They say you meet your husband/wife at university… and as students at a huge university and with a multitude of dating apps at our disposal, it’s scarcely believable that any of the lonely voices heard on Brumfess (and formerly on Old Joemance) can even be lonely at all! An exaggeration of course – however after hearing about the development of ‘Qlove’, a new app designed only to match fellow UoB students, it struck me that perhaps the search for ‘the one’ at university has provoked some students to go to even greater lengths.
For me, the function of the app which is most useful is not the innovative quiz function, but rather that only UoB students can use it. A familiar gripe of many students is that they do not want to waste their precious likes on a ‘BCU’ or ‘Aston’ student. Despite sounding slightly pompous, I can certainly see the logic behind this attitude since with the pressures of a degree already on the shoulders of many Tinder users, meeting someone with more in common at the same university is certainly a more attractive prospect. In addition to the potential for having mutual friends or perhaps bumping into a potential match on a shared night out, it’s hardly surprising that the average dating app radius is much smaller for many UoB users.
Despite my attempts to utilise the quiz-like function of Qlove, with swipes replaced by a personality quiz, it appears that the app is either still under construction or isn’t fully functional so we will have to wait to find out if the app can be successful on a winder scale. Yet in theory, with matches replaced by ‘passing’ the quiz of another user, I would argue that perhaps Qlove holds the key to solving tedious and repetitive Tinder/Bumble opening lines and the even more mundane conversations which follow.
Time and time again people long for someone with ‘better Tinder chat’ or even wish they had better ‘Tinder game’ and yet rarely complain about not getting better looking matches. This shows that dating apps revolve around the message aspect, which often puts users in a difficult position with Tinder bios rarely giving much away. Perhaps Qlove can bridge this potential awkwardness by pairing users with similar interests – if it ever becomes fully operational.
However, when assessing dating apps at UoB as a whole, we cannot argue that the situation has changed over the last few years. This is exemplified by the changing role of Tinder at university. At one stage the most successful method and always the first app of choice for any singleton, the hype surrounding Tinder has somewhat waned. Although using your 50 swipes is never a dull activity, the amount of people who seek anything deeper than ‘not too sure really, just a bit of a laugh’ on the app is incredibly frequent. For many, using Tinder at university is therefore nothing more than an amusing pastime once they realise that achieving matches is harder than they first thought, with the swipe function acting as a useful procrastination tool.
Achieving validation from getting more matches is therefore a more common motivation for using the app than looking for a potential date – which arguably defeats the purpose of the app. This has led many people to come up with ever more creative opening lines and put together more striking bios just to stand out from the crowd and gain favourable responses to messages – which arguably makes Tinder quite a stressful experience, due to the pressure to produce eye catching content. In addition to the potential awkwardness which results from seeing a Tinder match on campus, there are also cringeworthy consequences of being in close proximity to other app users.
A commonly held view would be that Tinder is therefore ideal for hook-ups, or on a similar level, for starting conversations with your matches while on nights out. That said, at university, Tinder users are in a unique position where they will never have a better chance to meet up with a ‘match’, be it only a short walk to a mutually agreed location. I would argue that we too frequently pass up this opportunity for fear of the unknown. Assuming that meeting a match must lead to something deeper is a commonly held misconception and taking yourself out of your comfort zone can’t be a bad thing, especially for meeting new people in the future.
Deep down no one just wants to talk on Tinder forever and once the working world takes hold of our lives and free time is at a premium, it is possible that we might regret the chance to meet more matches. As a result, it seems that other dating apps are more successful at UoB for getting people out of the house and onto a date. Once people get tired of Tinder, Bumble and Hinge have seized upon the gap in the university market for those actively seeking something more serious when using a dating app. To flip the perspective of meeting fellow university students on its head, Bumble has also opened the door for students to meet people outside of UoB. This would appear particularly attractive to female students tired of boys on Tinder seeking a short-term fling – and vice-versa, with the view that ‘no one uses Tinder seriously anymore’ certainly holding true for many students.
Overall, it remains to be seen whether Qlove can break the monotonous cycle of swiping and ignoring that currently predominates the UoB dating app scene. I certainly hope that it leads to more interesting conversations and negates the lack of confidence people have in their texting skills. If more dates are the result, perhaps people can display their true personalities rather than sweating over whether they think a message will be funny enough – which can only be a good thing.