So about three or four weeks ago, I downloaded Tinder.
Like I stated on my profile, I just wanted to know what the hype (aka all I was somehow reading on Thought Catalog and Elite Daily… when I still read articles there) was all about. At first, I was pretty hesitant about swiping people (left if I didn’t like what I saw, right if I did), but eventually I caved in. After all, I wouldn’t know if the app worked without exercising my fingers.
At first, I told myself it was a social experiment. Then, I told myself I’ll delete the app as soon as this dude I thought was cute matched with me. (I didn’t do that. In fact, we didn’t even talk after we matched… which is a pity, because I thought his tagline was pretty witty.)
I was so excited about getting my first match that I actually took a screenshot of it… though the guy turned out to not have much to talk about with me. But it was my first match, and somehow I felt a little proud of myself in a strange way… Like “Hey, guess what, Georgia? You’re not that bad… You can be cute to people you don’t even know.”
After I got a little more matches, conversations started with some guys — one of them turned out to be a pretty nice guy who thought the app was for making friends, and who looked cute with his girlfriend, another turned out to be a junior of mine from secondary school. Yet another one was friends with most of what I had dubbed “my people”, and while I actually met him once two years ago, but I didn’t really know him beyond that meeting.
Sometimes the conversation never went beyond the superficial — you know, things like the weather, or what you did that day. Other times, I actually found people whom I could talk to and carry a conversation with. (Kinda like what happens IRL, actually.) I took those conversations off Tinder after a while.
The dude with the girlfriend had pretty interesting stories to tell, and my junior and some guy who used to stay in my hall but I’d never met could carry pretty decent conversations. It was interesting to meet people whom I could have known but somehow never crossed paths with, so I didn’t mind exchanging contacts.
Out of curiosity, I looked at the girls on Tinder, and found that, for some reason, they were all very pretty. Some of them even shared similar interests, which made me think that we would be really good friends if we met in real life. But I never went beyond looking at their profiles — Tinder was, after all, a “dating app” so I didn’t think any one of them would “swipe right” for me.
But I quickly became disillusioned with Tinder… After the first week of excitement and the second week of enchantment, it felt more and more like I was swiping right for the validation that I would get — that by getting a match with the guys I thought were either interesting or kinda cute, I was somehow good enough or pretty enough (according to my photos anyway) for someone. (Which… I mean. Why do I have to be “pretty enough” for someone anyway? What is up with that mindset.)
I didn’t get over 2000 matches, of course… Maybe because I was a bit more picky… trying, for the most part, to see if I could have known the person from somewhere, or if I had enough similar interests with people, but it soon became evident that I would get a match every time I swiped right.
Now, I don’t think that that was evidence of how “attractive” I am (because that’s a narcissistic thought), but how long I haven’t swiped anyone in order to try to keep my conversations with these guys to a minimum. Or rather, the people I actually had a conversation with, and not those that kind of just died off after a while.
But I still got that ego boost from getting a match so quickly.
And it made me sick.
Supposedly, a girl would feel good about all the attention she was getting, right?
I didn’t. It felt more like I was juggling all these people whom I barely knew… and while I might not have a romantic interest in all of them (and vice versa), it felt too overwhelming.
Then came the straw that broke it all. A guy I swiped right simply because he liked Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter. It helped that his eyes seemed to smile in that last photo. And I thought, “Wow. Someone who actually read something that I absolutely adore. I must talk to him.”
Other than my group of friends from my Polytechnic days and my current fellow English Literature Majors, I never really met guys who read. So that was a huge plus for me.
He was a little too forward for my liking. (And that’s a gross understatement… Not going to go into any details. Sorry.)
So I finally did what I had been thinking of doing the day after downloading the app: I deleted it (after a warning that I would “lose all my matches” if I deleted the account — I didn’t care, after all, I was already talking to the new friends I made on other platforms). It was partly because I didn’t feel up to continuing a conversation where a guy tried to hit on me with every sentence he typed, and partly because I didn’t want to feel validated by my “matches” anymore.
I wanted to be more than my photos and my little tagline… because I am more than that. And they, all of these guys I matched with — even the one who read Pride and Prejudice and actually liked it (respect for that, really) — are more than that too.
Yes, in real life, we do pass quick judgements on people — God only knows I do that even though I try my best to get to know people first — but I didn’t want to be subjected to making judgements on people I’ve never even seen before every time I opened an app on my phone.
This isn’t to say that you can’t find true love from Tinder… that can happen anywhere and anytime, really, no matter if you’re on or offline. So go for it — for anything that might bring you happiness in love. Be a little more discerning with your matches and you just might find someone you’re interested in and who is interested in you.
But, at least for me, I’d rather cut off the huge ego-enhancing growth than hold on tightly to it in order to find a connection… Because all it succeeded in doing was making me feel bad about myself because of how ego-centric it all was. (And, I’ll admit, finding some interesting people to talk to.)
Perhaps I need a little break from all of these “dating” shenanigans — online or offline — for a while, and find that it is more than okay (in fact it is really awesome in the “awesome” sense of the word) to not be on a mission to find someone to fall in love with all the time.
Because as important as finding a life partner may be, it is just as (if not more) important to find yourself: know what you want to do with your life, what makes you happy, how you can love and care for the people who are already around you.
And that, as I’m starting to find out, is what makes me truly happy.
A loving romantic relationship? For now, that is a bonus I’m looking forward to receiving in the future. And well, I am more than happy to wait for it.