Fall in love in real life, not on dating apps

Sophie Oehler, Staff Writer

What do Tinder boys and homework have in common? They’re difficult to understand, my friends usually have to help me figure them out, and I have every intention of getting involved, but usually just end up ignoring them and watching Love Island instead. 

We’ve all had one or more chapters in our lives where we convince ourselves dating apps are the solution to our largely disappointing love lives.

And in this age of technology, there are plenty of options to meet our soulmates. You’ve heard of Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, the trifecta of bad decisions waiting to happen. 

There’s religion specific dating apps such as Christian Mingle and JSwipe, its Jewish counterpart. There are even sites like Farmers Only, Moonit (a service that matches users based on their zodiac sign), and Ashley Madison, a site reserved for married individuals searching for something on the side, featuring the tag line “Life is short, have an affair.” 

3 in 10 American adults say they have used or currently use dating apps, according to a 2019 Pew Research study of 4,860 Americans. 48% of those users are between the ages of 18 and 29. 

Some people enjoy dating apps. One of my close friends from home argues, “I think it’s an easy way to find people who have similar interests and are compatible quickly. It’s an environment where you’re specifically looking for romantic engagement so it’s a whole less awkward than asking someone out in real life.” 

And she’s right. Dating apps allow for a sort of disconnect between you and the other person, so even if you do end up getting rejected it doesn’t hurt as much as it would to your face. They’re also a good way to expand your social circle and quickly connect with people who might have similar interests. 

Online dating does promise that you will contact someone that is interested in you. However, it does not ensure that the two users express the same kind of interest. 

A male UVM student explained, “Girls sometimes don’t get the hint that I’m not interested. Some of them think that if you match, that means you’re going to date.” 

You’re probably wondering why he’d bother swiping if he wasn’t actually interested. Which leads us to another problem surrounding dating apps. A lot of people don’t truly know what they’re using dating apps for. 

Some people are genuinely interested in a connection, while others are just window shopping. 

Dating apps perpetuate hookup culture, which is another beast in itself. There is little commitment or responsibility to the other person, since half the time both users are talking to several people at once, at varying levels of seriousness. 

This leads to ghosting, when one person ignores the other’s messages for prolonged periods of time and after several attempts at communication. Ghosting and other forms of rejection are harmful for our brains as they target the part of our brain that processes physical and emotional pain, according to a 2018 CNN article. 

And while you can be rejected in person, you’re being rejected more often on dating apps, since you’re reaching out to more people. 

It’s also unrealistic to hope for a solid connection from a dating site. Thinking you’re going to meet your soulmate on Bumble is like those white girls that go to Thailand to find themselves. It’s a sweet idea, but your journey is probably better begun in Whole Foods. 

While there are a few exceptions, it’s much nicer to meet that special someone while sharing a common interest. Two of my friends met through the cross country team here at UVM. My parents met because my dad would hang out with my mom’s dog while she was TA’ing for a science lab in a no dogs allowed building. 

Real connections should be made organically, doing something the two of you are passionate about. It’s easy to fall in love when you’re both doing activities you enjoy, because you begin to associate that rush of dopamine received from said activity with that one person. 

And last time I checked, Tinder isn’t exactly providing me with my daily dose of serotonin. 

So why am I on Tinder? Simple. I deleted Tik Tok and need something to curb my boredom, I crave attention, and I can’t date Pete Davidson in real life, so I might as well start looking for his replacement. 

But I can find solutions to those things outside of my phone. And so can you. 

So tell whoever you’ve been admiring from afar how you really feel. At best you get a date and at worst you get let down, and move on to the next possibility. Life is too short to not take risks and we’re too lonely to be worried about the consequences.