(Sorry for the terrible title)
Around this time last year I wrote this blog entry which reviewed internet dating websites, and I thought now was a good time to expand and renew my ideas. As a person who loves having new and strange experiences for the hell of it, internet dating has meant in the past year I have met some good, but mostly odd, people. But time goes quickly and websites where you write descriptions about yourself is gone. Instead this year has seen the rise of quick, simple phone apps, the main example being Tinder.
If you don’t know what Tinder is, it’s an app for your phone where you create a profile of yourself compromised of just pictures. Men/women (whatever your preference) who are within your radius (you can decide how far) will then come up and you either “like” or “pass” them. If you have both liked each other you become a “match” and can then message them and go from there. There is also now an app called Happn (read the Guardian article here) where you are only shown people in a 250 metre radius. I’m yet to download it but I’m unsure how this would work if you live outside a city, and it seems like it pretty much just facilitates one night stands.
Should you download Tinder? Yes… but only if you know specifically what you want, be it a one night stand or a full-blown relationship. It is interesting and addictive and I have heard of many success stories. I know a few people who are in a relationship because of Tinder who are very happy. I, personally, however, have not had the best experience, despite clocking in hundreds of ‘matches’. (I was a bit addicted for a while). I have had three dates from there and all three were disastrous. Obviously this can happen with any date but I do recommend that when you download this app you should know what you want and be clear about it. I think the problem with me is I have been moving around quite a lot and am not really sure what I want, or if I want anything at all. On almost all my dates i’ve been asked “What do you want from this?” as a first question. My answer has always been an “I don’t know” and then realising I’m mostly wasting people’s time.
The amount of strange people who live in this world also amazes me. Granted, sometimes I may have been one of them, but most of the time I’ve been bemused about how people act online. One person (in Vienna) claimed he had known me for years (very creepy) and lectured me on drinking alcohol before insisting he would buy me lots of drinks while he remained sober. Creepy. Having had an OkCupid account you always are bound to get strange and odd messages (especially Muslim men from Egypt and Algeria) but what hit me with Tinder was that there were some strange people only within a few miles of me. I’ve sometimes had to sit on a different place on the bus when I see someone I’ve said “no” to on Tinder near me.
The problem with internet dating is that you suddenly become sucked into a cycle of being really, really shallow. There’s always someone better out there. You end up shopping around and in the end it isn’t really about dating but finding an ideal that doesn’t exist. You start thinking, “oh I could go on a second date… but maybe there’s someone who I click with even more…” I recently spoke to a person who I was on/off seeing in Nottingham last year and he sent me a screenshot of his current Tinder profile. What I realised was that if I had seen his profile when I was on an ‘off-day’ I may have said no and that would have been the end of it. I’m not advocating saying ‘yes’ to everyone’ but without knowing someone personally, face-to-face, you limit yourself to a few pictures and forget the natural chemistry which develops with people in real life. The old world concept of knowing someone before you date them is becoming more extinct.
As I think more and more, most of the people I have gone out with and have ‘been seeing’, I have met through natural environments – mutual friends, at a party, in a pub, from being tandem partners, or who studied at my University. While I have obviously been on dates with people I have met online (one of my best friends I, strangely, met on Okcupid 5 years ago), rarely have they progressed further. Maybe it’s my shallowness – when I meet someone in a natural environment, there are no expectations. I get to know them, maybe an attraction develops or maybe you fall into a pattern of seeing each other more and more until you realise they’re probably your boyfriend/girlfriend. The problem with artificial dates is that something is automatically expected of you and I buckle under this pressure. There’s also the time old question – should you wait for something natural to happen, or should you be the instigator of something happening?
What do you think? Do you use internet dating websites or just phone apps? Have you had any good or bad experiences? Please comment all thoughts and opinions below!