This Is How Tinder Is Dehumanizing You

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I admit, I am late to the Tinder party. I was in a relationship when it was released and obviously had no reason to download it. But recently I have become curious and jumped on board to see what all of the hype is about.

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For those of you unfamiliar, it is a simple concept. The app shows you pictures of people on your phone on which you can swipe left, or right. If you swipe someone’s photo to the left, a red NOPE comes up, and it’s on to the next. If you go right, it is a green LIKE, and still, on to the next. The only way you can actually communicate with anyone, is if you have both liked each other.

Each profile is full of up to six photos you can view, and a short bio (though, many people choose not to write one).

I was genuinely curious about the effectiveness of this concept because I had heard some great things from people who met their current significant other through Tinder. Many others will tell you it’s just a “hookup app” and people are only on there looking for one thing.

I have mixed opinions. On one hand, I see the appeal. If you know what you’re looking for in a boyfriend or girlfriend, it is relatively easy to determine if you are attracted to the next photo that pops up and if a quick scroll through their others shows a lifestyle and interests that would potentially be compatible with yours. It’s a great way to “weed out” the wrong people and only open yourself to communicating with (at least, who you assume to be), the right ones.

But on the other hand, you have just summed up and made assumptions about a real live human being with wants, needs, desires, dreams, goals, passions, and loves…from six photos and a short bio. And what’s just as bad is, they have also done that to you.

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If we are self-aware, we notice what happens as we get wrapped up in scrolling through photos. We become increasingly judgmental and picky. We can tell within seconds if we want to swipe left or right on someone, and if their initial photo doesn’t interest us, we won’t even look at the others – or their bio. What’s more is people who don’t even have a bio, so we are stuck making a decision solely on their appearance.

Tinder basically helps people treat each other as a product. As disposable. As nothing more than a photo and maybe a witty quote. To put it in perspective, think about yourself. Can your beautiful existence be summed up in a few Instagram shots and a short bio? I didn’t think so.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to immediately sizing people up and being affected by a first impression. It is human nature. But nature also involves lions killing and eating deer. It’s not the most beautiful part of nature, but it’s a reality. What Tinder does is takes that lion and deer and puts them in a closed room. It is literally giving us a platform where we have no choice but to immediately judge others based on appearance and decide if we want to talk to them or not. When you exploit biological nature, it always gets ugly.

The other side of the coin is on the rare occasion that you do find someone that you’d like to swipe right on, you are brought into an abyss of uncertainty if the app doesn’t congratulate you on having a match. I mean, it’s obvious that this person just hasn’t come across your profile yet, because if they did, they would swipe right on you also. Right?

…Right?

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Aren’t we hoping for a match every time we swipe right on someone or click that little green check mark? Aren’t we hoping for their validation in return? If we are not on there with the very goal of getting matches, then what is the point?

We need to get back out into the world. To interact with each other. To absorb someone’s entire existence and really get to know them. Mannerisms, voice, body language, and a million other factors can make somebody more (or less) attractive than a photo would suggest. Our conversation skills (or lack thereof) are certainly getting no exercise when many Tinder approaches are canned, cheesy lines that are copy and pasted to all of someone’s matches. Sure, eventually the idea is to meet in person, but you never know what you’re going to get when all you’re going on is somebody’s highlight reel.

What are your thoughts on this app and the process behind it? Do you think it should be seen as serving a certain purpose and nothing more? Have you had a good or bad experience? Let me know in the comments below!

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14 Comments

  1. OilyQueen on August 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I apparently joined you in the late tinder party. I heard the hype, so I downloaded the app and spent a couple days swiping. After I realized I was rejecting way more than I was accepting, I uninstalled the app. It seemed so pointless to me. I want someone to fall for me based on who I am, not on just a pretty face. So not only did I uninstall tinder, I stopped “online” dating altogether. Which turned out to be a wonderful thing because I am talking to a guy that is amazing. We are taking it slow but it’s in person so he’s able to get to know ME, not just a few pics and a witty quote.

    • OilyQueen on August 15, 2014 at 10:43 am

      We are all more than just pretty faces. Online dating in general has reduced the dating pool to a few pictures and an occasional connection. Makes no sense anymore.

  2. Monica S. on August 15, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I found my guy in tinder. But it wasn’t without a ton if duds first. Turns out we actually have several mutual friends on Facebook and had even been at the same events, we just never crossed paths. So to be honest it worked for me. However, we have had so many mutual friends that have said “oh man, I don’t know why I didn’t think to set you up, you two are perfect for each” so thanks to Tinder we made that connection all on our own.

    However online dating is a messy world or lies and yuck-iness. I had more than one guy lie to me and disappear when I maybe wanted to wait to get physical or would “dump” me after we did get physical. Dating since my divorce 3yrs ago has been painful, distressing and not enjoyable at all. So many people suck at communicating even though we have more options than ever to do so.

    I have super terrible dating stories that make men sound like huge a-holes, and very few of men actually being chivalrous. So James I really enjoy your blogs, it gives me hope for a better future

  3. Cass A. on August 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    You are taking this way too seriously, first of all. Dehumanizing? Relax bro. What Tinder does is it facilitates a connection that you probably wouldn’t make otherwise. Approaching someone is the hardest part, tinder just lets you know there’s mutual attraction and what you choose to do with it is up to you. How is your approach on Tinder any different than real life? We judge people based off less than what Tinder gives us. It’s just human nature, Tinder just makes us own up to it. Attraction is a pretty key component in a relationship, something I’m pretty sure you’ve mentioned in some other redundant article of yours… I’m sorry Tinder isn’t working out for you and giving you the validation and attention that you so desperately crave. Perhaps you shouldn’t use old modeling photos that you had taken purely for your own narcissistic purposes since you never had or will have anything resembling an actual modeling career…

    Also, learn how to use quotation marks properly. Saying that tinder is a great way to “weed out” the wrong people, doesn’t require quotation marks when you are saying exactly what you mean. “I’m sorry” that you can’t write for shit…

    I’m sure you will write some patronizing response to this thanking me for visiting the site blah blah blah, trying not to blatantly be a douche which in fact makes you an even bigger one….

    • OilyQueen on August 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Ok just so James doesn’t have to waste his time on someone like you, I’ll do it for him. If all you’re going to do is badmouth someone, then just stay away. Thank you for your opinion and thanks for stopping by. Bye-bye now.

    • Natasha on August 19, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      You are taking this way too personally, first of all. Relax, bro. James gave his impression of Tinder while acknowledging both the pros and cons, then opened it up to discussion. Your opinion on Tinder raises great points. Your barrage of insults and antagonistic tone, on the other hand, just make you seem immature and vindictive.

  4. rlcarterrn on August 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    We were discussing this at work recently & my thoughts are as follows: I sure hope I’m never single again b/c if it this is what dating has come to, I’m lost! I find the whole process very dehumanizing & as you said I think it reduces so to our least common denominator, making us more “animalistic” in all the bad ways.

  5. Jeff on August 15, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    The one point you brought up is the main reason why I rarely use Tinder anymore. Finding that seemingly great match, the diamond in the rough, swiping yes, and then nothing. That is a crushing a blow to one’s self-esteem as there is. After repeated times of this happening you start to question your own attractiveness, desirability, and self-worth. It’s a total letdown, and not worth the emotional baggage.

  6. Sasha on August 16, 2014 at 2:29 am

    You’re absolutely right about everything you said! I tried it for a one month and uninstalled it … bacause i recognized the same weaknesses that you mentioned. Not to mention that i had only one match (but i did not even contacted that woman) and i started feeling like unattractive when on one else liked my profile.
    Nothing can replace real life communication and “human touch” with potential partner.

  7. Matt on August 16, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Ive used it for about two months. Matched with 32 women, a lot with the same interests as me (crossfit, lifting, eating clean etc). Went on a date with 19, weeded it down to 3 which i had somewhat of a connection with. First one was great…clicked really well, loved the fact i was a gentleman about things and played it cool while being humorous. Also loved the fact I was a blue collar, get your hands dirty type of guy. Kissed at the end of the date, we chatted for the next few days, did all the right things (called not text), set up another date and poof, she disappeared.

    The other two went complete 180. In person one degraded me because of the fact Im a white male whos dated asians before (my last was filipino), and she judged me completely on my past. The second one was making me her option while i was leaning towards a priority. Shed set dates up and then break them or blow me off. After the second time i ignored her and now SHE blows up my phone all day long. I dont have time for ego boosting.

    All in all I think OLD isnt all its cracked up to be. A lot of people judge you over text or a short bio, while in person things can be vastly different.

    • Raz on August 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      I’ve had a very similar experience as you have Matt, right down to thinking things were going well and suddenly he stops communicating. I don’t get that. Why make the effort, spend all that time and then not respond back? It’s not hard to tell someone you don’t think this is working and end it on a good note. Most of us are adults and the fact we’re on Tinder, we can handle a bit of honest rejection.

      And you are absolutely right about people being vastly different in person. We all have many horror dating stories to tell. I met a guy from Tinder who said he loves the 1950s era and chivalry – and how not enough people practice good manners. When we finally met up for a coffee, 20 mins into it he reaches for a newspaper in front of him and starts reading. His excuse – he was curious about a headline. I don’t have to tell you what happened after that but actions speak louder than words 🙂

      After reading this article and the comments, I’m closing my account after 6 months of “interesting” encounters.

      Thanks James & everyone else! 🙂

  8. Amie F on August 18, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I had a great experience with Tinder. I found my guy in 1 day after he had been on there for 2 weeks. I was matched with quite a few gentlemen however my guy stuck out based on our communication. I don’t believe Tinder is dehumanizing. It didn’t matter where or how I met a date previously… on-line, through friends, at the grocery store, mall, bookstore, the bar, blind date, speed date, old school match making services etcetera until you find someone on the same page at the same time it doesn’t work. Our timing to find each other was PERFECT! I thought my guy was very handsome when I saw his picture, however if I had met him in person or through dating sites initially I would have passed him based on my dating criteria… That is saying the SMALL chance I would have run into him other than on Tinder at that exact moment.
    People are people and words are words until they become action!! That being said I think our situation is an exception and not the rule in any attempt at dating these days. What does it hurt to keep trying to find the person for you no matter where you find them? Keeping a positive attitude, being the right person, having an open mind and not giving up hope is KEY to finding true love. If you are upset because you are not being validated by who chooses you that is YOUR issue.

  9. Katie on April 10, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I completely agree. I hate to think of all the people in my life who I would not have in my life now if I had “weeded them out” based on a few pictures. Some of the most SEXY men I know, some of the people I LOVE the most, I would not have if we had to choose relationships based on a few pictures. How can that even be meaningful? When you love someone, they are so beautiful to you. I know that sounds really cheesy unless you have experienced this. But its true!

  10. […] I have gained from Tinder is that it dehumanizes us. An article from JamesMSama couldn’t have said it any better. “We need to get back out into the world. To interact with each […]

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