Here's The Reason I Never Use Dating Apps

by Sarah Fielding
Author's own

Whether dating apps are causing a "dating apocalypse" or are merely the easiest way to get a date, there's no denying these tools have been total gamechangers in the dating scene within the last few years. And even though dating apps are most popular among Millennials, according to a recent SeatGeek survey of 1,000 singles, 95 percent would rather meet people IRL versus online or on an app. That's why for the second year in a row, Bustle is deeming April, "App-less April" and encouraging our staff and readers to delete their dating apps for 30 days and meet people the old-fashioned way: offline. With participants tracking their progress and tricks and tips from dating experts, we'll be helping you feel empowered to meet people IRL all month long.

When I was a freshman in college, another student mentioned to me she had recently tried out a relatively new dating app called Tinder. It was the fall of 2013 and the app, having only been around for a year, hadn't gained the notoriety it has today as an app that's responsible for 26 million matches daily. I told her I had never heard of it to which she responded that it was a must-use — she'd already gone on two dates that week.

When I got back to my dorm I immediately told my three roommates about my discovery. At FIT, my grade was at a ratio of 90:10, women to men, so any way to meet guys was an instant cause for celebration for hetero ladies. We all immediately downloaded it and began swiping.

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It took me two days of occasional use to decide I was extremely bored on Tinder. Sure, there were plenty of people who seemed nice and cute but something about trying to find a potential match through my small phone screen really bothered me. Fast forward four years and I've tried a dating app every once in a while, but each time I have the same reaction and delete it within a day or two.

Truthfully, there are a lot of things I prefer to do offline, not just dating. I only read physical books, I hate online shopping, and ordering food through my computer has always been a disaster. So maybe I was biased against this whole thing from the start. Don't get me wrong, I have tons of friends who still love to use dating apps and, once in awhile, meet some great people, and I'm so happy for them. I just know that whoever is out there that I'm waiting to meet would be the type of person who would also want to bump into me at Whole Foods or have a friend who can't wait to introduce us.

At this point you might be thinking: Wow, this girl thinks destiny and fate are what's going to bring her a partner. Good luck, weirdo. In this day and age, the idea of finding someone without the help of technology is viewed as almost bizarre, which is why Bustle's App-less April, a challenge to delete your apps for 30 days is an actual challenge. Especially as someone living in New York City, the attitude is that there is simply no other choice.

I met all my friends through my real-life experiences or other friends, so why wouldn't meeting a partner happen in the same organic way?

Maybe part of it is that I'm not on the hunt for a relationship. I'm graduating in two months and with that comes a lot of uncertainty that, frankly, a partner would complicate even further. On the other hand, I'm not against one either. If the world wants me to bump into someone the next time I'm going to grab my gluten free bread — OK now I'm imagining a scenario that's too good to be true — so be it. I figure, I met all my friends through my real-life experiences or other friends, so why wouldn't meeting a partner happen in the same organic way?

"Chemistry cannot be measured by scan and swipe," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and author of the relationship blog, You’re Just A Dumbass, tells Bustle. "Chemistry requires face-to-face interaction because it is a neurochemical process that is occurring and requires us to use our five senses to evaluate social cues."

Dating apps aren't the *only* option. All that time you're sitting at home swiping left and right could be spent out meeting new people at coffee shops or bookstores or wherever you like to hang out.

"Sifting through hundreds of online profiles and messages takes your already scarce free time away," Camille Virginia, Founder of Master Offline Dating, tells Bustle. "Plus, there’s the burnout. The amount of energy you invest in online dating doesn’t always equal your success in finding a match. On the flip side, offline dating techniques are integrated into your current routine — they aren’t another item on your To-Do list. You can attract and engage with someone as you simply go about your day."

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If you're considering trying App-less April and deleting your dating apps for a month, know that it's a great opportunity to test the waters for a month and see the advantages for yourself of a face-to-face connection. I know trying to talk to someone in person feels a lot scarier than on your phone.

"When you aren't re-writing and overthinking every response, a real conversation happens and you meet the true, unedited versions of each other. But first you have to say hi."

There won't be anyone there to read over your messages or time to think about the most intriguing way to respond to a new match. The truth is though, that can be a great thing. When you aren't re-writing and overthinking every response, a real conversation happens and you meet the true, unedited versions of each other. But first you have to say hi. Yes, I know it feels hard. Finding someone offline can feel impossible, but I promise you it's not. It's actually much more common than you probably think. Even among Americans who have been with their spouse or partner for five years or less, 88 percent say that they met their partner offline, according to a 2016 report done by Pew Research.

Just because it seems like everyone you know has an account doesn't mean you have to have one, too. If you're not feeling dating apps, be different, prove yourself right.

That guy, whoever in the world he is, will want to call me, not text me — girl you know you hate texting — he won't play games, and he won't meet me online. I've dated before and I'll date again, just not because someone was within a close enough proximity of me to appear on an app.

Join the campaign and share your stories with #ApplessApril and ​by ​tagging @Bustle.