Hello My Name is Michael and I’m a Tinder Addict

Can we build a relationship with someone we meet on a dating app?

So much has changed since the matchmaking era of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like in any other field, technology plays a big role with the change we are experiencing in the dating space. When I say technology, I don’t mean the latest sex robot but rather all dating apps. Technology is giving us possibilities and opportunities that are otherwise harder to access. However, this is a perfect example for why balancing its use, is key.

A recent conversation with a close friend challenged me to see if I am correct, are the dating apps another great tool provided by technology as long as we use them in moderation?

Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, TestBuds, Happn, Coffee Meets Bagel, The league, Bumble, and the latest by Facebook, are just some of the *dating apps available today. They allow us to meet so many amazing people, people outside our existing circles. Moving to a new city, I don’t need to wait for a friend to make an introduction for me so I can meet new people. I also don’t have to sign up for a community cooking/art class to do so. All I need is my phone and an app for that. Now, I have an option to meet people I see relevant, without leaving my home.

It comes as no surprise to me that statistics show online dating as the most popular way for people to meet these days. But from my understanding people aren’t just using those apps for romantic reasons. As I mentioned, some move to a new city and would like to meet more people, some are visiting and don’t want to spend the evening alone, some look for a “hookup”, and some of course look for “the one”.

Browsing on the app, one can find (almost) endless pool of people he or she should meet. Swiping right and left until he/she finds a match. Notice I wrote, until we “find a match” not until we run out of people. That feeling of having endless possibilities, endless pool of people to choose from, may result with us not “stopping to smell the roses”. Not giving the person we just met our full devoted attention and skipping to the next “match” before giving them a fair chance isn’t a good thing.

There are 7.5 Billion people on the planet, but only a fraction will be relevant for us. It’s a simple math, eliminate by appearance, age, gender, religion, location and more, you should not be left with many options. But yet, the app shows as if we do.

The average user opens Tinder 11 times a day. Meaning, we keep on coming back for more, more matches. Is it because we didn’t find the one? Is it because we do not want to compromise? Or is it because of something else?

One person I spoke with asked me if “when I interview people for a job I continue interviewing the other candidates even after finding the relevant one?”. To be honest, sometimes I do and sometimes I do not. I want to keep my options open. What if along the way that candidate will change his/her mind? What if I discover a problem with this match?

Do you think finding the “one” for a job is equivalent to finding the “one” you want to date and/or spend the rest of your life with? Should you keep your options open when you think you found what you are looking for?

In my view, this is a matter of the heart not matters of a job description.

Like checking all job candidates, Tinder, for example, will continue sending us people we match with 24–48 hours later. One man told me he was on the app for a while, setting up his dates for the upcoming week, but a day later the app sent with notifications for new additional matches. I asked him if he responds to the new matches. His answer was “of course, what if I don’t and I miss my one true love?”. But what if because we keep that option open we miss on the option standing right in-front of us?

Dating apps like any other app is racing for our attention. Tristan Harris discuss the “variable schedule reward”. This is the action that gets us constantly swiping right and left to see if we got a match. Across the board, males and females said, “I spend hours on those app”, each for different reasons. “I will always at the back of my head wonder who else is out there that the app thinks I should see…”. Should dating be as using a slot machine?

On the other hand, a recent survey done on 2017, reported 19% of brides meeting their significant other through online dating. So the problem may not be the app rather than by us not using it in moderation. My word of advise. If you swiped right and end up on a date, be yourself, be honest, and give that person your full undivided attention. Don’t think of the other opportunities that you may see tomorrow, this one might be the winning card.

So the next time you open one of the dating up on your phone, try and do the following:

  1. Stop and smell the roses. When you go on a date after swiping left & right, don’t think of the others that may be the option for tomorrow. Give the one you are with your full attention and a fair chance. Don’t check other alternatives, keep your app closed for at least 48 hours before checking other options.
  2. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality. No need to swipe for hours, try limit your time on the app and expand your time with the people. How about using the app every other day vs every day?

I wrote from my experience in the field of balancing screen time and from interviewing so many people (single, married, straight, gay, young, and not so young) but it’s not everyone. I would love to hear your thoughts too. Please share your insights & whether you agree or disagree with me in the comment section!

Thanks.

* I know not all dating apps are the same, and each cater a different need. The idea was to show why balancing is key. Which I am sure you & the app creators will agree.