I've been single for a little over a year and a half at this point, and while my last relationship is long over and done, I have actively and unashamedly been on a couple of dating apps on-and-off since then. Inevitably, people often question my motive behind using dating apps when I'm "young and pretty and could meet a guy in real life!" Yeah right! Mostly, I use them to talk to new people and see if I develop any kind of connection with someone.
Obviously, other than a handful of new (and surprisingly really close) friends, I've been less than fruitful in my search. But honestly, it's kind of what keeps me coming back. You'd think that after a couple of months, I would have given up and tried to venture out in the real world to search for what I seek - but no.
Initially, I was kind of defeated when I met up with various guys for coffee and it didn't work out, but in a way, I'm kind of happy it didn't, too.
Let's say - hypothetically - that after my first or second try, I met the "love of my life" through Tinder. Though I would have had a new partner and companion to confide in, I would have missed out on meeting and talking to so many new people. Coming out of a long-term relationship, I definitely wasn't ready to dive into a new situation where I'd have to dedicate all of my time and energy to one individual again. Making friends, however, was definitely something I wanted and needed to do.
See, I've always liked the idea of online dating apps as an introvert because I feel like I can get to know someone on a more personal level than if you go to a club or something of that nature. I'm normally not one to go to bars, but I've gone to a few the past month or so (for the first time ever!), and I still declare that it's not a good way to meet someone and talk to them even as friends.
Tinder, for me, has become more of a friend/confidant search tool rather than a dating - or, as it's notoriously known - hook-up app.
Because of Tinder, I've met friends from all across the city - people I'd never have gotten the opportunity to meet or speak to in any other instance. I've made friends who are big hockey fanatics like I am, friends who I discuss religion with, friends who studied English like I did, friends who love classical music as much as I do... I even met my tattoo artist through Tinder!
Truthfully, some of these friendships happened because of a failed attempt at a "romantic" connection, but I can't say I'm unhappy with how things went. When you meet someone in person, it usually wipes away the rose-colored glasses you see them under, and only then can you see you two were better meant as friends. Because of these "failed" connections, I now have an arsenal of awesome guys who are there for me as much as I am for them. We're there for each other in different ways as well. We can discuss dating and romance and things like that without intertwining mixed feelings for each other, which is truly refreshing.
So, as you're reading this, I want you to realize that you shouldn't shy away from Tinder or other dating apps just because you've heard bad things. Like anything, you're going to get out of it what you put into it. I put a lot of effort into my profile, picture choice, and conversations, and I normally get back what I put out into the world. Of course I've gotten creeps and weirdos in spite of how much I try to filter my way past them, but for the most part, people leave you to your own devices unless you're actively seeking a certain type of encounter.
Universally, there's still a stigma around the idea of admitting that we as a generation use apps like Tinder to find dates, love, or fulfill our lustful desires. But frankly, I don't care what people think anymore. I used to be too shy to admit that I use this app, but I found that the more open I am about it, the more I discover a majority of my friends use or have used it in the past as well.
Tinder can be an awesome app for developing friendships, dating, and maybe even finding love.
For me, I've only known the former.
And for now, that's perfectly okay.