This year marked my third, and final summer using dating apps. As someone that considers herself a romantic, someone that wants real, lasting love, I can honestly say dating apps are the absolute worst.
Not only do they set people up for disappointment (yes, he IS talking to other girls), they give us a false sense of what dating should ACTUALLY be like. Dating apps have made people that much more afraid to approach someone in person. They’ve managed to make us forget the value of human emotion. We’ve forgotten that our actions do affect the lives of others. That is does matter how we handle the relationships in our lives, whether they’re “serious” or not.
You only see what people want you to see, which usually isn’t the truth.
People are already excellent liars in person, but put them behind a screen? Good luck figuring out if the picture you’re looking at is even the person you’re talking to. Trust me, there’s a very successful show all about it.
What a football field is to a professional athlete, a dating app is to a player. It’s the easiest place for the game to be played. There’s no accountability. No obligation to be honest. You just type up whatever you want people to think you’re like and BOOM. Watch the matches roll in.
Sign up for a dating app and you’ll meet a million guys that love to hike and think Jim and Pam are the end-all-be-all of ~couple goals~. You’re looking for a relationship? OMG, so are they! You like classic rock? Whoa, no way, they do, too! Your favorite show is New Girl? Wait, this is so weird, that’s THEIR favorite show!
All the while, they’re just seeing how long they can chase you before they get you into bed, they’ve never even heard a Rolling Stones album all the way through, and they don’t know any hilarious Schmidt references. Lame.
They’re much better suited for people embracing hookup culture, not people looking for love.
Dating apps, whether intended to be or not, are shallow. You see someone’s picture, maybe you read their bio, and you swipe left or right. You can’t get a feel for their vibe. You can’t see their unique mannerisms, how their eyes light up when they see a dog pass by, or the little happy dance they do when their food arrives at the table. You just see a picture and voiceless words. That’s it. That’s all you have to go off of.
That’s fine for someone looking to hookup, but for someone looking for a real, committed relationship, a shallow approach just isn’t the way to go. You want real connection. You want to feel that spark when you meet. You want to feel the butterflies and the rush of chemistry between the two of you. Finding that in text on a screen is something I have yet to do.
You’re expected to be ok with everyone dating multiple people at once, reinforcing the idea that people are disposable.
It is assumed when you meet someone on an app that they’re talking to more people than just you. The last guy I met on an app made a joke about me talking to other guys and I assured him I wasn’t. His response? “I mean even if you were, it wouldn’t bother me.” What?!
Imagine you’re at the grocery store and someone you find attractive approaches you. You two get to talking and are really enjoying each other’s company. Suddenly, they say, “I’d love to see you again! Let’s make plans for this weekend. Although, I hope you don’t mind, I’m actually talking to two other girls.” You would drop all your groceries, drive to your best friend’s house, and bust down the door to rant to her about the guy that had the AUDACITY to say that to you.
That’s exactly what you’re expected to be ok with when you enter the dating world through an app. There is no exclusivity whatsoever, no matter how long you’ve been seeing someone. In the app, you’re disposable. Everyone is one swipe away from finding someone “better.” At the drop of a hat, you could end up being someone’s second, third, or fourth choice. There is nothing more damaging to our society’s overall self-esteem than training us to think we mean so little in comparison to others.
PS: They made an entire FRIENDS episode about this. Remember when Phoebe was dating the fireman and the teacher and they were seriously hurt when they found out she was dating them both? You know why? BECAUSE THAT’S SUPER HURTFUL AND NOT ACTUALLY NORMAL DATING BEHAVIOR. STOP PRETENDING IT’S OK TO PLAY WITH PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS. IT’S NOT.
It’s nearly impossible to take things slow. Everyone reveals far too much, far too fast.
One of the hardest things about dating, for me at least, is taking things slow. I fall hard and I fall fast. Meeting someone on an app is so fast-paced, you’re basically speed dating. It feels nearly impossible to take things slow.
The fast-paced, multiple-conversation culture of dating apps encourages telling your life story to a total stranger in hopes they’ll stop swiping long enough to ask you on a real date. One pick-up line and two smiley-face emojis later, you’ve shared what you do for a living, what you’re looking for in a relationship, your biggest regret, how many people you’ve slept with, and your deepest hopes and dreams. It’s a dizzying amount of information from/for someone you haven’t even met in person.
If you’re in a coffee shop and some handsome stranger waltzes up and says, “If nothing lasts forever… will you be my nothing?” You can’t honestly tell me you’d give him any more time than it takes to tell him to buzz off. Even if you did, could you imagine his very next question being, “So, how long do you usually wait to have sex with someone?”
If you wouldn’t tolerate it out in the real world, why would you entertain that same situation online?
There’s good news though…
This is not to say there aren’t some good people to be found on dating apps. Some people actually have found their soulmate on an app. I’m not saying it’s not possible. I am saying it’s not the only way.
Personally, I was afraid to give the apps up for a while because I thought it was my only chance at meeting anyone. Realistically, I know the right person is out there for me. Maybe he’s on a dating app, maybe he’s not. Regardless, God will find a way to bring us together when the time is right. No apps necessary. The same is true for you.
The right things will come into your life at the right time. You don’t have to go seeking out love because love will always find you. So, in the meantime, keep working on yourself, enjoy the moment you’re in, and for the love of all things good and holy, delete the dating apps.