Tinder in Montreal

Most single millennials have ventured into the realm of dating “the apps”.

Equipped with epic photos, witty responses, and A+ level banter, we’ve explored the depths of Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Jswipe. You name it, we’ve been there in the endless search for love.

After just two years of launching, Tinder was seeing one billion swipes a day. They’re responsible for 30 billion matches to date and it’s currently the world’s most popular app for meeting new people.   

So I was honestly surprised to hear that just about everyone I know who’s used Tinder has something negative to say. 

There was a recurring theme when I asked people about their experience swiping left and right:  “You’re launched by vanity.” 

One of my friends described it as “more a game than a dating app”, and another said, “I would never use it to find an actual relationship”. Throw in complaints about conversations going nowhere and hundreds of profiles being vacant, and the idea of downloading Tinder didn’t seem too appealing. 

Unfortunately I have not participated in one of those 30 billion matches, but the majority of people I know living in Montreal have downloaded (and sometimes re-downloaded) the app.

Couple looking out at first during hike

Using Tinder to Shop for Relationships 

Based on the many complaints criticisms I’ve heard, a big part of Tinder’s reputation comes from this idea of “relationship shopping”. When you open a dating app, users start to see potential partners as products with certain physical features and personality traits rather than complex individuals. It makes finding “the one” seem as simple as going to Provigo or buying a new dress. Hint: it's not.

There was a recurring theme when I asked people about their experience swiping left and right:  “You’re launched by vanity.” 

You accept or reject someone based on a very limited understanding of who they are. You look at things like height and weight at first glance, browse through a couple of selfies and then read a short paragraph describing themselves. It makes it easy to discard one profile and choose another. Almost forgetting the human on the other side.

Happy woman with bouquet in hand

There are some people who are just a little turned off by the idea of using an app that encourages users to judge people by little more than a handful of photos and a 500 character bio.

But it brings up a valid point about Tinder, and how you search through profiles.

Maybe you pull out your phone while waiting in line at Starbucks or while you’re trying to switch at Berri-UQAM. You take the opportunity to swipe through profiles. How much are you really getting from a couple of photos and a short bio? Are you even looking at the bio as you swipe?

Clinical psychologist and Director of Research and Education for the Glendon Association, Lisa Firestone, warned users about the idea of “perpetual window shopping.”

“While I don’t advocate for people to ‘settle’ and overlook flaws left and right, I do know people who get caught in a cycle that makes it hard to stop ‘shopping’ for prospective partners,” she wrote. “Many of these same people say they’re looking for serious, long-term companionship, but they’re nervous about letting go of the search or even taking a break to see if a relationship could develop.”

Do conversations take you anywhere?

Couple laughing

Which leads to another theme that seemed to keep popping up about Tinder: conversations just don’t seem to go anywhere. 

“People don’t really talk to each other and I’ll have a lot of matches but nothing in terms of conversation,” one user said about their experience. 

Meeting someone for the first time can be awkward and when your phone can lead you to hundreds of singles it’s easy to brush off a potential relationship if you didn’t immediately feel a spark. Just because fireworks don’t immediately light up the night sky doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. Relationships develop at their own pace but sometimes dating apps like Tinder make us forget that.

Man and woman on canoe

What if I commit to one person and miss the one that I’m actually meant to be with?

If you’re going on dates with a feeling that you’ll miss out on someone better, you’ll have a hard time slowing down and getting to know someone. You might actually miss out on someone pretty great. 

Overwhelmed by online dating?
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