Finding a date used to consist of having chance run-ins with someone or a referral by a mutual friend. Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, those seeking love can click a button and be connected to dozens of potential dating options in their area.
Dating apps and online websites have blown the dating pool wide open by allowing anyone to make a profile and start connecting. Apps such as Tinder, Hinge or Bumble have become well-known applications to satiate the love craving. But with such accessibility and ease, have these apps enhanced or worsened the dating experience?
There can be many reasons why people use online dating to find their next romantic encounter. Emme Buhl, senior English major, explained how a breakup prompted her to join dating apps. Supported by her recently single friends and excited to experience the hype, she quickly realized the nuances of online dating.
“There were very few times where a guy would genuinely try and ask you questions,” Buhl said. “A lot of the conversation starters were surface-level, it’d be like, ‘Your eyes are so pretty’ or ‘You’re cute’ and it was kind of like, ‘Where do we go from here?’”
Most of those on the apps come from a fresh breakup. The recent split creates a void of attention, desire and validation, and the newfound absence is a significant factor as to why they swipe right or left, Buhl said. The need to be seen and heard by others transcends dating apps, but they are a large reason for those who continue to circle back.
She later described how some men she spoke to did not hesitate to objectify her and try to quickly meet up, which forced her to question their motives and if they were genuine or not. Understanding the comfort of an online setting, some men say outrageous things that they normally would not say in person. Because of this, Buhl sparingly gets on the apps now.
“When I get sad (I’ll go on them),” Buhl said. “It’s like a phase and if I’m at home and I’m alone with nothing to do, then I’ll get on a dating app and then it never gets anywhere because I delete it.”
One of Buhl’s biggest complaints is that once you meet someone on the dating apps, you begin to see them constantly in real life. She often sees other Lancers online just for them to walk past her on the way to class. She remarked how this is not desirable if the date went wrong or if one of them “ghosted” each other, which happens often in the online dating world.
Emma Wolfzorn, senior interior design major, found her boyfriend of a year on Hinge. Wolfzorn said that her experience has been mixed and she had to meet some “wrong ones” before she met Mr. Right, her boyfriend.
Wolfzorn said she was initially scared off from online dating because her parents spoke badly of them. After moving to California for college, she soon realized the apps were a way to meet new people. But even then, she made sure to be cautious.
“My roommates always knew where I was,” Wolfzorn said. “Every 30 minutes I was texting them an update. It’s really important to be in a public setting when you’re with these people because you know someone can look nice and be a serial killer.”
Shayna Chapman, social media manager and realtor, echoed the sentiment that people should be careful when talking with online suitors, and that these apps are not designed for everyone.
“It’s also very easy for people to paint a different picture of themselves online than how they are in person which can cause a lot of time to be wasted,” Chapman said. “There’s a lot of ingenuity and superficiality involved with dating apps, and the algorithms are more geared toward trying to get you to spend your money than finding a perfect match or tailoring your swipe feed to your actual interests, which require a ton of time being spent.”
Dating apps offer several options for those looking to step into the dating world and have changed the way people approach dating. Whether it is to find a potential significant other or friend, users should take the experience with a grain of salt. Stay mindful of the dating fundamentals, and be careful of who you end up going on a date with.