In the age of modern dating, left and right swipes seem to have become the new norm for meeting potential love interests. Long gone are the days of pulling au naturel, dropping a few cheesy lines and asking for someone’s number at a bar or romanticising bumping into the love of your life on the morning commute. The world of online dating has opened the door to seemingly plentiful opportunities for romance with one-fifth of the UK reportedly using dating apps. Surely it has never been easier to find the love of your life, and all at the click of a button! But in all of its swiping glory, has online dating brought some drawbacks into the dating scene? And should we be thinking about going back to good old-fashioned organic romances?
Let’s face it, swiping through dating profiles during your lunch break is far easier than the whole rehearsed night-out routine, especially at university. Getting all dressed up, scanning the sweaty clubbing masses for anyone attractive and potentially looking your way (are they even looking? Should you look back?). Dating apps get rid of the hassle and eliminate the guessing game of determining whether someone is actually single and finds you attractive too (I know, why shouldn’t they?! You’re a CATCH!). At the swipe of a hand, you gain an insight into the lives of hundreds of dating hopefuls without even needing to step out of your front door. Despite what everyone says, you can afford to be fussy too! As most apps let you customise your dating preferences and include your hobbies, favourite music and non-negotiables, it has never been easier to find someone who shares your niche passion for Ryan Gosling films.
Dating apps are also a great way to get back into the dating scene for those who may have taken a slight hiatus and are somewhat out of flirting practice. Let’s face it, scouting out potentials from the comfort of your own home is far less scary than having to actually go out and try to chat people up IRL. With online dating, you get to choose how others see you and share things that are not obvious at first glance – show off your keen interest in live music, Bailey bar crawls, or pineapple on pizza (no judgement here). Most dating apps are also free to download, making it very easy to set up a profile after a bottle of wine and some slight egging-on from your much loved-up friends.
On the other hand, it is very easy to get swept up in the fast-paced world of online dating, flicking through hundreds of profiles and forgetting that behind the pictures and sometimes questionable tastes in pizza toppings is another hopeful romantic just like you! Online dating is often criticised for highlighting looks over personality, fostering a culture of aesthetics and appearance-based dating over actual compatibility. Although a lot of dating app conversations tend to steer towards common interests rather than physical attraction, being able to get past the swiping stage and onto messaging can sometimes seem impossible.
Dating apps can also set unrealistic expectations. You may have started with a rough idea of the kind of person that you would be interested in dating (non-smoker, cat lover, occasionally goes to the gym) and ended up saving your right swipes for an extremely limited few without getting to know anyone else (6ft 5, marathon runner, heir to a familial estate). It is easy to get caught up in the minor details, but of course this does not mean to compromise if being a cat person is an absolute must for you! Sometimes it pays off to remain open-minded and get to know different people. Not only will this give you a better sense of your non-negotiables, but it will also help you to get back into the world of flirty chit-chat and meet new people. You might even end up dating someone you didn’t realise would be a perfect match in person, so it’s a win-win!
With this, online dating can end up being very tiring and time-consuming, taking over your life before you’ve even realised it. Rather than dedicating one or two nights a week to scouring the local club for cute potentials or wearing your best outfit to the library in the hopes that you’ll get noticed, you find yourself refreshing your profile feed ten times a day and scrolling through countless profiles before you have even fully woken up! Keeping up with your new matches, remembering to message people back, updating your profile with your pictures from the weekend … it’s exhausting! Whilst online dating, it is important to take a step back now and again to evaluate what you are wanting to get from the dating world and whether online dating is maybe the right place for it.
All this being said, I am in no way suggesting that we should all resort to finding our future spouse in the Jimmy’s queue once again. Of course, dating apps don’t work for everyone, but maybe they’re a good place to start if you want to get back into the swing of things. You never know, the love of your life might just be one swipe away.
Featured image: Cottonbro Studio via Pexels