When you’re looking for love, it can sometimes feel like searching for a tiny needle in a global haystack. As our world grows more and more connected, we’re paradoxically getting more isolated at the same time. Dating apps have gone some way towards alleviating that problem; we’re now more able than ever to find people we might potentially want to enter into a relationship with, bypassing many of the awkward elements of looking for partners in the past.
Despite this benefit, dating apps are a decidedly mixed bag. Some consider them an unqualified boon for the world of dating, while others hate them and have pledged never to use them when they’re single. We’ve decided to break down the pros and cons of using dating apps so you can decide whether you want to head into this world and start looking for your soulmate. Here are just some of the pros and cons of the dating apps floating around on the market right now.
Pro: You’re joining a huge number of people
If you’re looking to find a partner, dating apps are one of the best ways to do it. Tinder alone has 57 million users around the world, and apps like Bumble and Badoo also have their fair share of accounts, so you’ll never be spoilt for choice. In addition, research from Betway shows that lots of countries around the world regularly have dating apps in their top 100 downloaded app rankings, so you’re in good company wherever you happen to be.
Con: Nothing beats meeting in person
Although a person’s profile, picture, and even potentially chatting to them on video can reveal a lot about their personality, there’s no substitute for actually meeting with them in person. Reading someone’s profile might give you a thumbnail-style snapshot of what they’re like, but it won’t tell you all of their mannerisms, their tics, or their idiosyncrasies. It’s also not a good way to know what someone actually looks like, as people can choose whatever picture they like on most dating apps.
Pro: Dating apps are just as effective as real-life dating
Despite the fact that there’s a sentimental difference between meeting in real life and meeting on an app, studies have shown that dating app users don’t actually differ much from “real-life daters” in terms of intentions. There’s a misconception that people who meet through dating apps aren’t necessarily looking for long-term love, but that’s actually not true; just as many people hit up apps searching for “the one” as use them for casual encounters.
Con: There’s a lot of choice
The dating app market is pretty crowded, and although that means there’s something for everyone, it also means you might not know which one you want to use. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from downloading all of them, but many dating apps have costly premium tiers behind which a lot of features often end up hidden. It’s usually worth paying for those tiers, too, so you might be missing out if you just download the free versions of dating apps.
Pro: Some apps are trying to address the power balance
Historically, dating apps have been seen as skewing the power balance towards men, and it’s not hard to see why. Men often bombard women with unsolicited messages or unwanted pictures, but there are dating apps out there trying to redress that balance. One prominent example is Bumble, an app on which women must make the first move if they want to make a connection with someone. If you’re a woman and you’re scared of taking your first steps into the dating app pool, Bumble could be a solid first choice.
Con: People lie
Ever since the advent of the internet, people have taken to it in order to lie profusely about themselves and their achievements. Unfortunately, this is no less true in the dating app space. You’ll come across people whose profiles are blatant lies, but it’s the more subtle ones you need to be careful about. Some apps try to get around this by using verification procedures and screening applicants carefully, but the fact is that lying on dating apps is a problem without a concrete solution as of yet.
Pro: It takes the fuss out of dating
All too often, if you’re introduced to someone through a mutual friend or meet them at a party, you have to go through the time-consuming rigmarole of discovering whether you have any interests in common and whether your personalities are compatible. In theory (although not always in practice), dating apps can take away that part of the equation, because you can see straight away if someone has any of the same hobbies or pastimes that you do.
Con: Swiping can feel impersonal
Given Tinder’s espousal of “swipe right” culture (it’s literally the app that codified that trope), dating apps can feel a little dehumanising. Meeting someone in person and talking to them just has a human element that swiping a profile doesn’t. Of course, you are simply screening people to make sure you don’t waste their time or yours later on, but that might not always be the optimal way to meet people. Sometimes, you could be swiping left on people you might actually have found a real connection with, and there’s just no way to know for sure.
These are just some of the pros and cons of dating apps. It’s impossible to state these objectively, because your own mileage will vary depending on factors like personal preference and prior dating experience. The best way to know if dating apps are for you is simply to download one and give it a shot!