Last week I went on my final Tinder date. I wouldn’t say this date was the worst I’ve ever been on, but it was the final straw.
Here’s how it went down:
He picks me up from work and takes me to a trendy lounge in West Hollywood without a reservation. As we are both starving and trying to find a seat at the bar, he sees his childhood friend who recently ended a 5-year relationship with his best friend.
Having known this, I was understanding that he wanted to talk to her so I excused myself to freshen up in the restroom. However, when I came back and he and I were alone, he couldn’t stop focusing on what she was doing. I was annoyed and insulted. If you have another agenda to play spy for your best friend, do it on your own time, not mine.
What made it worse was he ditched me for 10 minutes to talk with her as our food was getting cold and I was trying to save our seats at this crowded bar. He finally came back and I was so offended by how unapologetic he was that I couldn’t eat.
I should have left immediately, but I waited until he paid our tab.
He could tell I was upset and he offered to try another spot.
I already had an Uber outside waiting for me, so I said thank you for the drinks and that I was going home.
I get into my ride and my Uber driver asks me how my night is going. All of a sudden I burst into tears, sobbing how frustrated I’ve been with going on meaningless dates for months now. It was a good 30 minutes of crying with 8 months of built up frustration and disappointment.
My Uber driver listened to pretty much my life story, gave me all his tissues, and offered to take me to get a milkshake (5 stars for him.) I ended up going to a friend’s house and polished off a bottle of wine, and the Uber driver only charged me $8 (seriously, what a saint).
Waking up the next morning, I had some sort of revelation. I realized that casual dating isn’t benefiting me at this point in my life. I am graduating from college in less than 3 months, have multiple internships lined up after I graduate, I’m focusing on my finances, and working towards having my own place by the end of the year.
I came to the conclusion that not only was I wasting my time, I was wasting theirs. I have no desire to commit to anything else right now that doesn’t help me move forward with my goals or mold my future. So how could I be mad at these past Tinder dates for not taking it seriously, when I ignorantly wasn’t either?
After some more self-reflection, I asked myself how did I come to this? Although I was selective with my dates, I was still going on new date every few weeks and wasn’t bothering to pursue for more. In 2016, it was estimated that nearly 26 million matches were made daily on Tinder. There is also an estimated 50 million members currently active on Tinder, according to a 2014 statistic report. That’s a lot of options!
Here’s the problem with having unlimited options: The power of choice depends on our ability to value the difference. When there are so many options, it can be difficult for someone to make the better choice. Unlimited choice is better in theory than in reality. A limit on options gives us time to value, assess, and act in a better fashion. Ever get a menu at a restaurant with 20 different styles of omelets for breakfast and you just become overwhelmed and frustrated from now knowing what to pick? That’s what I think happened to me with online dating.
I started to value dating less. If I wanted, I could go on a date every night with somebody new. It was easily accessible and easily given. Because I had unlimited options, I wasn’t focused on building and forming solid relationships with my Tinder dates. On the other hand, a majority weren’t looking to do the same either. Tinder is typically known for being the hookup app, but that didn’t make me feel any better.
To me, dating and courtship ought to be meaningful and have substance. For example, I love getting sent flowers . . . but from somebody I actually am interested in, not just anybody. I want to go on a date where someone doesn’t have a preview of my life, likes, or interests. Where they actually have to ask questions to my face, hear some childhood stories, and share moments with me to see if we’re compatible. These things can’t happen if we are constantly swiping right when we’re bored, need an ego boost, or get frustrated with our current situation.
People are not disposable, and we need to stop treating each other as if we are.
So, I have officially deleted my Tinder after almost a year. It’s been amusing and thought-provoking. I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself, my expectations and standards . . . all of which I doubt will be met on a “hookup app.” For now, I will be spending more of my time on personal interests and being more aggressive towards accomplishing my goals for the year.
As for my fellow Tinder users, I hope that you find whatever it is you’re looking for. Maybe when I’m ready to commit to another person, I’ll return to the app.