I often compare dating apps to a bag of potato chips. It looks pretty harmless when you first see it, but then once you try it, it reveals its power of addiction. When you first take a bite of a potato chip, you immediately feel satisfied and relieved of your hunger, but it's not too long until you realize that you have already eaten a whole bag of it.
Dating apps are like the bag of potato chips' successor. Although one is food and the other one is an app on a phone, they have a lot of similarities. They both manifest in the fact that they are trying to get the person to use them more. They both have the ultimate goal of wanting to make them seem irresistible to the person using or eating them.
I, for one, like to think of myself as a subservient to both (well, who can resist a bag of potato chips). But one in particular has been affecting the way I think about my life and how I view things, in particular. That "one" is the dating app.
There is nothing inherently wrong with dating apps. They do the job of trying to get us connected with people who we might have fantasized about in our wildest dreams and maybe even help us find a weekend getaway or even more. Dating apps have been around for a long time and I think this is one of the reasons why they have existed, especially even after a pandemic. They help bring our fantasies and wishes of hoping to find that special spark, alive.
However, if I were to reinvent the dating app in some way or another, I would eliminate the addiction part about it. Although dating apps can be a fun way to relieve stress after a long day at work or even for a short lunch break, it also comes with its own set of "stressors." I like to believe that the people who invented dating apps didn't initially want dating apps to be a "stressor" to the people who are using them. When people first created the dating app, they wanted to highlight its capability of bringing connections to life and helping form those beforehand. The people who created dating apps didn't want to create problems, but actually wanted to eliminate them.
We can't eliminate something that has been created and mutated into the system of dating apps and the interactions in the app, but we can try to avoid some tell-tale signs of these "variances" that have manifested itself into the modern dating app.
Know what you are looking for when you first start using the app -It's a given that we should know what we are going into, before we dip our toes in the water. The same goes for dating apps. We have to know what it is that we individually want from these apps and if we can find it. The dating app can connect us to people, but if we can't find what we are looking for, it becomes useless to stay and continue using the app.
Be accepting of the outcomes during the time spent using the app -Now, this one is much easier said than done. It is hard to not feel even the slightest bit bad when we realize that we are being ghosted or that we are having trouble finding meaningful connections on the app. But we are not being asked to resist the feeling, but to just accept the outcomes and what may happen while on our journey with the dating app. Not everything in a journey with something is going to be all rainbows and butterflies. There will be a few light drizzle of rain and even possibly times of a drought. But the most important is to be accepting of those conditions/circumstances and to realize that this isn't yet the final destination.
Look for the connections, not the people-Although in the end, especially for those dating apps that are more targeted towards people looking for serious relationships (i.e. Bumble, Hinge), the goal may be to have found that special someone, it is not the inherent "close" reality of the situation. Because it takes time to build connections with the people we meet on the apps, it also takes time to find that special someone. And because connections can also become lost or buried, it makes the job harder. It is helpful to think of going into a dating app as a large gathering or a social event. You know that you probably won't make friends "immediately," but you will still have a chance of forming connections with people. "Connections" and "People" should be thought of as two different things, although they can be thought of interchangeably.
KNOW yourself that your special someone is waiting for you out there somewhere-This may feel extremely far-fetched if we are at the point of frustration and desperation of not having anyone to talk to on the app or not having matched with anyone that we see as the "ideal partner." But this is also the reality that we need to believe. Not all dating apps are meant to secure a person for us. There are twists and turns that can make us doubt if it is the app's purpose to help us find someone. But it isn't the app's purpose to make us think that the special someone isn't waiting for us, if we are not using the app.