You open up your dating app of choice and minutes later you realize that you have swiped on a hundred potential partners with little more than a glance. This is the concern behind the idea that dating apps are making us shallow in our attempts to navigate the pool of eligible partners. Dating apps, as opposed to dating websites or doing it “the old-fashioned way,” provide little information besides a headshot and their distance from you. Of course, some daters provide more information within the profiles but I will be the first to admit that I don’t often venture into those before making my decision on which way to swipe. Is my “liking” someone—or not—based on appearances alone an indicator that Tinder and Bumble have made me superficial?
But here’s another question: Is that approach really so different from how people dated before technology became such a huge part of our modern (dating) lives? When going into a bar, a party or even your workplace it’s common to be browsing IRL and making decisions or judgments on your attraction to a given person that crosses your path. So even offline we are making snap decisions on how attracted we are to people and if we plan on pursuing them romantically. As someone who has found partners both ways, Feather reader Dana puts it in easy terms: “If you put shallow in, you’ll get shallow out, in person or in apps.” In that case, maybe dating apps aren’t as different from meeting someone off of our phones. If we are going to base our opinions on what is in front of us, we are going to get the same results either way.
Feather Girl Sam, who is dating someone she met at a bar, tends to agree with Dana that after using dating apps to meet people and meeting people in real life, she doesn’t agree that either is shallower than the other. The main difference she finds is that when making that initial decision on whether to pursue someone, real life gives you more to go on. “Personality and just plain their energy comes into the picture way quicker with meeting people in real life.” This provides you with more context to base your opinions on, but not always very much. And there’s even something to be said for how much personality and energy a person can give off in the photos they choose for their dating app profile.
From my experience as someone whose exes range from Guy I Met At Bar to Buzzed Tinder Swipe, I can tell you honestly that I am kind of shallow either way. If you are immediately looking for someone in a romantic light, it’s hard not to feel pulled toward the kind of person that you are typically physically attracted to. The only difference I see is that in real life I am judging your dance moves and on dating apps I’m judging your grammar.
Do you think dating apps are more, less or just as shallow as meeting someone in real life? Let us know on our Facebook page!