When Swiping Becomes a Form of Entertainment

Dating apps can be total bliss.

I’ve watched my friends smile stupidly at their phones after a notification from HER/HIM flashed across her screen, or rush across the room because someone they met on a dating app sent them a message.

That said, I’ve also watched a group of friends swipe through photos and rate the people who pop up on their phone, give detailed reasons why they’re profiles aren’t doing too well and refer to dating apps as “hot or not” lists rather than their intended purpose.

Sure, some people are using Grindr to find their next available hook-up but there are others who have found new ways to make it entertaining.

How did dating apps go from love to games?

Bumble may market themselves as a “community that creates empowering connections in love” and Grindr may state that their goal is to, “become the premiere LGBTQ+ social media platform that builds and connects communities around the world” but there’s another reason people are using dating apps and it’s definitely not the connections - it’s entertainment.

Three women smiling and laughing

Imagine you are waiting for the metro or bus to pick you up (which is late as usual.) You’ve already scrolled through Facebook, checked your Twitter feed, and seen everything there is to see on Instagram. What’s left to do but swipe your boredom away?

For many dating apps aren’t just meant for finding your significant other - they’re a cure for boredom, a way to pass the time and - for a lot of people - a source of carefree entertainment.

Instead of the objective being relationship based, the act of swiping through profiles can at times be driven by its entertainment value. 

It’s like a game! The continuous swiping keeps people coming back, even when they’re not looking to find a significant other. Instead of the objective being relationship based, the act of swiping through profiles can at times be driven by its entertainment value. 

The truth about swiping as entertainment

There was a study conducted at the University of Amsterdam back in 2015, where researchers found that “entertainment” and “passing time” are the most significant reasons young adults use apps like Tinder. Kind of a downer for people looking to find an actual relationship, no? 

Heart drawn with a marker

But using dating apps for anything but dating is more pervasive than you might think!  According to the “Swipe Right For Love?” study conducted by ABODO, a massive 91% of college students said they were using dating apps for more than just making connections.

Alternatives to swiping for days

Thankfully there are alternatives. For example, Wandure does things differently. No endless swiping for entertainment’s sake- just slide on someone you like, match, and a date is planned for you in accordance with your mutual interests. Super easy, super NOT about the swipe.

We don’t believe in the enchantment of virtual pen-pals, rather we’re focused on meeting your potential partner in person. So you’re treated like the person you are rather than a form of entertainment. 

And we don’t think dating-apps are all bad (after all, we ARE a dating app!). It’s just the way we use them - dating-apps of all stripes can be used for genuine experiences.

Hearts painted on a brick wall

Oh but that guilt-tinged validation

Tinder prides themselves in making, “...being single more fun and rewarding by connecting people who may not have otherwise met in real life” and yet there seems to be a significant number of people using it for purposes other than bringing their single journey to an end. 

Everyone wants to be liked and swiping is the equivalent of being told that someone finds you attractive.

So, how many people in the seemingly endless number of profiles are actually looking to date for real? And what’s the purpose of downloading a dating app if you have zero intention of meeting people IRL?

Maybe it’s all about the ego?

Balloon hearts in front of pink background

Let’s be honest, there’s a sense of guilt-tinged validation when we see how many likes we got on our last Instagram post or when the words “It’s a Match” pop up on your screen. It’s immediate validation and an ego boost wrapped into one. 

Everyone wants to be liked and swiping is the equivalent of being told that someone finds you attractive. It’s just that, in this case, it’s a whole lot more people and there’s more than enough validation to go around (especially if you live in a big city). 

While I can’t say for sure if the last person you swiped right on was there because they were bored on their lunch break, I definitely can’t make any promises that they’re there for the purpose of finding the one.

Winking llama


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