Student and the City is a column dedicated to asking the big questions that all college-aged students are asking. It will explore different social concepts within the younger generations regarding relationships, lifestyle, social media and more.
Dating apps have certainly changed the dating scene. Although these apps were created to make relationship-building easier, they seem to have complicated things in a way no other dating obstacle has ever before.
According to Business of Apps, global dating app users have increased by 45% in the last five years. Tinder and Bumble, just to name a couple, have become increasingly popular, especially for university students. This 21st-century approach to love has almost become a crutch many young people depend on to meet new people.
The question is: have dating apps destroyed the dating scene?
The hopeless romantics of our generation refuse to download these apps in hopes to meet someone “organically.” But is the chance of physically meeting the right person out the window? With everyone always on their smartphones with headphones in, some not looking up from their dating apps long enough to spot that person smiling at them from the other side of the train, what’s the probability of casually bumping into “the one” while walking around the city or campus?
With strangers hidden behind their masks or tucked away in their homes, it is harder now more than ever to meet people this way. Many students have reluctantly turned to apps after a year of no new personal interactions.
If you were one of these students, you must have had to do your research because some apps have different unsaid intentions than others.
Some platforms are downloaded solely to look for a “hook-up.” Others expect females to make the first move. While select users specify if they are looking for a relationship or not, others leave that up for interpretation and let you try to read their thoughts from a collection of random photos of themselves. This implied differentiation makes the dating scene even more confusing.
Dating apps are almost like online shopping. Shoppers swipe through different pairs of shoes as prospective daters swipe through different people to take to dinner. If you look at it this way, you have to ask yourself: are people treated like products on dating apps? The answer to this is horrifying.
How do you market yourself to your potential lovers? Usually, you would be asked to include your age, height, the best pictures of yourself and a character-limited bio. When you go through your feed, what are your deciding factors of whether to swipe right or left? After judging their appearance, do you look for attractive physical characteristics? Do you assume personality traits from their profiles? Do you look for profiles that may match your “type?” How do you really know if you are interested?
Let’s say you have matched with someone on a dating app. How often are they who you thought they were according to their profile? After reading 14 Tinder horror stories on Buzzfeed, some dates did not go nearly as expected after swiping right. It is difficult to get a feel for a person’s true personality until you meet them in person. It is easy to be whoever you want to be behind a screen.
While there are tons of horror stories, there are just as many success stories. The lucky ones have found their soulmates on these platforms. These apps did not kill the romance but rather brought two people together. It seems as though there may be hope for students if they are willing to filter through the scene virtually.
Even during a pandemic, the dating scene is alive and well. Now more than ever, students are looking for companionship during a time when we are physically and socially distant from one another. Dating apps could be the answer if they are right for you.