A few weeks ago, Ann Friedman, a columnist for New York Magazine, published a piece called “How Tinder Solved Online Dating For Women” where she advocated the superiority of Tinder over other online dating venues as a means toward finding a meaningful relationship.
Friedman focuses on the technological aspects of Tinder, citing a number of ways in which the simplicity of the app trumps the burdensome user interface of conventional online sites like OKCupid or Match.com. First, Tinder acknowledges that the line between your online personality and your offline personality has blurred, and linking the app to Facebook is a novel way to reach out to friends of friends. Secondly, Tinder avoids the feelings of panic and general “heaviness” that make online dating sites – with their endless barrage of options, choices, and demanding profiles – feel like a chore. Finally, the spontaneity and instant gratification of the app make it more “fun”.
While all of this may be true, Friedman (who’s work I largely enjoy), presents a rosy-colored slant to the realities of Tinder. The problem is that she correlates the ease of using Tinder with finding actual, tangible, intimate relationships.
To begin with, dating for the purpose of finding a life partner has become increasingly difficult in the last few years. Gen Xers and Millennials have more options, opportunities, and mobility than ever before. In addition, they are more flighty and selfish than ever before, constantly looking to upgrade. Monogamous courtship has been replaced with carefree hook ups. Some men are actively choosing a track of perpetual casual dating because it is hassle-free.
Into this fray we throw in Tinder, an app that endorses and exacerbates all the problems that exist in finding a legitimate partnership. The interface actively encourages multiple matches, made with no information about the other person except for their photo and age. The arbitrary nature of Tinder is like a game, not like a serious search for emotional intimacy. The end result of Tinder is more flighty behavior leading to more casual dating, along with the lack of commitment that comes with the addiction to searching for something, or someone, better.
But there is a definite upside to Tinder. For those looking for a casual commitment-free way to date, Tinder is an excellent tool. It immediately gives you access to countless options and an easy, interactive way to interact with whoever suits your fancy. But, for those looking for more meaningful relationships, Tinder may not be your best plan of attack, and may even be detrimental to your efforts.
While there is definitely a place for Tinder in the dating world, it is important to be honest with yourself about your goals. If you want to have fun, Tinder could be your best bet. If you want something more involved, it may be the worst. But to claim that Tinder will help you find deep, involved, meaningful relationships seems a little far-fetched.
Tinder Logo via Google Play
Tinder Image via iPhone Antidote