I’m someone who has been on dating apps for at least three years. I have been through every single ups and downs that come with using the “apps” when trying to meet someone new.
When I look back on my experiences using dating apps, I often wonder and think to myself, “Why did I act the way I did?” or “Did he not like me?” It becomes inevitable as a young female in this digital age today to think about how the messages we send and receive are perceived back and forth between us and the other person.
I want to start off by saying that all apps are different, just how all the guys or girls we meet or match with are. Some apps allow us to express ourselves and what we have to offer more, while others not so much. I think the greatest thing about using these apps is that it allows us to have this identity when we’re using the apps. The identity can be fake or natural, but what matters is us being able to portray ourselves in a completely different way, from what we may be like in person.
Dating apps start with consistency. There is a consistency between the amount of likes we get, the amount of people we match with, and the number of swipes we have per day. For some dating apps like Coffee Meets Bagel or those that are more similar to “online dating sites”, they require you to pay just to be able to use the app more and put yourself out there more. I think this consistency is one of the problems with dating apps.
How do we express true selves when there is a screen between us and the other person? How do we feel comfortable wanting to pay to be able to talk to a match more? It all falls hand in hand with the way the digital world wants us to use our money and even “purchase” our relationships and the connections we make.
As someone who experiences social anxiety, dating apps make it even more difficult for me when it comes to meeting the match in person. Social anxiety takes a whole new toll when it comes to meeting a stranger for the first time, nonetheless someone you might have a romantic interest in. Dating apps, such as Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel are geared to have us connect with our match, exchange info, and meet up with them in person. For Coffee Meets Bagel, the app allows a certain window of time between the moment you match with the person, until the time limit for the conversation has expired (signaling it is time to pay to talk to the person more or exchange info and meet them in person).
All of this can take a toll on our mental and emotional well being. Even amidst the other things going on in our lives, it may be anxiety provoking to have to worry about whether a conversation that we really liked or where we clicked with a match pretty well is going to expire soon.
We only have so much time to navigate the relationships we have online through dating apps. There will always be a certain limit, certain standard for which we are placed into, in order to attain a connection with another person.