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The tinder effect

Pictured: tinder is hugely popular with students (source: global panorama vai flickr).

By Tom Hughes

As Tinder has become so mainstream, I’ll assume you know what it is and how it works. Chances are, you have it installed on your smartphone and have notifications which need attending to. The current scale of Tinder is more than impressive; more than a billion swipes are made each day and the number of active users is greater than 50 million. The key to Tinder’s success is its simplicity. With Tinder, you can set up your profile and be on a swiping spree in minutes. Comparing this to more serious dating services, such as eHarmony, which requires you to answer an in-depth questionnaire to find more suitable people based on your interests and what personality traits you consider attractive. Additionally, as Tinder is so popular it removes the stigma attached to using online dating. In the past if you were using online dating you could often be viewed as desperate.

So, going back to the title of this article, why has Tinder ruined dating? Well let’s wind the clock back 20+ years to when mobile phones were not commonplace and reminisce about how your parents probably met. They could have met through a friend of a friend when they were out socialising with their friendship group. Or they could have met in a pub/club where one of them plucked up the courage to go over and say hello. Whilst this still happens today it does not happen as often as it used to. Not solely because of Tinder, but because of advances in technology. Back then if you wanted to meet new people, you’d have to leave the comfort of your home and be prepared for the awkwardness of saying hello to a complete stranger. Nowadays, you can speak to a person via a screen for months without ever meeting them in the real world.

The important thing here is that if you were to meet a potential partner, you’d have to be out socialising and not sat in bed at 9pm bingeing on Netflix whilst swiping right. Additionally, if you were out socialising, you might end up talking to someone that you may normally reject on Tinder, but instead you end up getting along with them really well in person. This is where Dutch courage also comes into play as alcohol can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Drink the right amount and you’ll be more confident and lose your inhibitions. Drink too much and you’ll be chatting absolute bollocks before ending up in a heap on the floor.

As an app Tinder is very good; clean, concise and easy to use. But it has some features which make me cringe. The most cringeworthy feature is undoubtedly the Superlike. Superlikes are meant to be reserved for those super fitties; however, they should not be used under any circumstances. Think about what you’re actually saying when you Superlike someone; “I really, really like you!” and “Please swipe right on me!”. It makes you out to be very desperate doesn’t it? And if you happen to accidently use the Superlike on someone you don’t find that attractive, don’t tell the other person! There are few things which dents a person’s confidence more than being told “Sorry I didn’t mean to Superlike you!” – just be careful where you put your chubby thumbs next time.

Obviously the Tinder experience for men is very different compared to women. For men, it is unlikely that a match will message you first whereas for women it is the polar opposite. Whilst I cannot comment on what it is like for women, but us men must deal with our fair share of fake profiles. These profiles usually have pictures of very attractive women and bios which can appear to be normal. But sadly, the first message they will send is a web link to some other dating website/app because their tinder ‘keeps crashing’.

In addition to getting our hopes up this also wastes our time. Things don’t get much better for the men of Tinder, as to put it bluntly, it’s a sausage fest. While it is difficult to pin down official statistics, a study by Global Web Index in April 2015 reports that men make up 62% of Tinder users; therefore, it is important to stand out from the crowd. But how do you stand out from the crowd? Should you have a highly polished profile or be unique in what you say? This leads onto an important question; what makes a good opening line? Again, from the male perspective; Hey, hello, hi and other variants will often result in no response. Which doesn’t make sense because in reality the first thing you would say to a person is hello. Your best bet is to come up with something unique which draws on their bio or a cheeky opener. The proverbial polar bear breaking the ice is clichéd, but you’re likely to have more luck with that than, “Hey! You okay? x” But if you go too far to the other end of the spectrum with something like, “Roses are red, so are your lips, now sit on my face and wiggle your hips!” expect to get unmatched instantly.

Now I’m not saying that we should all delete Tinder and go to the pub and chat to the first stranger we see. Tinder isn’t all that bad and I enjoy using it. I’ve had varying degrees of success from using it but I believe this is because I’m prepared to ditch Tinder and go out and meet that person. Sure, most people can seem nice and honest before you meet them, but it’s only when you meet them face-to-face can you determine if they’re a weirdo. My advice would be use Tinder to build the basis of a relationship but don’t be afraid to meet people. Dating is all about confidence and that comes from good and bad dates, so get out there! And remember, filters can do magical things…

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