If you are currently single, you have probably already discovered the power of online dating in some capacity.
The advent of the internet has transformed the way we interact with one another professionally and personally. What once took quite a bit of energy and investment in conversing with new people and building a foundation for a potential relationship, has now been supercharged by smartphone dating applications. These apps help instantly connect you with potential suitors with a single swipe.
Today’s most popular dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and others have helped many find love in an online world. Throughout the past year, these apps have been the only lifeline for many when connecting with other singles. As bars and clubs worldwide closed their doors, more and more people turned to their smartphones to feel connected.
In theory, dating apps sound incredible; however, what if the so-called benefits of online dating apps are actually making it more difficult to make real, lasting connections? While online dating has sped up the process of finding potential connections, the ability to swipe through endless date night options may be causing us more harm than good along the way.
The rise of social media and digital devices have helped dating apps become one of the main ways singles connect. In fact, dating apps have become so incredibly popular that nearly 30% of American adults have downloaded and used one. Of those users, another 12% have reported that they are now in long-term relationships or have gotten married thanks to the apps.
The statistics seem to reflect that these apps have made the dating scene easier and, therefore, more successful. But what if modern dating apps have actually made building strong, committed relationships more difficult?
You may be thinking, I swiped and matched with someone right away, so what could possibly be wrong with that?
Let’s take a look at how dating apps have revolutionized the dating process – and we may start to see some of the complications hiding just below the surface. Listen up, students!
Step 1: While you are out on the town, you notice someone that catches your eye.
Step 2: You work up the courage to approach them and strike up a conversation. (Or vice-a-versa!)
Step 3: As you navigate the conversation, you begin to notice whether or not this individual may be someone worth investing more time into.
Step 4: The relationship continues, perhaps leading to sharing a phone number or email for chatting later.
Step 5: Should the stars align, you decide to meet up again for a first date to continue the conversation.
Step 6: The process begins anew: meet up, chat, invest. Feeling good? Maybe a second date is in order!
Step 1: Open any of today’s most popular dating apps on your device.
Step 2: Swipe through the nearly endless selection of eligible bachelors or bachelorettes.
Step 3: Make a surface-level connection with a witty one-liner. Now decide what to do next… text, meet up, hook up, or anything that strikes your fancy.
Notice anything different between the two styles? The casual observer may see these two dating styles and think: Well, popular dating apps have made the dating process a lot easier!
While it’s true that new-school dating has sped up the process of connecting with someone, what is the cost of all that innovation? What if today’s dating apps have led to the rise in mindless swiping – and the loss of building an initial foundation for true, lasting connections? For many, the ease of access with dating apps has taken the intentionality out of relationships. It has taken the term “casual dating” to a whole new level, as members feel the number of options out there for them is infinite. They can simply have a date any night of the week.
Dating app creators have discovered the same powerful methods and algorithms that social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter use to keep users coming back. The dopamine-driven addiction to swiping and clicking is far easier (and temporarily rewarding) than putting in the time and effort necessary to connect with a stranger in public.
While dating apps have made it easier than ever to find and interact with people, have you stopped to consider how these apps are changing our engagement? Even when you swipe and match with a potential date and chat through direct messaging, are you really getting to know that individual before deciding if it’s even worth a face-to-face date?
The relatively safe and commitment-free nature of modern dating apps may be causing us to mindlessly swipe rather than invest energy into real connections. The result? Short-term matches that may not give us the real, lasting connection that we long for. With the ability to swipe away potential matches based on looks or a few bio lines, we may be missing out on a hidden gem of a person that can’t be seen through a screen alone.
So, what can we do to fight back against the mindless swipe? Online dating is here to stay, and this method does bring quite a few great benefits to the dating scene.
While each dating app has its own unique features and interface style, the main concept remains the same: you swipe, you match, you meet. The way to really make the move from mindlessly swiping to meeting with intentionality rests with you!
Rather than allowing yourself to fall victim to the temptation to mindlessly swipe, force yourself to slow down and invest time in actually interacting with those you meet through dating apps. Don’t just swipe based on the profile photo; take the time to explore all the pictures and all the information that person chose to share. Put in the energy required to communicate on a friendly level rather than simply looking for someone to “hook up with.”
Consider that the person on the other side of the screen is a person with hopes, dreams, desires, and goals. They are more than just a filtered photo and a profile of likes and dislikes. When you start to see the process in this way, you will be amazed at how the connections you make will feel more fulfilling and fun.
Armed with a new perspective on online dating apps, you can download and use nearly any dating app with confidence! Give it a shot, and let us know how your dating journey goes once you move on from the mindless swipe.
Hi, I’m Raghed!
Founder and lead relationship coach at HeartAppeal.
Our blog will be your new favorite place to go for advice, laughs, and comfort through all the stages of dating. We stay up-to-date on all the latest dating trends, so you don’t have to. Have a topic you’d like us to cover or a story you’d like to share with our community? Send me an email; we’d love to include it!