Light My Fire

Tinder needs to be approached with either a grain of salt, or persistent effort; it’s hard to find a middle ground. Since its conception in 2012, Tinder has become a somewhat revolutionary social networking/”dating” mobile app. The repercussions of the way technology is changing the modern dating scene are in no way dire, however to some of us, they’re disheartening.

For most, it’s a “dating” app, but in the spectrum of traditional face-to-face dating or internet dating websites gone mobile like RSVP and OkCupid, it falls into the grey area. I’m sure there are plenty of success stories of boyfriends and girlfriends who met via Tinder, but it’s more known for its hook-up scene. Tinder is commonly and openly used.

Some of my friends recently decided to join Tinder and told me maybe I should try it too. I tried Tinder when it first came out and found it full of base hook ups and guys who didn’t want to talk. However, over two years later it has definitely matured into an interesting hybrid of hook-up-app-meets-conventional-dating. People are a lot more open and talkative, and the stereotype of Tinder being “just for sex is” not as prevalent. For the most part, people seem genuine and interesting. It does need to be taken with a grain of salt for its actual concept: the superficial process of picking a book by its cover and not much else.

People are very, very casual on tinder. From open relationships to friends with benefits, you’ll find it in some shape or form. However for all those single guys and gals like myself, Tinder has quickly become the only viable dating application on the market. Tinder is free (although recently there’s been the introduction of limited likes or “swiping right”, in favour of people purchasing Tinder Plus), it’s accessible and conveniently operates on your Facebook profile by integrating your friends lists, profile photos and interests. It has by far the largest pool of people when it comes to dating apps, (in contrast to OkCupid which has fifty women in Canberra to however many hundreds of men.

Tinder has its ups and downs; on the plus side it’s made for the younger generation who are by default fairly carefree and casual. There’s no obligations and you are only contactable by those you have mutually swiped right for. But therein lies the problems: you have no obligations to anyone and they have none to you. This sets the scene for a limited and detached connection. People get easily bored by others and are offered so much variety and choice that it becomes easy to “shop” around. Social cues are all but gone and conversations generally progress to the point of boredom because you’ve already learnt everything about someone’s life or you forget which person you’ve been talking to. The worst, is the ambiguity. But maybe that’s a reflection of life; we really don’t know what we’re looking for.

Investing time in a stranger may sound somewhat weird to people, but on Tinder it’s the only way of moving forward. But investing time in the art of getting to know someone over a tiny keyboard and screen can be draining and often ends in nothing. Or you can play the game and unmatch people as quickly as you matched them. So how do you reconcile Tinder? Do you become as casual and never make meaningful connections or do you continue to persist and feel used? I’m not quite sure yet if there’s light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s certainly an alternative for those of us who don’t get to meet people because of circumstance. In a world where social media and technology has taken over, it’s few and far between for the genuine meeting of new people and forging of a meaningful connection.

If this is one of the many ways that modern dating is progressing, it’s no longer a place to wear your heart on your sleeve. Stay open minded, invest but don’t over-invest and know when its game-over.