I would like to think of myself as a hopeless romantic. Despite how abysmal the future may seem – with death and destruction both imminent and simultaneous – what always remains present is the love and affection we give to each other. We’re all looking to find love, and for many that can mean succumbing to online dating.
Tinder, Bumble, Hinge – or as I like to call them, the apocalypse trifecta. They are more affectionately known as the three online dating apps scrupulously used by college students in today’s dating landscape. Whether users are looking for long-term relationships, friends, or just casual encounters remains on a case-by-case basis. Nonetheless, their popularity among college campuses remains high, with various studies showing that more than half of college students use dating apps.
That’s not to say that dating apps are completely irrelevant. Many people these days seem to have found their partner or sometimes even their spouse through an app. Many of my own friends have met their partners on dating apps. Obviously, it is entirely possible to find love through digital means. Yet I firmly believe that these apps cause far more harm than good.
On the one hand, they completely exacerbate the hookup culture. Hookup culture, or relationships that exist on the basis of sexual encounters, has become so entrenched in our society that for many it has become an expectation. At a young age, especially in a college setting, exploring your sexuality is completely healthy and normal. However, for many, the desire for a deeper connection is quite often pent up, as it is believed that no one wants a relationship. Monogamy is too often the exception, not the expectation.
Companionship and love are human desires that we all yearn for, but in which we seem to have given up faith – why is that? For students, especially in the USC area, these apps are simply a way to quench negative energy. They serve more as a quick fix for insecurities than a way to find meaningful connection.
Do you doubt your opportunity? Upload a few photos and get likes on your Hinge homepage or matches on Tinder by the next day. This creates a notion of optimization and waiting for replacement. Didn’t receive a message? It doesn’t matter when you have a mixed set of single individuals at your fingertips. Did I say single? Maybe not, as it has even been reported that almost half of Tinder users happen to be in a relationship simultaneously. But it’s okay, don’t be panicked. After all, maybe your best match was only a few swipes away anyway, and how would you know if you stop swiping?
Why would you put yourself in a position of rejection in real life when you can find someone who is confirmed to find you attractive? We lose the desire and the ability to have those vulnerable conversations when they’re so easily avoided through a confirmed match.
Simply put, these apps have managed to commodify the most carnal of our desires: sex, love, and companionship. They thrive in a generation that is more insecure than ever and desperate for interpersonal connection, however short-term, abysmal, and possibly toxic.
Let me be clear. There is no shame in using these apps. I use them myself. Dating people you meet online isn’t inherently problematic or toxic. However, for many, these apps create a toxic relationship with oneself and with the relationships one may have with others.
Hinge leads with the tagline “an app designed to be deleted”, a sentiment that resonates both for the lucky ones who find someone awesome on the platform, and for those who realize the app has been a game. to smash or pass with other lucky singles. . But in the end, it’s also a game between them and their subconscious that has a chance of a happy ending.