If you have ever given the online dating realm a chance, then you've shared in my frustration with the entire industry.
No matter what cute name each company wishes to use while referring to its users, the experience ends up being identical: You play a quick game of Hot or Not, maybe read the lazily crafted bio (or lack thereof), and attempt to start an increasingly awkward conversation. This is where we as users run into the main problem, there are too many options to keep our interest in just one individual. While waiting for the first reply, we've already moved back to the masses, searching endlessly for that perfect person who checks every arbitrary box we've so haphazardly created.
A few of my biggest concerns are these:
Big Data - At this point, all of us should be well aware that companies are making billions of dollars off of every click we make while connected to the internet. Every right swipe, left swipe, Super Like, and In-App Purchase is stored on servers. This information is used to create a pin-point accurate profile of how we think, and what attributes we're into. Now I'm all for creating the best platforms we possibly can, but I still can't get past the fact that these companies are slowly mapping our brains.
Online Dating Superstars - Each of us has that friend who can swipe on any profile and get a match practically every time. They tend to be the same individuals who rack up thousands of likes on every Instagram post. Conversely, no matter how funny or original your opener is, it feels like the chances of receiving a reply are slim to none. I've personally watched a close friend start her Tinder account, and get over 200 likes in less than twenty minutes. NO ONE has time to read through all that thirst. Additionally, many of these online accounts are fake or have been completely inactive for a long time. Just this week, I saw my friend's account pop up in my queue; she has not even had the app downloaded on her phone for two years...
In-App Purchases - I can not overstate my personal annoyance regarding this topic. Just to stand out (slightly) and use a "Super Like" you want to charge me two dollars per like?? Come on Bumble. I'm all for going the extra mile in the game of love, but at least offer a package system like Tinder. This "Purchase Love" concept gets so out of hand that the majority of the dating services are not even usable without some type of monthly membership. These can range from the price of a pizza to EHarmony level - $130 for three months, or $400 per year. Yes, I know that most people will say, "those are the professional services and offer a higher chance of meeting a long-term match." Well, I can tell you from my own personal experience, all of the issues above are just as prevalent on membership based services as well. On top of that, there is a website which charge men more, or simply don't charge women at all.
Knock Knock.. No One is Home. The absolute strongest opinion that I have on this matter is that your best match is probably not even on any of these sites. The most kind-hearted, honest, and attractive individuals I know, don't use a single one of these services. Their genuine and outgoing natures offer them plenty of opportunities in their everyday lives. This observation brings me to what I believe is the best dating option we all have, just living your life and taking the punches as they come.
We all feel lonely sometimes. We all feel like we need help finding or perfect match, so these services can be extremely tempting. At the end of the day, each of us realizes that the interactions are often not genuine and the connections are fleeting. Some of the best connections I have formed have come from simply turning around while in line at Harper's and making a silly comment to a stranger, or chatting with someone who's half studying at Starbucks. So from now on, instead of spending your money on dating app memberships, trying buying a coffee for the cute boy in line behind you, or a rose for that smart girl in your class (but do not give it to her IN CLASS). Sure, getting turned down sucks more than getting ghosted online, but maybe you can make some great new friends in the process, or even just make someone's day. Keep spreading love where you can, and love will find its way back to you one day.