Following a move to a new city, a good friend of mine decided to bite the bullet and sign up for Tinder. It was a way to meet people and jump back into the dating world. She was honest enough to admit that while she would hopefully make a friend or two in this bright new town, ultimately she was looking for that elusive ‘one’.
Never one to do things by halves, my friend committed herself diligently to the task – checking her feed several times a day, swiping right more often than left and ultimately engaging in online banter with over 100 men.
Out of those 100 plus she went on 40 dates. You read that correctly – Forty. Four times ten. Four zero. Over three months, there were coffee dates, drinks after work, an occasional dinner and more than a few weekend brunches. Sometimes back to back. Between all that she went to work, hung out with her friends, hit the gym, squeezed in time for groceries and met her family obligations. It was a monumental effort. But at the end of the day, was it all worth it?
Out of those 40 dates, she arranged to have second dates with six, describing the guys she met as “reasonable human beings”. Of those six, only one second date actually eventuated, after which he seemingly vanished from the face of the earth and with no explanation, she was suddenly met with radio silence. She was still swiping right while all this was happening – adding more players to her deck, but as the wheels started to fall off so many of the second date attempts, she was also realising that she was quickly burning out. She had date fatigue. In fact, the internet had broken her.
You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that 1 out of 6 out of 40 out of 100… aren’t good odds (i.e. 1 out of 100). And that’s not counting the several hundred mostly naked men, often with bulging beer bellies, and often holding an array of questionable items that suggested they were looking for something other than romance, that she swiped left on.
But when she finally deactivated her account and deleted the app from her phone, it wasn’t the odds, I think, that had beaten her. It was the process, and the people behind the process – and above all, the knowledge that she had bought into just one more get rich quick scheme. Because that’s all Tinder really is, and Bumble and RSVP and OKCupid and Hinge and Hitch and Match.com and… well, you get the point… just apps and sites cashing in on our fundamental need to share our life with someone else in a meaningful way.
Which made me question whether in fact we had lost the meaning? Whether it was in fact possible with every click, every swipe, every virtual kiss, we were one more person away from ‘our’ person? Just like when you can’t find your keys amongst the clutter on the kitchen bench, was it perhaps time to wipe the benches clean and start again? Clear the clutter, get back to basics and trust our hearts (and the universe) rather than a money making machine.
Tinder has an estimated 50 million users with 10 million active daily, swiping one way or another 1.4 billion times a day. There are 26 million matches per day. (Stats courtesy expandedramblings.com) And while the quantity can’t be argued, what of the quality? Not just in terms of the standard of users – 30% of users are married and 12% are already in relationships (Source – Business Review) – but also in the way we are now viewing finding someone to spend our life with. Is the most important decision and the person you will potentially spend the rest of your life with really just a swipe, click, like away? And if so, why aren’t we all matched up already? Or at the very least not just the “Oh, but a friend of a friend of a friend found their true love” stories… but rather people we actually know.
And if Tinder works, then why do we need all the other apps? In fact, why does InterActiveCorp, as the majority shareholder for Tinder, also own Match.com, POF Chemistry, OKCupid, SinglesNet and People Media – which in total consist of over 50 dating sites?
Could it be that Tinder doesn’t work… could it be that no matter what their sales pitch, for every one of those 77 minutes the average user spends on Tinder a day we are moving further away from connecting with the people around us, one of whom could very well have been ‘your person’ had you been looking up instead of simply further padding that IAC 3billion dollar plus nest egg by swiping right on some half naked guy, holding a dumbbell, wearing his baseball cap to the side, while he kisses his bicep.
Me thinks we’ve been Tindered.