The Dating App Trap

tinderWhenever I go to a new place and need an easy hook up for the night, I swipe right to everyone on tinder and hope that one of them is coming out that night.” said a friend of mine when asked about how she uses tinder.

Gone are the times when people were secretive and ashamed about their use of dating apps. The normalisation of dating apps isn’t a problem, but the way we choose to use them is.

Our attitude towards dating is becoming heavily influenced by the everyday sexualisation and objectification of people, which these apps encourage.

The average tinder message starts the same way with false curiosity about each other lives before rapidly descending into a sexual conversation. Some people will argue that that’s exactly what these apps are intended for and that the people who join them aren’t at all interested in finding a potential partner, they are just looking for a body to practice on. If they are right, then isn’t everyone just participating in one big global game, which I’ve chosen to call, “The Dating App Trap”?

Young people enjoy being single, and wanting to avoid the commitment of a relationship isn’t anything new. However, what is new is that it’s becoming more normal to hear people say they went home with someone they met on a dating app than to hear them say they’d like to meet that person again for a second date.

The casualness of meeting someone online that you know very little about, and then being physically intimate with them can in no way be sexually safe for the people involved.

Some view it as casual dating but casual dating leans more toward something consistent with one person, this new dating culture is far more fleeting than that. The dating app trap that many young people are willingly entering into is destroying the level of non-physical intimacy we share with people. By this I mean our ability to have a face to face natural conversation with someone we’re interested in.

In a world where everything is so fast-paced and can be gotten in an instant, is the idea of gradual nurtured romance even valued anymore? Are organic relationships even being sought after?

Apps like Plenty of Fish, Tinder, Grindr and Her encourage dating based solely on sexual attraction. They make it seems as though that’s all that’s relevant when meeting someone new, or at least that’s the underlying message they’re sending to young people.

Yet again, we find ourselves on another platform that teaches us to forget that behind the screen lies more than just an attractive face, but someone with emotions, thoughts, and a personality. We are truly blurring the lines of what it means to get to know someone.

I know very few people who don’t use a dating app of some kind and even fewer who haven’t been physically intimate with someone they met on it. Despite having so many friends who use these dating apps, I find it baffling that I know only one person whose use actually resulted in a relationship.

Next time you’re on a dating app, ask yourself what it is you’re truly looking for and if you’re looking for it in the right places, because you may just another victim of the dating app trap.

By Zainab Boladale