The internet makes several aspects of our life available at just the tap of a screen…including our love lives. There are so many free dating apps out there for singles of every demographic, some popular ones being Okcupid, Tinder, and the ever infamous Grindr. However, since free access gives people less incentive to use these apps for their intended purpose, it seems to be skewing what it means to be someone on an online dating website. Dating sites where you have to pay to use them are kind of the real deal, because you’re more likely to be serious about dating when you’re paying for the access to it, but with free apps, it’s apparently whatever the user base wants it to be.
So Okcupid is probably the least frustrating of all of the ones I listed. It’s great as far as showing potential people to date, since they give you a percentage of how compatible you are depending on how you answer a wide variety of questions the site provides. However, several people on there have some part of their profile where they say “not looking for anything serious” because they might be new to the area and just want more friends. At that point, why have a dating profile if you’re not using it for its intended purpose? It seems to ruin it for everyone else on the site. It’s nice because the site itself is formatted so well to gear everyone toward dating, but it doesn’t seem that way when no one on the site actually wants to date.
Then there’s Tinder…which is probably the messiest, in my opinion. The creators of Tinder came up with the genius idea of only being able to talk to people if both of you “swipe right” on each other, meaning you both said “yes, I’m interested in this person.” However, the general public appears to have ruined it by swiping right on everyone in an effort to gain the most matches. I’ve seen someone with 3,000 matches, so I’m not making this stuff up. In my experience with Tinder, I’ve been conditioned to react to matching with an extremely hot guy by thinking “nope this is a lie and everything is a lie” because they’re trying to collect matches to feel like the hottest in the entire world. Probably not all that productive on a dating website, I'd imagine.
Grindr, the last one I mentioned, definitely has a reputation, which you most likely already know about if you’re a man who’s into men. It’s a location-based “dating” app that let’s you interact with other men who like men…except this app is barely regarded as a dating app, anymore. Here, you’ll primarily find headless torsos of every shape, size, and skin tone, spam accounts wanting you to watch their porn videos that probably don’t exist. Sure, you can download this app if you’re trying to find the perfect guy, but the perfect guy just might ask you if you’re “looking” and send you close-ups of his penis. Not that any of this is inherently bad, it’s just that the site has become so filled with users who have intentions radically different from dating, that the app has gained the image of being a “hook-up app,” making it hard for people with different intentions to find what they want.
Aside from all that I’ve already said, all of these apps will also have users who are already married/in a relationship who are on there for a wide variety of reasons. Whether they’re on there for new friends, or looking for someone for casual sex/threesomes, it’s still not dating. They’ve already got themselves someone to love! Why do they need to hog more of the people on there? C’mon, people!
I wish I knew what it was about the free dating services that make them so much less likely to find people to actually date, but I’ve been using them for so long, it’s hard to deny that these are trends that exist. They all sound so ideal upon downloading them and creating a profile, but all it takes is about a week or two before the novelty is over and you’re drowning in a twenty-foot pool of bitterness. I’m sure they work for many people, but I just can’t deny the trends that I’ve been seeing. It can be a drag for those of us who are still looking for love…in what appears to be the wrong places, if you’re using these sites.
The most depressing part of all of this? I’m probably going to keep using each of these dating apps, despite the fact that all of these trends continue to happen. Long story, short: your grandma probably knows the perfect girl/boy for you. How? That fact is a bit elusive. But realistically, your grandma is probably a better judge of character than what most people put on their dating profiles.
Have you had any experience with free online dating services? Have you found success, or do you notice these trends happening to you, as well? Leave me some comments! I’d like to feel less alone in this struggle.