By Lucy Hillier, History, Second Year
Hinge, Tinder, Bumble. In this digital age, dating apps are in abundance and so easily available. So it is no wonder that, to many, it would be the preferred option to find a partner. These platforms promise connection, but the question that looms large is whether they are more harmful than helpful. As we delve into the realm of dating apps, it becomes apparent that they embody a dual nature—providing both opportunities and challenges.
I know most of us, if not all, would love to meet someone organically. To have a meet-cute straight out of a film. But these days it just seems impossible. Online culture has created a lack of confidence and fear of judgement and rejection, therefore there is no wonder that we are not as easily able to walk up to each other and start conversation. Why bother when you can do it online? Whether through a DM or on a dating app, rejection is much easier through a screen.
When creating our profiles, we pick the most attractive photos of ourselves in order to get more matches. However, what we don’t acknowledge is how harmful this actually is. We are judging people solely on looks and missing out on the things we would find in everyday interactions like body language, eye contact, banter, etcetera. It is so easy to see someone’s first image and dismiss it straight away, creating a shallow approach to dating based on people looking their best. This reflects into society as our expectations become higher with everyone in search for their perfect ten. With the abundance of choice on dating apps and many attractive singles at your fingertips, its hard not to have a ‘grass is greener’ mentality making it difficult to choose someone and commit. This myriad of options has created a hook-up culture.
Tinder especially is the culprit of this due to the ease of swiping left and right and lack of words on profiles. At least on Hinge there are prompts that let you gage someone’s personality. These apps can create immediate gratification making it easy for a casual fling or one night stand. This is perfect if that is what you are looking for, but if you want something more serious it becomes more difficult to weed through. It can also be disheartening to go through all the dire small talk over text to discover that all they want is sex. But, like I said, if that’s what you’re after its brilliant.
Dating apps, despite their potential benefits, pose a double-edged sword for those grappling with anxiety and mental health issues. The constant cycle of rejection and ghosting can take a toll on self-esteem. However, the anonymity of swiping provides a buffer against the immediate sting of face-to-face rejection, offering a safe space for those lacking the confidence to venture into traditional dating scenes. They are also helpful for members of the LGBTQ+ community as they offer a safe space to meet people with the same preferences.
There have been hundreds of success stories of people meeting each other on dating apps – it’s actually becoming the norm. I’m sure we all know a couple who have connected online, highlighting that these apps aren’t all failed talking stages and hookups. I think that they can serve as a great way of putting yourself out there and building up your confidence in the dating world.
I hate talking to and getting to know people online – texting is often monotonous and dry. Dating apps can, therefore, be useful when you agree to meet up straight away, but most of the time they end up being a brief messaging interaction with no outcome. However, this is just how they work for me. Basing my opinion on one example is not a useful overview. We can see how they have been successful and that they provide an easy tool for searching for a connection, harbouring spaces to put yourself out there without having to face the pain of face-to-face rejection. They have made finding people in real life a lot harder and more of a scarcity, but dating could be changing once again. Pear, a new social experiment, throws a curveball at the digital dating game, ditching apps for a simple ring that acts as a beacon for singles in real life. Thursday, its sister app, fuels the flame with city-wide meetups, turning virtual connections into vibrant face-to-face encounters. This could be the new avenue that modern dating goes down, inviting people to make conversation in real life without the pressures of talking and meeting online.
The digital age has completely evolved the way in which we do pretty much everything, therefore it would nearly be impossible to think that things would stay the same for dating. Striking a balance is key, much like online shopping coexists with physical stores, dating online doesn't eliminate the possibility of meaningful connections in real life. It's about navigating both the digital and tangible realms for a holistic approach to modern dating.
Feature Image: Nik // Unsplash
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