I have been an avid Tinder user since the app first became popular. Friends have gone so far as to call me a “Tinderella,” which I'd say is fitting as I currently have 3,141 Tinder matches and counting.
I've been on at least 25 Tinder dates, which have ranged from the very good to the very bad. I've fallen victim to a catfish or two, matched with one of the founders of Tinder and have even been offered trips (among other strange things) through the notorious dating app.
I've used Tinder in cities all across America, as well as cities throughout Europe during my semester abroad in Paris. I've had many interesting experiences that were not always the most enjoyable, but taught me a new lesson on life, love, dating, men or myself.
I've met a wide array of men on Tinder, from the aspiring musicians, actors and models to the movie producers, club promoters, Wall Street men and wannabe Christian Greys. I've had magical moments like a French kiss underneath the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled, dinner cooked for me and even a midnight moped ride across Paris.
For every fairytale date, I've experienced at least one horror story date, including multiple catfish incidents and guys who were literally mad at me when I wouldn't hook up with them. One of the worst dates I've ever had took me on an unexpected trip outside of New York City to a honeymoon suite in a New Jersey motel. Safe to say, one of the most important lessons I've learned through Tinder is to use caution in all aspects.
The bad dates have been pretty bad, but if you don't take the chance of kissing a few frogs, you may have a harder time meeting your prince. I've made some seriously bad decisions, like letting a guy pick me up in his car for a first date, or going back to a date's apartment for “just one more drink."
Although I always find first dates to be less intimidating after I've had a couple shots, this is a risky red flag when your date keeps the drinks flowing all night long.It's important to have at least a little bit of a wall up and to have a clear mind when meeting someone for the first time.
I've also learned that it's actually way easier to be catfished than one might think. Just think about how easy it is to manipulate your own photos. Everything from height, weight and even name and age can be faked by playing the system and selectively choosing profile photos.
I've been deceived by quite a few men who are somehow way more photogenic on their profiles than they appear to be in person. I've also had multiple guys tell me they were two to 10 years younger than they really were.
The worst catfishing incident I experienced was from a guy who lied to me about his name, age and career, used pictures from years ago on his profile and was also hiding a girlfriend he left at home while he traveled hours to visit me. That also goes to say you really can't assume whomever you're talking to on Tinder is telling you the truth.
I'm the type of girl who believes the best in people. I'll trust what people tell me until they prove I shouldn't, but Tinder has shown me it's OK to question what is being said to me and not feel guilty or weird about it.
I've learned not to take Tinder too seriously, and I've realized a Tinder relationship might not really mean anything to the other person because at the end of the day, Tinder is an app. Some people definitely do want something serious when swiping their way through the app, but there are also plenty of people who are just looking for entertainment or a distraction at best.
Tinder has helped me improve on opening up to people right away. First dates are a great way to analyze your own image and the image you want to project to someone. I've learned to seriously consider the impression I'm giving off to people, and to make sure I'm being authentic and true to myself. It's better to realize things won't work out early on than to drag something out further than necessary.
Tinder has helped me to be more open to meeting new people and introduced me to some really cool guys I never would have met without the help of an app. Because of that, I don't see myself deleting Tinder anytime soon.
It's fun and can be molded into whatever you want to make of it. Tinder has led me to way more than just hookups. It also introduced me to new friends, shown me wonderful new places and even increased my Instagram following.
The most important lesson I've learned is to have fun with it. You might as well take your chances and risk an awkward hour or two for the possibility of a fun night, free drinks and maybe even meeting someone who could make you want to delete your Tinder for good.
I've deleted my Tinder for two men I've met through the app, and although neither of those relationships have lasted, I'm still swiping left and right in the hopes of finding the next match who just might make me want to delete dating apps for good.