What Younger Millennials Are *Really* Looking For On Dating Apps

by Laken Howard

If you ask me, us Millennials have an unfairly bad rap when it comes to our dating lives and habits. Like with any generation, there are Millennial dating problems, but the general assumption that we're addicted to our apps and incapable of making genuine connections is pretty much BS, right? To find out if Millennials are really as flaky and love-averse as they seem, ABODO Apartments — an online apartment marketplace helping college students find their next off-campus rental — surveyed 3,500 college students across the country about their dating app use and their views on love and relationships.

"I think the biggest misconception is that Millennials are just looking for hookups or casual sex," Sam Radbil, Senior Communications Manager at ABODO, tells Bustle. "So much of the popular narrative makes Millennials look like opportunistic hedonists, glued to their phones and always looking for short-term flings… or nudes. Millennials get a bad rap when it comes to just about everything. Their love lives are no exception. But if our survey data shows anything, it’s that Millennials aren’t all that different from the generations preceding them. They’re just using the tools available to them."

Do we like our dating apps? Sure. But we're also optimistic about finding love IRL — not just casual sex. If you want a glimpse into the minds of younger Millennial daters, here are seven surprising findings about the way college students are actually using all those dating apps.


Hookups Aren't Top Priority

A whopping 91 percent of those surveyed said that hooking up was not their primary reason for using dating apps. In fact, plenty of folks wanted the opposite: 11 percent of men and women were searching for love, and around 10 percent were just looking for some new pals — aww.


Younger Millennials Use Dating Apps For Entertainment

Looking for new friends is cute and all, but there are still people who use their dating apps for less wholesome purposes. For people of all genders, about 34 percent said entertainment was the number one reason they use dating apps. Also un-romantic? Around 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men said they used their apps mainly for an ego boost. And the grand finale: nine percent of women and eight percent of men said they're on dating apps for the ~nudes~ .


Tinder Reigns Supreme

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tinder was the most popular dating app among the students surveyed, with 84.4 percent of people saying they used the app. Other popular dating apps included: Bumble (17.3 percent), OkCupid (8.6 percent), and Coffee Meets Bagel (7.4 percent).


Most People Are Down To Hook Up On The First Date

There's nothing wrong with having sex on the first date (assuming you're both comfortable and consenting), but that's actually not the goal for most younger Millennial daters. While 5.6 percent of respondents said sex was the goal of the first date, most people were pretty neutral on the issue: 31 percent said they wouldn't normally do a first-date hookup but would consider it if they had a great connection, and 22 percent didn't really care about hooking up either way. On the flip side, only around a third of women and nine percent of men said 'no way' to a first-date hookup.


Most Want To Meet People IRL

Younger Millennials might enjoy dating apps, but only four percent of people surveyed said they prefer to meet potential partners that way. Actually, 79 percent of people said they'd rather meet someone offline — through mutual friends or mutual interests. Fortunately, it's totally possible to meet someone IRL, so don't be afraid to delete your dating apps and try some new ways to make romantic connections.


Most Are Still Dealing With Dating App Harassment

It would be great if we could all treat each other with respect online, but unfortunately, the ABODO survey found that 35.5 percent of women and 14.1 percent of men have experienced harassment on dating apps. The app with the worst reputation for harassment was Grindr, with 51 percent of respondents saying they'd experienced harassment on the app. After that, OkCupid had the next-highest percentage of reported harassment, with 40 percent saying they'd been harassed on OKC (though this could be because you don't have to match with someone to receive a message from them on the site).


Using A Dating App While Committed = Cheating

Luckily for those who are coupled up, almost 70 percent of respondents said they considered using dating apps while in an exclusive relationship to be cheating. For some, however, the lines were a little blurry: 20 percent of men and 17 percent of women said dating app use was only cheating if flirty messages were exchanged. Similarly, around nine percent of men and four percent of women thought meeting up in person makes it cheating. And then there were the eight percent of men and five percent of women who apparently don't consider dating app use to be cheating at all (hey, to each their own).

We may not always be perfect, but Millennials aren't all hookup-driven, app-addicted serial daters who avoid love at all costs. Even though modern dating looks different than previous generations and comes with its own set of problems (like being ghosted or breadcrumbed), the fact remains that Millennials still desire love, and want to make real, in-person connections — and that gives me hope.