In the early 2000s, the dating world changed with the advent of online dating websites. In 2012, it was was shaken up once again with the creation of Tinder. A mobile app that connects people looking for love, Tinder creates thousands of matches everyday. On Boston College’s campus, however, students are divided.
“I think it’s an odd way to connect with people,” says Liz Holmes, MCAS ‘19. “Too much thinking goes into being validated by a random person on an app.”
But is meeting someone randomly on Tinder all that different from having awkward small talk with someone you met through a friend of a friend? Michael Quinn, MCAS ‘19, has a different view: “Most people have it ironically. Everyone gets the app because everyone else has it.” Tinder can break down social barriers off-screen, too. Matching on Tinder is a great way to start a conversation with someone you see around campus.
Nick Olives, CSOM ‘18, and Mary McCarthy, MCAS ‘19, first met on Tinder. Their love story played out over time and space—more particularly, over the course of a few days and in the Starbucks in Mac. Olives made the first move: “After matching on Tinder, I got coffee from her at Mac and recognized her, then messaged her later asking if it was in fact her. We met in person a couple days later.” After a first date over sushi, the two went on to become a couple. Now they have been together for almost a year.
Tinder may be known for its cringe-worthy pickup lines and its primary use as a hookup app, but there certainly is hope for people who are really looking for a relationship.
“It’s definitely dependent on how emotionally invested you are,” says McCarthy. “I originally joined Tinder not looking for a relationship and then happily stumbled upon it, so I think it really just varies.”
The happy couple leaves us with some final thoughts on Tinder. McCarthy advises to “only do what you’re comfortable with and never meet up with anyone past 10:00 p.m.,” and Olives recommends to “not take anything too personally, and don’t be afraid to un-match weirdos.”
In the name of investigative journalism and armed with Olives and McCarthy’s advice, I downloaded Tinder to see if it lived up to the hype. I did the opposite of everything I’ve ever done to prepare for meeting guys: I took my makeup off, put on my pajamas, and snuggled into bed. This, in itself, was oddly freeing. The app is very easy to use—all a user has to do is connect to Facebook and set their sexual preferences. While Tinder is accessible to all sexualities, there are dating apps that are specifically geared toward the LGBTQ+ community, such as Grindr and Her, which are viable Tinder alternatives.
My foray into Tinder also showed me its element of superficiality. With only six photos and a 500-character bio that many people don’t even fill out, the tendency to just swipe left until someone jumps out is almost irrepressible. At the most basic level, it is gratifying to match with someone. In this way, and for the people-watching aspect of its nature, Tinder is oddly addictive and entertaining. It allows a very brief and superficial look into the lives of hundreds who are out there looking for some sort of relationship.
As far as Tinder relationships go, one might consider Olives and McCarthy to be the exception, not the rule. If you yourself are looking for a relationship, take the time to fill out the biography, be discerning in your swipes, and do not be afraid to message first. One important thing to take note of is how important the first line is for setting the tone of the conversation.
A few patterns became apparent as I swiped. It was easy to tell when a guy was looking for a hookup; no shirt and no bio were clear signs that he wasn’t seeking a relationship. The avid Tinder users who may be more open to the possibility of a relationship often have pictures of them with puppies or babies in their profiles, but the real point of discernment can be found in the bio. People who fill out their biographies thoroughly tend to be more open to conversations, as they often provide you with a clearer sense of who they are and what they’re looking for on Tinder.
“Nick didn’t have any shirtless mirror pictures or any pictures where he was holding a fish, so that was a nice change of pace,” laughs McCarthy. “Also, his bio was creative and clever and I really wanted to know what it meant.”
So, if you are looking for a relationship, make sure to go for the people who are putting in as much effort into Tinder as you are—even if that means swiping past some really cute puppies.