Why I decided to delete Tinder for good

So before I start off with my Adieu to Tinder, I firstly want to say that for anyone still fighting the fight and feeling that lovely flicker of hope with each swipe right, I am fully with you. I think Tinder can really work for people. I know friends who’ve met their long-term partners on the platform and I know people that happily use it for what it was originally made for - to hook up without aggro. I honestly commend you for keeping at it and I understand why it exists.

So why am I done with the app and online dating in general? 

It's not really the app itself that I'm tired with, it's what the app is making me become. I am slowly but surely swiping myself into a superficial and highly judgemental dater. 

I just can't get over the whole point of the app and what it’s making me slowly but surely assume is normal -  that judging someone based on what they look like is OK. Or actually even worse, judging an entire life and personality with 3 photos. Yes, there’s the bio, but who actually swipes just for bios? 

Mirror, Mirror

Tinder’s superficiality has no bounds in my eyes, especially if you don’t check yourself. I mean I understand why people put a wall up. For me, online dating can only be described as a battle to get to the top of something, fighting through the mud to find a diamond that might not even be there.

That sort of blind hope takes a lot of energy and time, something you don't especially want to give when you are knee deep in gloop. All you want to do is sit on the sidelines and be a bit apathetic most of the time.

This means half-hearted dating is prolific, which affects how people talk to each other and how situations are perceived. Talking about my own experience. I've found myself swiping left if they don't have a close-up facial photo, make weird faces/gestures, have a job I have nothing in common with or even if they’re wearing something I don’t like.

Let those last two sink in for a moment.

I've actually stopped dating a Tinder match because he kept wearing outfits I didn't like (not the main reason, but still horrendous). I met another tinder man for two separate dates that lasted a combined total of 1 hour and 20 minutes. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I don’t even know why, there wasn’t a real reason. The only emotion I can think of is ‘cba’.

And that’s my problem, I’m Cba-ing my way through the Tinder pool and it was seriously making me lose faith in humanity, or making me no longer believe that 1 in 3 matches could actually hold a conversation without dropping in a social taboo or asking me 'How are you, babe?'.

God the babe thing. I could rant about that for a whole blog post. 

The thing is I know there are gems out there, but I've slowly found myself not prepared to dig deep anymore. And the shocking thing is before Tinder I really wasn't like this. For me dating was and is all about proper electric connection. I was that person that didn’t really care about dating rules, I’d text someone 3 times, I’d ring them up if I wanted to, I’d have non-serious and serious relationships, I really couldn’t care less. Crucially though, I always cared about mutual respect. Which I think is inherently lacking on dating apps and why I can’t carry on internet dating.

And yes physical attraction was always important, but I found that it always came after connection. I would always notice someone more after I had a great conversation.  I lived for those moments when you walk into a situation thinking it’ll be just another day and you meet someone and WAM, connection, like waves of honey.

I think we are all looking for that, in one way or another.

Background noise

I can hear some of you thinking - hey so Tinder is just the online version of meeting a stranger at a bar, so what's the big deal?

But is it? Firstly, there are none of those little pheromones flying about, you know the ones that subconsciously tell you that you could make a good match, the stuff of excitement and possibility, the stuff we've relied on since the dawn of humankind.

There also isn't social context with dating apps. If someone says something clumsy in a bar and looks embarrassed or laughs it off well you instantly forgive them because part of being human is saying stupid shit. But if they do it on Tinder, or even worse once you let them into the inner sanctum of your WhatsApp account, it’s a whole different ballgame.

Online dating has different social etiquette to real life. Say something weird and most likely you’ll be blocked as quick as it takes to swipe the next potential disappointment. I’ve done it and I know other people who have done it. Were we right? Were we listening to our gut instincts? Or are we not giving people chances anymore? Who knows.

I have a friend who discounted someone she was talking to online (because of the time it took him to respond to something - he basically dropped off a tinder cliff) and then ended up doing the same training course as him as a weird coincidence. She now sits next to him and has started to really like him for the person he is and he, in turn, is giving her the time of day he should’ve given her on the app. Tinder can stop us from giving someone the time to become a rounded person in our eyes. We forget people come with flaws or maybe we don’t care enough to push past them and see the glittery diamondy stuff.

Euston, can you swipe me?

Dating apps have a ticking judgement timebomb which is much harsher than in real life. It makes us scared to say the wrong thing, in case we are burnt at the digital dating altar. So we emoji the hell out of our chats and try to pretend everything is ‘cool’ and ‘absolutely fine’ when everything is definitely not always absolutely fine and never should be. 

Then there's the flipside. The interesting phenomenon of what happens when people largely communicate behind screens. They quite literally stop caring about what would be normal in real life. They have the security of their smartphone, which ultimately gives everyone permission to be romantically lazy, blasé and sometimes just rude. 

And don't misunderstand me, this isn't a rant at men. This is a rant at everyone on dating apps and what it's doing to dating culture. Because it's so easy to swipe and chat, we don’t invest in those relationships properly. So it's easy to have a 3-day conversation with someone and then delete them, or to 'ghost' someone after a few dates (guilty as charged) or even worse 'zombie' them. I mean the fact that these words even exist.

Also don’t get me started on strangers leaving you Voicenotes on WhatsApp. I haven’t met you yet, let’s have a conversation in real life before you leave me a 3-minute voicemail about leaving the gym.

Electric Shock

I also kept feeling like it wasn’t an achievement to be serial dating via online apps, I waited for the elation I was supposed to feel but it never really came.  To me, it’s not the same thing as that rush when you meet someone in real life, that instant chemistry, that click. I think because it takes more guts to have the courage to make the first or even second move so that the click becomes a conversation and then a relationship. Online dating feels too effortless, like dial-a-date.

Even worse, I’ve forgotten how to behave in the real dating world. Like so many other people, I’ve fallen back on easier ways, I’d rather just meet people via my phone when there are potential ‘matches’ around me all the time. I just need to look up from my screen to notice them.

And that's ultimately why I've deleted Tinder, Bumble and the like. I don't want to go further down a dating tunnel I’ve carved out for myself. I want to live my life in the moment and ultimately enjoy it. And I am willing to gamble walking into the sunset on my own, instead of hunching over my phone hoping something will happen that ultimately might not.

The end is nigh

So to the vegan who can’t be in the same room as meat eaters, to the man who asked me to list why I would be ‘worth’ dating, to the guy who lied about his age by 1 year, to the man who came to a date with no money and finally to a 1st date who thought being gay was an ‘idea people get from T.V’ – I’m logging off. I’d say it’s been fun, but that would be a lie.

I also wanted to end this post on my last ever Tinder date. I actually deleted the app and then went on to have a date with this person, a kind of so long, farewell and thanks for all the fish moment.  So as a sayonara to online dating, it really was quite poetic.

I never actually met my last Tinder date. He was 1 hour late to the date, and as I waited and sank my gin and tonic, the only response I got from him was a text 30 minutes in and 30 minutes before I walked out and tried to run after my self-respect.

His message read ‘lol imc’. For those of you that enjoy full sentences, that is ‘haha, I am coming’.

I didn’t stick around long enough to see if he used invented acronyms in real life.

 

This article was written by: Sara Benaissa