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Like many other people my age, I’ve been hit by the wonderful (and, at times, not so wonderful) world of Internet dating. Gone are the old-fashioned days of bumping into ‘the one’ in real life and realising it was love at first sight—or perhaps that was only ever in 1950s romcoms. Tinder is particularly popular, but I find myself asking time and time again whether it’s possible to enter a happy relationship with someone you’ve met through an app.
The only serious relationship that can come out of Tinder… pic.twitter.com/ry05mKfBxE
— OpinionPanel (@OpinionPanelEd) August 9, 2016
I’ve been on and off Tinder for just over a year now, and to say some of my experiences have been rather interesting would be an understatement. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I joined—I just knew it was a dating app that really seemed to be blowing up. I wasn’t particularly fond of judging people based on pictures alone, but I downloaded the app nonetheless.
For a while, guys were really nice. I got stuck into a few conversations and there was no pressure whatsoever. As time went on, the odd guy would ask if I was interested in going for a drink, though at this point meeting in person wasn’t something I was particularly keen on. I continued to use the app for two or three months before deleting it.
Fast-forward a few months down the line: now in my first year at university, it seemed as if everyone around me was getting into relationships. I started to hear all these stories about a friend of a friend who had gone for a few drinks with a guy from Tinder and now they were looking at holidays together. I was definitely a little jealous, so it was back to the app store, armed with a bunch of hot new selfies and ready to find my own Prince Charming . . . or so I’d hoped.
The guys I matched with were sending vulgar messages like “You DTF?”
Tinder seemed to have changed an insane amount since I’d last used it. Although I was getting more matches, the guys seemed different. It was like all the sweet guys that had once been known to roam around the app had turned into horny little wild animals. More and more frequently, the guys I matched with were sending vulgar messages like “You DTF?”
The worst of all are guys who refer to my skin colour. It still shocks me how often it happens; only recently a guy said “I’ve never slept with a black girl, am I missing out? I feel like I am.” Obviously I shut him down right then because FYI someone’s skin colour doesn’t make a difference, but it’s shocking how many guys think this is acceptable to ever say to someone. Comments like these are what really make me believe Tinder can never be for more than people just looking to hook up.
I did, however, have a ‘I could see a relationship coming out of this’ moment back in January. A guy and me randomly hit it off over a mutual like for Marketing. We talked and talked and I couldn’t help but feel like something really special was blossoming; we eventually met up and it was just as great as I’d hoped it would be. Sadly it’s no longer, but it was an experience that’s made me not rule out the idea of dating someone from Tinder. One of my friends is also now in a relationship with someone she’s met through the app, so I guess I can’t keep thinking everyone’s just in it for the sex.
I feel like in the UK we’re big on ‘hook-up culture’, and I know people will always be into hook-ups, but I’d like to think that in the future Tinder will become a platform for more serious relationships. I know the app probably won’t change drastically, but hopefully it won’t be as difficult for a relationship to come out of it—if that’s what you’re looking for. However, Tinder culture isn’t for everyone, and meeting a partner offline is something I’d like to hope people will ultimately revert back to.