Here’s the single biggest issue all of us have when it comes to dating: Meeting new people.
Think about it. For a normal healthy adult – if he or she could regularly meet new single people, I’d say he/she could find a partner pretty soon. The problem is that most single people are too stuck in their work, daily routines and social circles – that it’s rare to even meet one single new person a week.
Let’s be honest here. I consider myself pretty open minded – but even during my single days, I never registered myself on a single online dating website.
Why? Because there’s still a certain stigma about online dating. If you think about it logically – it’s silly and irrational. Why should we be ashamed of tools that help us connect with other people? Nonetheless, for most people – the stigma remains:
“I don’t need online dating to find a date.”
“What if my colleagues or friends see me? It’s so embarrassing.”
In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Tinder is the hottest dating app in the world right now. It’s claimed to have made more than half a billion matches – in just over a year. It’s the most used dating app on Facebook. And more importantly, it’s passed the ultimate test in dating: it doesn’t feel creepy or weird.
Everyone who has used it tells me it’s fun.
Let me repeat that again. The genius of Tinder is that it has made it fun. Instead of self-doubting thoughts of “am I really so desperate that I need to resort to online dating” – it becomes as simple and addictive as a wonderful game. Watch out, Candy Crush.
More crucially, it seems to have been adopted by scores of women, passing another age-old test of “cool or not?” No one wants to go to sausage fest party full of desperate men. (Especially if you’re a desperate man).
How it Works
Download and install the app for free (for both iOS and Android). Sign in through Facebook*. Then upload some good looking pictures and write some information describing yourself and your interests.
Really simple so far right? Now you get to choose what kind of people you’d be interested to meet. Choose the age range (18-55+) and how far away you want them to be (1km – 100km). That’s right – you can now search for single, ready to mingle people who are within jogging distance.
Once everything is set up, you’ll start seeing pictures of potential mates showing up. Swipe left to send him/her to the “not interested” bin, and swipe right if you’re interested.
Don’t worry – no one will know if you rejected him/her. And likewise, you won’t know if you show up in someone’s screen but they swipe left. Neither will any one of you know if there’s a one-sided like.
The magic happens when two people swipe right for each other. Then the app allows the two of you to start chatting.
It’s called the “double opt-in” concept. So no more unsolicited messages from creepy people you have no interest in. You only get to talk to people who have already shown interest in you, and you have shown interest in too.
And thus Tinder brought an end to one of mankind’s biggest fears: rejection.
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Note that Tinder has a reputation of being a “hookup” app. Not in your face like the now renamed Bang With Friends, but nonetheless a it has a reputation of being a place where people hook up for casual relationships instead of serious love. So, if you’re a lady – don’t be surprised if you get propositioned almost immediately by guys looking for casual flings.
The founders of Tinder are working hard to dispel that notion though. Indeed, when the app first started – most of the users were of college-attending age, but other age groups have since joined in the fun. Tinder also works to remove sex workers from using their service.
So if you’re out for something serious, make it known from the start. And if things go well with chatting and you’re progressing to meet – remember to keep on the safe side. Let a friend know where you’re headed, check in on Foursquare, and let your meeting place be somewhere public.
The End of Dating As We Know It?
Personally, I have mixed feelings about Tinder. On one hand, the way it simplifies the process of meeting people makes it feel like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Think about the amount of time and effort one could save! It’s also successfully taken away the stigma of online dating, and more importantly – has hordes of attractive young users on it.
On the other hand, the way it can kill rejection makes me wistful. No one likes rejection – but surely being rejected when pursuing women is part of what it means to be a man?
Thirty years from now (when our ways of dating and courtship have surely evolved further), I’d still want my son and his friends to be brave enough to start a conversation with a lady and ask her for a drink. I wouldn’t want him to constantly hide behind the ego-safety of a double opt-in anonymous liking system. I’d hope that whatever social tools he has at his disposal would make him a better man, instead of a lesser one.
Likewise, if you’re single, and looking for a fun way to meet more people – give Tinder a try. But be careful to not get lost in it because it’s so addictive. And remember – like all other apps, it’s meant to help us in the real world, not take us away from it.
*Tinder’s link to Facebook is important as it only allows people with more than 50 friends to use it. This is to ensure people who use it are genuine people, not cleverly programed Internet bots. The link to Facebook also allows you and your matches to see mutual friends that you have. So you can threaten your potential dates “if you turn out to be a creep, I’m telling <insert mutual friend’s name here> that you’re a pervert”.
**If you’re finding too many Internationals for your liking, you might also want to try the more local flavored Paktor.
***The original version of this article first appeared on Emmagem.