Confession: I’ve swiped to the end of Tinder. In a college town. With thousands of people my age. Multiple times.
You might say I’m picky. To give you an idea of how picky, a few weeks ago, I was joking around with my roommates about it and I wrote a list of my Tinder turnoffs and deal breakers. The grand total? 40.
You read that right. 40 things about a guy on Tinder that will make me swipe left. And those are just things I’ve come across. I’m sure there are more that I just haven’t realized yet. That said, if I like you, you’re probably pretty awesome.
Granted, not every single one of these items was 100 percent serious. I won’t actually refuse to be with someone I really like just because he doesn’t like cats (not liking Disney or the Yankees, though, is another story).
I’ve theorized since joining Tinder about why I’m so picky. Maybe it’s because I’ve been single long enough to know what I’m looking for. Maybe it’s because I’m non-committal. Maybe it’s because I’m just a good enough judge of character to see through six pictures of a guy with his car.
Some people have said I’m wasting my time, and sometimes I think they’re right. I know it’s not realistic to expect a relationship out of Tinder, and I’m not a fan of random hookups. I’m also a hopeless romantic, so the idea of digital dating isn’t exactly my cup of tea. All of this begs the question, is this even worth my time?
The answer? I have no idea. But what I do know is that there are things I’ve learned from Tinder that have nothing to do with relationships. Maybe I’m defeating the purpose of the whole idea, but there are perks to being as picky as I am, even if they have nothing to do with finding a guy.
Tinder has given me the confidence to talk to new people. Despite what many of my friends think, I’m painfully shy and have a very hard time meeting people. I’ve always tended to gravitate toward people I’ve known for a long time, which made Tinder super intimidating in the beginning. After having conversations with a few matches, though, I felt more comfortable recognizing that they’re just people, and we’re just talking.
It’s taught me to value people over attention. There have been times when my profile has been super-liked, and my first instinct has been to swipe right, because how often does that happen? In many ways, though, that wouldn’t be fair to the other person. If I like them, sure, I’ll swipe right. But what if we have nothing in common? What if we live completely different lives and have completely different values? Doesn’t he deserve the respect of not having his time wasted? Doesn’t he deserve the dignity of being liked for who he is, not for the attention he gives?
More importantly, being on a platform where people are actively seeking romantic connections has forced me to examine what my standards are and what I really need in a partner. In a way, Tinder has played a vital role in my journey of learning how to be single. It’s helped me to recognize what I have to offer in a relationship, and to be selective with the people I give it to. It’s OK to say no to someone. It’s OK not to give that attention to someone just because they like you.
I’ve also avoided connecting with people who I know will not help me to be the best person I can be. I’ve had nothing but positive conversations with people I’ve met, and have managed thus far to bypass the people who give Tinder a bad name.
Now, none of this is to say that all the people I swipe left for aren’t good enough. It is also not to say that using Tinder for casual meet-ups and not caring whether you have anything in common is a bad thing. Everyone is on Tinder for a different reason, and that’s perfectly OK.
I may not have found love on Tinder, but I have had nothing but positive experiences with the people I’ve talked to. Settling for less than you know you need has never done anyone any good. Maybe I’m being shallow; maybe it shouldn’t matter if a guy uses the wrong form of “there” in his bio (okay, that one’s actually non-negotiable for me, sorry).
I have a guy friend who has says that girls shouldn’t complain about being single or not being able to find a guy to hook up with. As long as they’re willing to lower their standards, offers will come pouring in. Maybe that’s true. Maybe if I was willing to sacrifice some of my expectations, being on Tinder would be much more fruitful. The fact remains, though, I’ve gotten more out of Tinder by being picky than by lowering my standards for the sake of validation.