Let's put to bed the idea that people only go on dating apps to hook up. Sure, there are people who are looking more for experiences than relationships, and everyone has their own valid preferences when it comes to dating. Some crave that fairytale romantic vibe, while others would rather have someone they can regularly spend time with, no strings attached. To find out about a whole range of ideal first dates, I took to my phone to discover the best Tinder date stories. I had existing matches, and swiped right on new ones, to hear what people out there consider their best IRL experience after matching with someone on the app.
Andrew, 26, says his best Tinder date felt like a 1960s film. He describes the date like "when the couple walks through the park at golden hour, because that's what we did." He says he and his date enjoyed one another's company, laughing and talking to one another, and feeling less alone. He attributes the easiness of the date to their stroll, rather than sitting across from one another at a table.
"We talked about where we were from, what kind of lives we had growing up, what we would do after grad school, and the separate things we both geek out about," he says.
Jose, 26, says his favorite Tinder date involved talking for hours at a cafe. The pair discussed politics, religion, social norms, and their passions. He told her about a game show he enjoys called Game Grumps. "We ended the day looking into each other's eyes longing for a kiss, but didn't want to rush," Jose says.
Mana, 21, made one of his Tinder matches a playlist, which led to her inviting him to get the "best milkshakes in all of Chicago." After the two got milkshakes, they drove around a wealthy suburban area of the city, and visited the Bahà'í House of Worship. "I was surprised at how pleasant of an interaction it was, especially considering I wasn't the initiator," Mana says.
Another guy named Andrew, 25, says his best Tinder date actually turned into a friendship that still exists today. He matched with someone looking for a last-minute date to a concert since her friend bailed. Even though he never heard of the band, he decided to take a chance, and went on the date.
"It was a great night, though, because her and I hit it off well, but realized we didn't want to date so we became friends instead," Andrew says. "[We're] still friends and still hang out to this day."
Benjamin, 23, and his Tinder date planned to get sushi, but after walking four miles, found out the restaurant was closed. They instead hit up the classic Philly spot Wawa (a glorified 7-11 if you ask me, but Philly people are obsessed!) to get sandwiches. After that, the two had some drinks in a bar. "She was only there for a week, so nothing happened, but it was nice to get to know somebody," Benjamin says.
Then, there were those whose dates were more casual — though no less memorable.
Jason*, 23, met a nearby college student who told him she was just looking for fun. He drove to her campus and saw her standing under a street light, wearing heels and a long coat. The two went back to her dorm and had sex. They continued to see each other for the next few months.
Another guy, Seth*, 21, had his best Tinder date when his match came over to his place and they talked about UFO conspiracy theories and watched cartoons. "We made out a little bit," Seth says. "Wasn't really interested in having sex that time since I felt like I was just getting to know her, and I felt it was cool of her that she respected that."
By the end of my conversations with my matches, I felt a new sense of optimism on dating from their best date descriptions. It's endearing that there are people who put effort in having a nice time with a stranger. These chats with my matches have shown me that going out with people can maybe turn into a great experience, sometimes when you least expect it.
*Names have been changed at the request of the source.