Dating apps get a bad rap these days. In a recent Elite Daily article called “I'd Rather Be Single Than Try To Find Love On A Dating App,” Kelly Nelson describes why she's given up on swiping.
Essentially, she describes dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid as “hollow, shallow and time-consuming ways for people to look for love,” detailing how many profiles she has read “say things like, 'Say something to make me laugh,' [or] 'Don't bother swiping right if you don't like _____.'”
I understand her frustration.
I know as well as the next person how many jerks exist out there. But why waste time on these people? Swipe left and move on to someone who is actually worth your time and energy.
Yes, these people are assh*les. They have unrealistic expectations and (most likely) inflated egos.
But is this to say you've never met someone in person who's an arrogant dickhead? Have you never been ghosted by someone you've met offline?
I know I have.
What's worse is, sometimes, it's harder for me to pick up on someone's bad traits in person. It's not laid out in clear black and white, in the way it might be on a dating app.
Sometimes, I might find myself on a handful of dates with a guy before I realize how hollow and shallow he really is. Dating apps give us the opportunity to weed through these people before we waste our time.
However, all this is not to say disappointment isn't rampant when it comes to online dating: It is. But isn't disappointment pretty rampant when it comes to all forms of dating?
You may find yourself incompatible with someone you initially were excited about, or maybe you end up getting rejected by someone who you thought you could see a future with. This is a part of dating and a part of life. It's not unique to either our generation or our methods of finding love.
On the other side of the dating app coin, I know many happy, sincere and dedicated couples who've met online. Many of my now best friends are hidden gems I found on the world wide web. For that fact alone, I'm thankful for dating apps.
Don't get me wrong; dating apps carry a lot of problems with them. The fact that the next best thing is just a swipe away leaves people less committed, less willing to work on their current relationships and more elusive. I get that.
Call me a hopeless romantic, but I believe that when I meet my person, he'll stand by me, work for us and put in an effort that is genuine enough to match my own, regardless of whether we met on Tinder or at a crowded bar.
Dating apps are what you make of them. If you spend hours with your eyes glued to your phone, swiping right on jerks whose profiles indicate they're somehow not worthy from the start, these apps are bound to begin to feel draining and futile.
There's an alternative approach, though. There's a way to participate in this without getting engulfed in constantly looking for the next best thing.
Understand that your lobster might be online. He also might not. Be open and available to both options.
Kelly describes how “[t]he more negative my experiences got, the more I realized my love life is worth more than a dating app.” But here's the truth, and it might be hard to swallow: Dating is hard.
Dating is hard regardless of where you're looking. It's time-consuming, and often shallow at the start. These characteristics are not unique to online dating.
But the risk is worth the reward.
Choosing not to participate might shield you from the pain and frustration, but you'll also be missing out on the opportunity to meet new, interesting people who you might have a genuine connection with. I've met some real jerks online.
But I've also met some of my favorite humans on there as well. When it comes to my reflection of my online dating experiences, I'll live by Garth's famous words: “I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance.”
When it comes to love, I'll take the downside of pain for the upside of the dance any day.