Are you single and ready to mingle? Odds are, then, that you’re part of the 15 percent of U.S. adults who have used online dating sites or mobile apps to find love. Perhaps one of the most popular – and controversial – of those tools is the infamous Tinder.
An easy-to-use app with an estimated 10 million daily users, Tinder hypothetically makes finding a new partner easy. But does it really work for the modern woman? To find out just how effective Tinder and other online dating sites/apps really are, ENTITY talked to a variety of relationship experts, ranging from Wendy Newman, a dating, relationship and sex advisor and author of the book “121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating,” to Dr. Erin Sumner, a Trinity University assistant professor of human communications with a research focus of online dating.
Here’s five reasons why computerized apps like Tinder are the new Cupid … and why every woman should give online dating a try.
Have you ever considered your dating options at school or work and sighed to your best friend, “Where have all the good men gone?” Apps like Tinder can’t answer that question, but they can open up a world of new options.
As Wendy Newman explains, “Tinder is designed for the male brain, and it’s a bit like video games, they’re into it. This means there’s a LOT of men on Tinder — way more than on say, E-Harmony. I don’t know about you, but I’m always for higher odds.” In fact, one 2015 “social experiment” compared the matches offered to Brian and Becca, who were both looking for the same traits in a partner, only one of the opposite sex. After one day, Becca had 701 matches and 378 messages … compared to Brian’s 269 matches and 28 messages.
Sure, those 701 matches probably all weren’t winners. However, the numbers seem to suggest that Tinder is on women’s side.
For Dr. Sumner, the number of prospective males is less important to consider than the broadening of the dating pool itself. “Proximity and similarity are the top predictors of relationship formation,” she explains. “Online dating is a great because it broadens our dating pool by including online proximity and not just physical proximity. So we can meet people who we might have a lot in common with, yet would not run into in our normal daily lives.”
Apps like Tinder don’t just increase the quantity of dates you can go on, either. Tinder can also include the variety of date activities, according to Marriage and Family therapist Dr. Wendy O’Connor. “An app like Tinder can help you reach outside of your comfort zone and explore different types of dates,” she says. Need an example? Just google the phrase “types of guys on Tinder.” For better or for worse, you’ll meet guys with a wide range of backgrounds, personalities and perspectives on dating.
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Basically, if you’ve always wanted the song, “It’s raining men” to come to life, Tinder might be able to help.
Have you ever seen someone cute at the grocery store or at your local movie theater but you do nothing but admire from afar because it’d be “weird” to randomly walk up and say hi?
According to Newman, Tinder can take the creepy out of chatting with strangers. “It’s the place people go to look for a date that leads to a relationship — period. Also handy? It’s a hundred percent acceptable to reach out and say, ‘hi,'” she says. “The hot topic of consent highlights that the only real difference between an ‘amazing new friend’ and a ‘total creep’ is if that person your type. Same line, different person, different results. A good guy KNOWS this, and he has no way of knowing if he’s your type (even if you’re smiling at him), so he won’t risk being the creepy guy.”
Sarah Sherman, an ENTITY writer, agrees. She found her boyfriend through Tinder and says, “I liked to use Tinder because it doesn’t pretend to be something else – it’s Tinder, a dating app based on swiping right or left.” For Sherman, the main reason she started using Tinder was to get out there and see what happened.
Unfortunately, creepy guys aren’t automatically banned from Tinder. You only have to scroll through some Reddit posts – or spend a few weeks on the app – to discover that. However, research has found that the main motivation for people using Tinder is to find love or casual sex (and love reigned supreme). Goodbye creepy/awkward strangers hitting on you at the bar. Hello Tinder!
One of the other, awesome aspects of Tinder and other dating apps? You can partially control who you match up with. Sure, the idea of swiping left or right based off a photo and a short bio may sound superficial. However, Newman points out, “We can tell a lot about a person by looking at a photo. Are they high-strung? Kind? Intense? Goofy? A picture is worth a thousand words — so using Tinder and apps like it can be an efficient way to connect.”
Research backs up Newman’s point. One 2009 study had participants describe people’s personalities based on a picture of them in a spontaneous pose. Not only could the participants accurately predict a person’s extroversion and self-esteem, but they even pinpointed a person’s level of spirituality and conscientiousness.
What’s so good about being able to infer a person’s personality and read about their interests? As Dr. Sumner explains, “Once two people who met online choose to meet up face-to-face, the dating process is really no different than it would be if they had met offline.” However, “the main difference is that the people who met in the coffee shop will be starting from ground zero and trying to slowly learn basic information about each other, whereas the online daters will have already exchanged basic information about each other.”
Basically? If you read that a guy works as a traveling missionary and eats 100 percent vegan, and you’re a hamburger-lovin’ atheist, you know to just swipe left and not waste both of your time.
When you think about Tinder, you might think it’s best for college students, considering that they make up 50 percent of Tinder users. However, Tinder can actually be just what busy men and women need to find love, according to Karenna Alexander, a certified dating coach and matchmaker.
“These apps are great if you are very busy and have a hard time getting out to social events, where you might meet single people,” she says. “Also, while traveling for work or play, especially if you travel alone, the apps can be a great way to connect with people who live in the locale where you are traveling.”
Julie Spira, an online and mobile dating expert and CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, agrees that Tinder’s wide reach and flexibility are its biggest benefits. “Tinder has a huge user base and is available 24 hours a day. If you’re a premium member, you can also use the Tinder Plus Passport feature,” she says. “I love this because it allows you to cast a wider net, so you can search in a city you might be traveling to in advance of arriving to fill up your date card in advance.”
As Spira points out, people will move for love … so maybe falling for a foreign CEO who’s just as accomplished as you are wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen!
Ever since it launched, Tinder has had the reputation of being the app for hookups. In fact, its CEO Sean Rad even spoke against this misconception in 2015, saying that the results of a 300,000-user survey found that 80 percent of Tinder peeps want a real relationship.
Based on the stories we heard from these experts, Rad’s data is pretty solid. For Alexander, the key to romantic success through online sites or apps like Tinder is being selective and avoiding players. “I have several clients who have met boyfriends – and two met their husbands – on a dating app,” she says. “You just need to put the time in! I can’t say that enough. I have clients who have toiled for years on these sites, and one day, it just happens. They find that needle in the haystack, and they are so happy that they did all the work!”
Spira thinks dedication is equally important to finding “the one” – online or in person. “More singles on Tinder are looking for love, and if that’s what they want to find, they will,” she says. “It’s a numbers game, but I have coached many singles who have found love on Tinder and are engaged or have gotten married.”
The fact is, research has shown that, regardless of the method you take, finding your soulmate takes plenty of time. One 2014 study found that the average woman will kiss 15 men, experience two long-term relationships and endure two heartbreaks before she finds “the one.” Another study, this time of the dating site Hinge, reported that users talked with around 16 other people and went on four or five dates before finding the person they’re with now.
Whether you’re dating online or the old-fashioned way, patience is key.
So can we find love on apps like Tinder? The experts and studies seem to suggest “yes.” After all, just by downloading the app, writing a short bio and posting some picture of you slayin’ at life, you’re showing that you’re open to love or, at the very least, open to meeting some new people.
Cupid is so 2016. This year, it seems like computerized apps are where love is really at.
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