Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid: they're easy to use, convenient to keep around, and yet they seem to only sprout more problems than they solve. I know it's 2018 and there are already plenty of articles written on this subject, but this article wants to identify the reasons you've been keeping these apps and all their baggage in your back pocket.
Each person is different and there are some use these apps in strategic ways, but for those of you looking for any sort of sign or reason to unplug, this one's for you.
I get it, college is time where everyone's life is in motion and none of the chips have fallen yet. Sometimes you just want to meet up with someone fast at a bar and get some rancid drink down your throat until you both count down the sociably acceptable measures of time until you can take off to your place or theirs.
Or, at least, the lucky ones have quasi-normal meetups and hookups like this. Essentially, if you're seeking something casual and non-committal, a dating app is good for an easy solution to this. However, what's also pretty good is just going to the bar and engaging in the art of small talk and flirting with someone who you didn't have to message during the awkward daylight hours.
On the other hand, if you are seeking a relationship with commitment, you may be giving anecdotal evidence too much of a weigh-in on your decision. If you know you're ready to share your affection and emotions with another person, a flick of your thumb might not be the best way to go about it.
At least if your first encounter with a stranger happens in a social setting, where nonverbal messages and vocal tones can enter into the equation, you know you have their full attention. Whereas on a dating app, the odds are that neither of you stopped shuffling through your decks.
Even better: once you matched you stopped swiping and actively turned off your card so you can devote yourself to this one person. In a face-to-face interaction, you already know whether this person you're speaking with has been hitting on every other specimen on two legs.
Unfortunately, dating apps have been set up like this from their conception, because human beings like options and more importantly, we like to feel like we have game. We like to be reminded that we don't actually need to have these accounts, but the fear of being single for too long is crippling and downright hurtful to our identities.
The central kernel of the dating app oyster is to feel like a fun and interesting way to meet people you wouldn't otherwise, and having an account on a college campus can connect you to intelligent, driven people around your age. The appeal is certainly there, but people spend hours on these sites not because they want to actually go on a date with 12 matches, or even message them after the first night.
Let's be honest, it's a lot easier and even intimate to wait on someone we know through classes, sports, or our clubs to strike up a conversation with than it is to talk to strangers online. And if you choose to keep using these apps, at the bare minimum do not pay for them, get a half-decent hobby instead.