I've had a long, tumultuous relationship with my dating apps and now, I'm pretty fed up. When I first downloaded a dating app, I was a young hopeful in my college days, looking for something beyond the casual hookups that took place at our favorite weekend bars. And I'll admit, at first, I loved it. In fact, it was even addicting. The prospect of having an unlimited number of singles at your area at your fingertips, the potential of a simple swipe to the right putting me in touch with someone I wouldn't have met otherwise... well, it made me love technology.
But through my time spent swiping, I became disenchanted by dating apps for a multitude of reasons. It wasn't the sexism that sent me over the edge, though I won't deny that's a huge problem forcing many women from these forums all under the pretense that “they should have known better.” Obnoxious and sexually aggressive comments were actually few and far between for me when I was on.
What really turned me off to dating apps (yes, I totally see the pun there) was the fact that it always led to a dead end. Matching with someone became essentially useless, as there was absolutely no guarantee that person would talk to you, let alone take you out. And if by some miracle you did go out with that person, you probably only had one date before you didn't hear from them again. I couldn't help but feel that if this was modern dating, I wanted no part of it. So as a result, I'm going to go back to the old-fashioned way of meeting people (chance encounters in person) and here are my top three reasons why.
1. Conversations Rarely Start In The First Place
Yes, apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge will give you the chance to match with new people each day, but that doesn't mean that person will actually talk to you. I've noticed that when going on apps that don't restrict the number of matches you have, you can match with crazy amounts of people (I think my most was 50 in a day) and not have a conversation with a single one. It's almost like the “stats” of how many matches you can get matters more now than meeting people IRL, and mutually liking someone is just about the same as liking someone's picture on Instagram. And even if you take that leap, and say hello (which, as the woman, you have to on apps like Bumble), they may never respond. Doesn't matter how creative your initial message is.
I know that this isn't just a problem for me; other girl friends have told me similar stories, and for guys I've talked to, one-sided conversations are pretty normal. By opening us up to endless possibilities, we've become a little bit spoiled to the point that most of us aren't taking it very seriously. I'll even admit that I've neglected to answer certain matches who have reached out to me first. Maybe it's the fact that I don't actually believe anything will come of it, or maybe its because these apps are designed so similarly to a game that you really don't take it for what it is. Regardless, for apps that are trying to put you in communication with new people, not a lot of communicating is actually happening.
2. Ghosting Has Pretty Much Become The Norm
So you broke through, and actually started a conversation with someone. Things seem to be going well; you guys both have similar interests, you think they're cute, and you've even planned to meet up for coffee after work. But then, at the last minute, they cancel. Or, maybe you actually go on the date with them but after, you never hear back from them again.
It's whatever, you tell yourself. You can just go back to swiping.
Ghosting is such a problem now that we've went out of our way to create a term for it. Maybe you're talking with someone, and they just disappear before they even give you a shot. Or worse yet, maybe you actually get involved with them, only for them to vanish into thin air like a modern Houdini. From my own personal experience, I've noticed that ghosting can happen on the smallest of scales, from a person never deciding to respond to your message in the first place, to a match stopping a conversation in the middle for no explainable reason.
If I had to attribute it to anything, I would once again say it's the way these apps work. Yes, having unlimited possibilities is amazing, but at the same time, you may be secretly wondering if there isn't something better out there than who you're talking to in the moment. What's more, if you get bored, or find something isn't working out, you're on to the next one within seconds. As a result, we're not taking the time to potentially value someone, or even accept the fact that there is a person on the other side of that conversation, which makes it easier to cut them off completely before things go anywhere.
3. I'm Meeting More People Outside Of The Apps
From what I've noticed, the people who actually stick around and continue to text me long after our first conversation are the people I'm meeting in person. Yes, the world of dating is scary, and it's difficult to meet someone in person (especially in New York. You'll have better luck getting an Uber at 3 a.m. on a Friday). But at the same time, people you meet in person seem to stay in your life a bit longer than your latest Tinder flame.
It could be because meeting someone in person makes it easier to tell if you have a connection or a good rapport. There's no fear that a person won't look like their pictures or be a total phony, because they're standing right in front you, and a conversation feels more natural given the circumstances.
And if you're looking for a hookup, meeting IRL is the way to go, too. A recent survey from Adam and Eve found that only 11 percent of people met their hookup online, with 18 percent meeting their hookup at a bar.
Ultimately, I think it's time I take my chances. The dating world may literally be in the palm of my hands, courtesy of dating apps, but I'd much rather wait it out for someone ready to mean something to me.