Love at first swipe: Should college students be using Tinder?

Online dating is all the rage. With websites like Match.com, eHarmony and OkCupid, many people are finding love on the World Wide Web. One matchmaking mobile app called Tinder has been popular among college students as of late.

Tinder is a matchmaking app that can be downloaded on Androids and iPhones. Creating an account is a simple process because the app connects to one’s Facebook account and takes his or her pictures and interests and displays them on the Tinder profile. All that is required of the user is writing a few words describing him or herself and/or the type of relationship they are looking for. The app then matches people up who live within a certain radius of each other (The radius can be controlled by the user).

On November 20th, I installed the app and created an account. For my profile, I wrote, “Business student, Amerasian, adventurer, chocoholic. I’m fun, spontaneous, outgoing, and looking to meet new people.” This was a short yet detailed description to sum up who I am.

Venturing into the world of Tinder, I was nervous because I had heard negative opinions about Tinder. The first was that people use Tinder as a place to meet people for short-term hook-ups. When I signed up for Tinder, I was preparing myself to receive messages with these indications.

I was also apprehensive because I was told that Tinder is a superficial dating app. Unlike other dating sites, Tinder is an app in which you immediately judge a person based on their looks. It’s simple, really. If you like the person’s appearance, you swipe right. If you don’t like them, you swipe left.

On the contrary, I also heard a few positive opinions about Tinder. For example, a co-worker that I worked with last year actually ended up meeting her current boyfriend on Tinder, and they have been together for months. Another co-worker of mine said she went on a couple dates with men that she met on Tinder. This proves that not everyone on the app is looking for a hook-up.

A good friend of mine, John, moved to Texas a year ago to start his career in the Marines. He now works as a Lance Corporal in the Marines and shared his experience on Tinder with me.

“The reason why I joined Tinder was so that I can meet new women in Texas since I am originally from Minnesota,” John said. “I know for a fact that there are women who use Tinder for hookups because I have received messages from women asking if I want to cuddle or have sex, but that is not my reason for using the app.”

Another friend of mine, Nick, is also from Minnesota but currently lives in Milwaukee since he is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee studying Business Administration. Nick’s reason for joining Tinder is similar to John’s; he joined because he hopes to meet new people in either Minnesota or Milwaukee.

“Tinder is a popular app for college students and is a great way to meet new people,” Nick said. “It is also a way for people to meet others who are interested in finding hook-ups and friends with benefits with no serious commitment.”

Tinder users can only message other Tinder users after they “match.” What this means is that both users have to swipe right, which indicates that they both like each other’s profiles. After Tindering men in the Metro area for one day, I noticed a common trend: most of the men I matched with did not initiate conversation. Within a few hours I had four matches, but none of them were messaging me.

I realized that if I wanted to figure out these guys’ reasons for being on Tinder, I was going to have to be the one striking up the conversations, so that’s just what I did. After reaching out, I immediately got responses within the first two days, and the responses I received had me believing all the negative things I had been told about Tinder.

The first man I talked to on Tinder was charming. He had blue eyes, a great smile and kind words. However, after exchanging only a few words, he asked if I liked hotels with wine. It was easy to see where this conversation was going, so I stopped replying.

The second man I talked to said that he was on Tinder because he hoped to find a girlfriend. At the beginning of our conversation, he suggested that we go out on a fun, silly date and play mini golf or go bowling. As the conversation progressed, however, he started talking about meeting up for sexual favors.

After our conversation took this turn, I felt deeply saddened. I wondered to myself, “What if I had actually gone on this date not knowing what his true intentions were?”

With a bad feeling still in my stomach, I continued my conversation with another man on Tinder that I had been talking to—let’s call him Dan. Dan and I began with casual conversation and I learned that we are both business majors. He goes to college in Chicago and was in town for the holidays.

When I asked Dan what made him join Tinder, he said that he was looking for hook-ups before he had to go back to Chicago. I had to hand it to this guy, at least he was being honest. He then proceeded to ask me if I wanted to hook up with him before he went back to Chicago, and I once again declined.

At this point, I had started to believe all that I had been told about Tinder. Since the first three men I messaged had admitted that they were on the app for short-term relationships, I expected the rest of my conversations to go the same. To my surprise, they didn’t.

There is a variety of people on Tinder with different personalities and interests. A few men I spoke with asked me about the places I have traveled to and the places I want to go to, as well as my favorite types of sports and wine. Others asked me about my college major and my hopes and dreams.

On the surface, Tinder may look like a dating app that is only used for hookups, but it can also be used as a way to meet friends to go out with and even potential partners. However, you may not find Mr. or Mrs. Right on the first swipe—it could take a little searching.

About Stacy Dahl
Stacy Dahl

Stacy is a senior at St. Catherine University majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing & Management. In addition to writing for The Wheel, Stacy serves as Student Supervisor for St. Kate's Telefund and also interns at Xcel Energy. In her spare time, she enjoys going on long walks, traveling, and eating chocolate. Stacy can be reached at stdahl@stkate.edu.

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