Loneliness is a really crappy feeling. Really crappy. Feeling lonely makes it difficult to be productive. It makes it difficult to make proper and healthy life decisions. It often makes it difficult to live healthy physical lifestyles. For some it makes sleep difficult. For others it affects work and livelihood. It affects self-esteem and confidence. Fixing loneliness is a far greater need within most of us than almost anything else will be, so other important parts of life and other relationships get neglected, or they get thrown under the bus altogether. We have started combatting loneliness with new and exciting ideas, mixed with technology, and we actually end up making our loneliness worse.
And I think Tinder is the number one biggest of those exciting ideas mixed with technology.
For those of you not in the dating game (and it is a very real game nowadays, I assure you), let me explain what Tinder is. I use it. I love it. I have met so many great people through it. Tinder is an app which lets people post up to six Facebook photos of themselves and a short block of text to sell others on why they are awesome. It then shows you potential matches based on your location, gender, and age preferences. There is no other filtering. Very simple concept, really.
You then go, rapidly, from profile to profile and you swipe either left or right. If you swipe left, you are telling Tinder you are not interested in that person. You likely will never see them again on the app (we all know that panic as we accidentally swipe someone amazing away forever). If you swipe right, you are telling Tinder you are interested in that person and, well, one of two things happens. If that person also swipes right on you (shows interest), Tinder notifies you and lets you start chatting with each other in a private texting environment. If that person swipes left on you… Sorry, Charlie. Gone forever as well.
Some people use Tinder to make friends. Most use it to find people to date. Some people use it to find hookups and one night stands. You get what you set out to get on Tinder, and most single people younger than 50 nowadays use it, even though they have such a love-hate relationship with it.
And while people use it with different end goals, what everyone uses it for is its never-ending (and I mean never-ending) value-menu of potential people. Rarely a day goes by when Tinder doesn’t show me at least 50-100 new women to let me swipe left or right through, all within a 20 mile radius of where I’ve currently got my butt parked.
In a lot of ways it is incredible and fun. Tinder is more like the old fashioned “meet someone at a party” concept than anything else I’ve seen. I mean, if I’m at a party or a social gathering, I scope the room, I look at all the potentials, and I decide on the ones I’m most attracted to and whom I think I’d have a real chance with (a delicate balance we all must learn). It starts at a very superficial level, which is okay. Everyone has different people that they’re attracted to, so it works. And at the party, I go introduce myself to them. I hopefully strike up good conversation and end up with someone’s number.
But here is where Tinder is different and, in my opinion, extremely detrimental to dating as a whole…
When I am at a social gathering or party, I will go from potential person to potential person, mingling, talking, and having fun. But when I make a very real connection with one of them, I end up hanging out with them a lot, often for the brunt of the evening. We exchange numbers, we pursue each other, we date, and we see where it goes before we go to the next social gathering and start scoping the room and looking at new potentials. I do not meet a woman at a get-together with whom I have a fantastic connection, spend the evening enjoying her company, and immediately go to another party and look for more fantastic connections in case she is a no-go.
But that is precisely what we do on Tinder (and other dating websites and apps). We meet people in real life who we met through the app (these services are great for that), we make fantastic and real connections, and then when it’s over, we go home and we open our Tinder apps as soon as we walk in the door. We swipe left or right on more, new, and different people. We keep our dating pools ever-growing. For goodness sakes. Sometimes we even do it in the bathroom while we’re on our dates.
Hell. Sometimes we do it right in front of our dates (it has happened to me, more than once, I assure you)!
We are lonely.
We also want love. We want connections. We want relationships. We want to not feel lonely. But…