Tinder, not just a hook up app
Can Tinder provide more than exercise for your thumb?
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact email@example.com.
"Tinder was only a tool. How you use this tool defines your experience"
The Irish Independent reports that 150,000 Irish people use the popular dating app Tinder, most of them between the ages of 18 and 24. With this in mind, you can be sure you’ve come across multiple opinions and criticisms of it. In the past 2 years since the app launched, different media outlets have generally sported the criticism that Tinder is a “hook-up” app rather than a dating app and God forbid you should attempt to find your future husband/wife using it!
So we know Tinder is insanely popular and has received less than glowing reviews from many but what if you are still curious and feel like giving it a go? As a reformed Tinder cynic, I say "Go for it, swipe away to your hearts content!"
A vocal member of the Tinder-hating bandwagon, I surprised myself one evening by downloading the app. I was combining a hectic college schedule with work and was beginning to feel isolated from the social scene, so I figured I’d chance it. Horror stories and criticisms aside, I felt that, at worst, it would provide me with some entertainment as I trudged through days of endless study and work.
My Tinder experience was both entertaining and bizarre. I chatted to all sorts of people, good and bad. One guy I was in touch with was travelling Europe and wanted to hook-up because he needed somewhere to sleep! Swipe.
As I continued interacting with people on Tinder I began to realise some things. Tinder was only a tool. How you use this tool defines your experience and despite what others have said, I made it work for me. I went on some pretty amazing dates and really clicked with some matches, and the most surprising part? None of them were “only interested in one thing”, as my friends had suggested. Now call me naïve, but I realised that my approach to using the app deviated from the seemingly normal Tinder “Love Story”. Here are some of my thoughts on how best to use the app to your advantage:
Other's opinions don’t matter
I’ve had friends and family roll their eyes and raise their eyebrows at my use of Tinder. My initial reaction was one of awkward agreement with their opinions. I thought it was as useless for anything other than hooking up but as I began to use the app more, my thinking changed. I realised that no matter what other people’s experiences or opinions, Tinder was merely a tool. The success or failure of my own experiences was down to how I chose to use it and what I expected from it, not anyone else. With that realisation, I was no longer bashful about my use of Tinder.
You can control what you share and who sees it but only to a certain extent. Just because the aim of the app is to entice potential dates, it doesn’t mean you should “bare all” in your profile pictures and descriptions. Everyone who uses the app is privy to those pictures and information. Even when you match with the hottest guy/girl you’ve ever seen, be careful. The nature of smartphone use today means that other people may be in on your “private” message conversations too. Think before you share pictures or sensitive information.
Honesty is the best policy: I know the last thing people want to do when they begin courting is to be completely honest, but believe me it will work for you in more ways than one. Be brave and take the opportunity to really grill your matches. Use the app to help take the awkward and blind element away before a first date. I asked all of the awkward and honest questions under the sun and when people responded with the same kind of honesty, I knew instantly that they were my type of date. Also, if you do want to use Tinder to “hook-up”, it’s probably best to be honest about that too to avoid any crossed wires!
While flirting and getting to know potential matches is thrilling, keep your personal safety in mind. Be careful sharing information like home address, phone numbers, etc. while messaging. If you do decide to go on a date make it happen on your terms. Choose a place you are familiar with and make sure it is in public. It’s good to pick a time that means you won’t get stuck or stranded alone with the date from hell. It is important to let people, family or friends know where you will be on the date, for your peace of mind and theirs.
Look at it as a social experiment if you will. We can do our shopping online, banking online and our study online, so why not try some online romance? If you meet the love of your life, that’s great! If not, so what? At least you’ve improved the dexterity of your thumbs with all that swiping!