Recently, the popular match-making app Tinder has become less about forming potential relationships and more about scoping out casual hookups, especially on campus.
With thousands of young and eager college students all within a five mile radius of each other, a hookup is only a right swipe away for those in need of a quick fix, but is it worth putting other potential genuine relationships in jeopardy?
University of Wisconsin-Madison student and former Tinder user Paige doesn’t think so, having had her fair share of less than pleasant romantic experiences thanks to Tinder, she swore off the app just recently.
“I realized that Tinder was the root of a lot of my issues when it came to relationships, especially with trust. The guys I was meeting in-person didn’t trust me because I had Tinder and I didn’t trust the guys I met on Tinder because I didn’t know who or how many people they were talking to besides me,” Paige said.
While some may argue that mindlessly swiping on Tinder profiles is harmless, the argument still stands for the damage the overall intent of the swiping does to forming in-person relationships. The excitement of meeting someone naturally and making a genuine connection can be so easily crushed by finding out that the charming boy you met at the coffee shop was swiping right on prospects for his night out just before you met.
“This was the main reason I deleted my Tinder account. I realized how much of a turn off it was when I found out the guy I liked had Tinder so I figured it had to be a two-way street,” Paige explained.
The same can be said for meeting someone in any organic situation. Finding out that someone you know has Tinder is equivalent to finding their bawdy alter-ego that you never really wanted to meet, but now it’s in front of you and has to be analyzed, bio and all.
“When I find out that someone has Tinder I assume it’s either a joke or they want hookups, there’s not much of an in between, especially at college. Mine was mostly for jokes but you can definitely tell who wants what based on their account,” Paige said.
Tinder also puts a strain on budding romance by placing an emphasis on sex too early in the relationship. This can be damaging if you know the person you like has Tinder, and suddenly it feels like you’re in last place because you didn’t meet them on the basis of hooking up like others have. Tricky questions may arise such as, “If I don’t hook up with them will they be less attracted to me?” or “Are they still using the app while we’re talking?” and most torturous of all, “Would they swipe right if they saw me?”
Few, if any, of these concerns may be voiced to a Tinder-using crush in fear of appearing as an over analyzer of a barely concrete relationship. This is the stage where your mind turns into your worst enemy and poses confusing, hurtful questions in your head.
Paige is no stranger to these concerns as she recalls, “I remember questioning myself all the time, and I still catch myself doing it. It’s hard when you’re in a talking phase with someone because these are such vulnerable questions to be asking and you don’t want to ruin anything.”
Despite being an ex-Tinder user for over a month now, Paige still finds herself thinking about the app in her relationships, “I think because I know how the app works I am actually more paranoid about it. I know how exciting it is to get a new match and slide into their DM’s. That being said, it also sucks to know that the person you like can be feeling and doing the same thing and there’s nothing you can do about it,” she explains.
If there’s no predetermined exclusivity in a budding relationship, then what gives you the right to be mad over DM’s of your almost-partner talking to other people? Technically nothing. And just like that, emotional damage has entered the chat. You suppress the feeling of betrayal in order to save some face, but it still shows in forms of jealousy and neglect which are lethal to delicate relationships.
Many people have Tinder as a joke and rarely follow through with interactions made on the app. At most, their DM’s contain pickup lines of bad taste followed by meaningless conversations and an exchange of Snapchats that usually cease after a week or two. Still, the intentions behind this new era of Tinder are hard to ignore, especially for those looking for something real and meaningful, which is proving to be a rarity in a college campus dominated by hookup culture.
Paige is still on the hunt for a meaningful relationship, but is glad Tinder isn’t in her way, “I want to feel the refreshment of meeting someone whose motive behind a relationship isn’t just sex and I have a hard time believing that I will find someone like that on Tinder.”
There’s no shame in a casual hookup, but next time consider how its origins affect your relationships outside of the bedroom.