launch of Tinder in 2012,where  iPhone owners of all sexualites could now search for love, sex or date casually. The app quickly gained popularity, becoming one of the most popular dating apps on the market. After that more dating apps came online, Tinder expanded to Android phones and is now available on upto 70 percent of smartphones worldwide

The Atlantic continued to state that there had been a lot of talk of Tinder being able to reinvent the dating scene. The article further stated that this recreation of the dating scene could transform into an endless marketplace where singles could shop for each other, “like an Amazon for a human companionship,” or that it could turn into minimal effort and maybe could cater more to, “transactional on-demand hook-ups,” Which some would say it’s not far from now presently in 2019.

When it comes to relationships, it has changed in the sense that humans now find and court potential companions or partners online. The feelings when it comes to looking for something more, still are the same though, with the search giving into loneliness, hope and disappointment or even boredom. Yet, Tinder has also helped bridge this path of people meeting potential partners that they might have never crossed paths with if it wasn’t for the app. 

An interview in the Atlantic with Jess Flores, a 30 year-old woman who met her husband on Tinder merely after only using the app once, shows the possible success of dating apps. She stated to the Atlantic that she probably would have never met him if it wasn’t for the app, since he lived in a city just just across from hers that she had never frequented before.  For Flores, having a greater access to a much wider singles base was a great development. 

The expanded radius can be a good thing if you are looking to date or even hook up with a variety of people that are different from you. 

There are also some people that believe with dating apps can bring social disconnect. Sometimes, these dating apps can make a singles landscape a rudier, flakier and crueler place.

 According to the Atlantic, an example they used is, if you go on a date with your cousin’s roommate, the roommate has some sense to not treat you unfairly. However with dating apps, “You’re meeting somebody you probably don’t know and probably don’t have any connections with at a bar on 39 Street,” a couple’s therapist by the name of Lundquist stated.

Lundquist goes on to discuss how most of patients come in telling of their experiences with the app and bad behavior. “I think it’s become more ordinary to stand each other up,” He continues on. “Men and women, though more women among straight folks” tell him stories that always seem to end with, “Oh my god, I got to the bar and he sat down and said, ‘Oh. You don’t look like what I thought you looked like,’ and walked away.” 

Some other users have also claimed to experience this rudeness, but even over text or messaging on the app itself. A woman named Anna Xiques, used the Bumble app and that while using it she was insulted by another user that she had been matched with. After she told the Bumble match that she just didn’t seem to be feeling a connection, their possible suitor replied by calling her a horrible name and saying that she wasn’t even that pretty anyway. 

When Bumble was launched in 2014, headed by former Tinder executive, Whitney Wolfe Herd, it advertised itself as a more women-friendly dating app, due to the specific features on the app that help block or get around unwanted messages. Women would iniate the chat if it was a heterosexual pairing. 

Xiques expressed that it was about a 50-50 chance whether she would encounter mean or gross messages or not. She explained that she has only experienced this kind of mean or creepy behavior on the apps and not when she’s dating people in real life. She states that, “obviously, they’re hiding behind the technology right? You don’t have to actually face the person.”

Lundquist says that experiences like this are similar to the ‘classic’ scenario in which going on Tinder date and then going to the bathroom, to talk to three other people on Tinder. He says, “So there’s a willingness to move on more quickly,”

When it came to male recipients on the app, a woman by the name of Holly Wood wrote her dissertation on behaviors and ugly stories centered around the dating apps like Tinder. She interviewed male respondents and found that these apps have replaced dating. Where other generations might have spent time going on dates, this generation of singles have spent their time swiping. She talked to many different men that all had very similar things to say, such as, “we’re saying, ‘I’m putting so much work into dating and not getting any results”’ Wood had asked what they had been doing, they responded saying they spent hours on Tinder everyday. 

Wood explains that it’s unfortunate because people, “pretend that’s dating because it looks like dating.” 

In 2019, there are still mixed opinions when it comes to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. Like many things they bring good and bad. They help people connect with other people that they might not have been able to meet before but they also can have some unwanted and bad social or dating experiences as well.

What do you think? Are dating apps good or bad?

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