Meeting people and making friends is already a challenge in and of itself, but there are a lot of added elements of difficulty when that experience is virtual. And hey, if things weren’t hard enough as it is, let’s add a global pandemic to the equation! With the corona virus pandemic still going strong as ever as we are nearing the end of 2020, we are having to come up with new ways to date, network, meet people and get to know one another. I have always been on the fence about dating apps. I personally am a firm believer that meeting people organically is the best way to meet people. Meeting and getting acquainted with a person over a common interest, in my opinion, is the most natural way to get to know another person. At the grocery store bonding over your favorite cereal, at Starbucks bonding over your daily coffee order, at a musical concert, bonding over your favorite artist/album/song. These organic experiences are hard enough as it is to cultivate, but now they are damn near impossible with the pandemic. Meeting up with friends/people you know is already a mission, what with making sure everyone is tested, healthy, maintaining a social distance, wearing a mask – the whole shebang. Meeting up or going on a date with a new person right now is essentially a life or death experience. Dating apps aren’t sounding that bad right now, right? Dating apps are cool and fun, but it’s important to consider all aspects of them before indulging – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s get into it.
The bad: I think with dating apps, just like any social media platform, it’s hard to depict an accurate representation of yourself. Obviously, you are on a dating app and want to look appealing, but you don’t just want to post the cutest or coolest pictures of yourself. You are human, and it’s important to show all sides of yourself. Presenting yourself in a certain way just to attract the attention of others, in my opinion, is not the most natural/organic way to start talking/a relationship with someone. With that being said, it’s extremely easy to catfish people on dating apps. Just like every part of the internet and social media, it’s important to really get to know who you are talking to and be sure not to share any personal information about yourself, such as your address, where you work etc. When you meet someone on a dating app, it is unlikely that you will have any mutual friends, so you essentially know nothing about this person, and you do not have a point of reference. Safety and security are of utmost importance on these apps, and of course, being yourself. Another thing that can happen is that a lot of the time (not all the time, of course), people use dating apps just for sexual purposes. Everyone wants something different on dating apps. Some people just want sex or a hookup, some people are looking for real relationships, some people just want something casual, and some people may just be using apps to meet people and make friends. You must make sure to get to know the person and understand what they are looking for and be on the same page with one another. Otherwise, you might end up disappointed with the outcome, when it could have been prevented. Communication is key.
The ugly: I don’t want to get too into detail about “the ugly” because I don’t want to completely repel anyone from dating apps, but there are a lot of ugly things that can result from dating apps. Sexual assault, rape, identity theft, scamming, and catfishing. Of course, any of these things can happen anywhere at any time, dating apps or not. However, like anything you post on a platform, it is important to remember that whatever you post online is permanent, and as soon as it has been posted, it is out of your hands. Another thing is that if you choose to meet up with someone from a dating app, no matter how well you think you know them, it is extremely important to meet up with them in a public place. A park, downtown, the mall, a store, a café – it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, this person is essentially a stranger to you, and above everything, you need to make sure you are safe. Don’t get scammed out of your time, attention, money, safety, genuine intentions – please take care of yourself.
The good: Now that all that bad stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff. Dating apps can be so much fun! They allow you to meet people you would otherwise never meet, and with some apps, like Hinge, it allows you to change your location. For example, if you are in Montreal, Canada but want to talk to people from New York, you can just change your location and that’s it (hey, traveling is hard right now, so this is the next best thing)! Dating apps are also good ways to see your type, and also good to practice talking/flirting with people. If you are a picky person, like me, they help with broadening your horizon a bit more and help you open your mind to the possibilities. Another good thing about using apps is that you get to start fresh and be who you want. You don’t have the pressure of people you know or having mutual friends. It’s a blank slate, and you can present yourself however you want, so have fun with it.
I think that about sums up the gist of dating apps. If after reading all this, I’ve completely repelled you from dating apps, well, I hope you find what you’re looking for. If you are downloading a dating app as we speak, welcome aboard! Happy matching 🙂