I enjoyed browsing through the profiles of attractive men on Tinder and swiping right if I found them interesting. I spent countless hours sitting in my apartment, swiping and chatting with guys I never intended to meet or date. Although the conversations made me feel valued and desired, many of them were superficial and had negative effects on me. My experiences with Tinder had a harmful impact on my mental wellbeing and it took a long time to overcome them. Here are some of the ways in which Tinder affected me:
1. It made me crave attention 24/7
It felt great at first to receive messages from all these people who wanted to talk to me. It was a validation that I was worth their time and attention. However, as time went on, the craving for that feeling became more intense, without me even noticing it. I became unhappy if someone wasn't acknowledging me, and I relied on their validation instead of finding it within myself. It's embarrassing to admit, but that's how it was.
2. I was never satisfied
Soon enough, a single pick-up line or cute picture from a guy wasn't satisfying enough for me. I craved more - two pick-up lines and five pictures, or even more than that. Additionally, I always managed to find some flaw in the person I was chatting with, which made it easy for me to justify moving on to someone new. In a world where online perfection is often the norm, settling for less was not an option.
3. I got bored in 2.5 seconds flat
This ties in with my constant dissatisfaction. I found it difficult for anyone to truly capture and maintain my attention, not just on the app but in other aspects of my life as well. The same mindset of always wanting more spilled over into my interactions with people beyond the app, where I often found them to be uninteresting and lacking in excitement.
4. I created a fake online version of me that (to an extent) became dangerously real
The downside of social media and dating apps like these is that people can only see what you choose to show them. There's no way for them to know if you're lying or hiding something because they don't know you in real life. I found myself perfecting a persona that was different from who I truly was, and this started to impact my real-life identity as well. I felt restricted and a little disheartened that I couldn't just be myself, with all my imperfections.
5. It led me to believe chivalry was dead
A lot of the conversations I had on that app were unpleasant. Even though it's primarily used for hookups, I still clung onto the hope that it could lead to something more. Unfortunately, I read far too many messages that were derogatory towards women, and I didn't come across any chivalrous behavior from the guys on there. It started to affect my perspective, and I began to believe that all men acted that way. In truth, I was just drawn to a certain type of guy who frequented that app - someone who needed to mature and evolve.
6. I was afraid of having conversations with men in real life
Why bother with face-to-face communication when I could just message people online and say whatever I pleased? On the internet, I had the luxury of deleting or autocorrecting my messages, which isn't possible in real life. But, I made the mistake of assuming that if it was more convenient, it must be superior.
7. I didn't think going on dates was necessary
This ties in with my previous point. I couldn't understand why I should spend time getting to know someone in person when I could just send a quick message when I had some free time. To me, it seemed like the same thing. This approach was particularly convenient for me during college when my schedule was jam-packed, but my phone was always within arm's reach.
8. I felt like I wouldn't ever be able to trust men and that they couldn't trust me
In the world of dating apps, trust is a hard thing to come by. People talk to multiple individuals simultaneously, and exclusivity is rare. For me, it was difficult to abandon conversations with other men and focus on just one person. Even if I claimed to be talking to only one guy, that wasn't always the truth. He was likely doing the same thing, so it felt like a moot point. Eventually, I learned not to trust him.
9. I said things that I'd never have said in real life
How often do we type out messages that we know we'd never have the courage to say in person? So, in a sense, it's not really us who's communicating with others and getting to know them. This proved to be very harmful when I eventually met those individuals in real life. In actuality, I was much more timid than my online persona suggested. This led to the breakdown of a few friendships.