To be honest I am not sure why I joined Tinder. Maybe it had something to do with hearing my EX took his latest squeeze to Venice on holiday; or that all my friends and family seem to be talking about new men in their lives and the only stories I can share are about my ex from 2012 and a date with a guy who was 7 years younger than me (I found out his age after the date, and no my name is not Stella) Maybe it was a combination of all these things and more.
For those who may not know, Tinder is a dating app which matches you with singles in your area based on your interests and friends – if you sign up through Facebook.
To some, joining Tinder may not seem like that much of a big deal. We are in the internet age after all, we pay our bills, watch TV, transfer money and stay in touch with a good portion of our networks via the internet, so why should dating be any different. Well, for me, it was a bit of a humble pie experience. Just a few months ago, my colleague joined Tinder and I had made such a fuss about her meeting only hook-ups and guys who were uninterested in anything serious. Fast forward 4 months later and let’s just say she is doing MUCH better than me on the dating scene. So two days ago, I put my pride in my mouth, downloaded the Tinder app and furnished it with 5 of my most recent and prettiest selfies.
In less than an hour, I was on a roll – swiping left and right and getting notifications of matches and chats. But I couldn’t help but think about just how similar it was to real life, and how I still had so much to learn about dating and even men. I know it’s been less than 72 hours since I joined, so there is probably much more learning to come; but, here are some of the things I have learnt already
Everyone is looking for love
I am not sure if this applies only in Nigeria and/or Lagos, but there seems to be some sort of stigma if you are a single woman who openly admits that she wants a partner but hasn’t found one yet. It’s almost like we are forced to pretend so we don’t seem desperate. The truth is EVERYONE is looking for love at some level or the other.
On Tinder there are people of every strata of society, people like you and I who are looking for meaningful relationships and friendships. Yes, some might have ulterior or not-so-kosher motives, but isn’t that the same with the average Joe you meet at a party or a club? Believe it or not, a few of the guys I am currently chatting with on Tinder are guys I already knew through friends, but we’ve actually never said anything more than a hello in person.
It’s ok to be a little picky
With Tinder it’s all about the swipe. Swipe left if you aren’t interested, and right if you are. Well, after the first few minutes of joining I realised I had gone through about 50 profiles and hadn’t swipped right even once. Ha! I had to calm down. Joining Tinder would be pointless if I wasn’t going to actually take a step and at least try to see behind the picture. But at the same time I didn’t want to just ‘like’ someone for the sake of it.
So I came up with some guiding principles. I only swipe right for profiles who share at least two mutual Facebook friends with me (except on the off chance the guy looks really hawt). I always swipe left for guys who take pictures in front of expensive cars, have topless pictures and put their fingers up in the air or have on dark shades in an enclosed room-I mean really? Also with descriptions, if it’s too long winded or has too many pointless abbreviations i.e. odawise, cuz, ryte or anything similar its a definite LEFT. My friends say I have carried my rubbish picky behaviour to Tinder, but I actually think it’s okay to have preferences. There are guys who will see my picture and make a definite left swipe and that’s okay too.
My somewhat rigid swiping criteria notwithstanding, I have had 13 matches with 5 active chats and conversations. They all seem pretty decent. Time will tell if they turn out to be scrubs.
You’ve got to put yourself out there – even if it’s just a little
Anyone who knows me can testify that my life is pretty much about work. If I am not at my 9-5, I am all about Inspired by Glory, reading a book or watching some series on my laptop. And on the occasions I do go out, it is with family and the same old group of friends. I don’t think I have met anyone ‘new’ in years – just regurgitating the same guys within the same circle. I can tell you for free it’s become rather dull. But being on Tinder has taught me something rather obvious: to meet new people, you’ve got to go out of your comfort zone. So asides from being on Tinder, I have made plans to do things and visit places I wouldn’t normally visit. It isn’t just about meeting guys though, sometimes we get caught in a rut in our own lives and there is much benefit to looking out of your circle and trying new things.
Old standards are the best standards
Online dating might be new age stuff, but a girl still needs to keep her standards within sight. The truth is whether you meet through conventional methods or online, guys will always test your limits and boundaries. They will push to see how far you will go, and sometimes in the euphoria of newness, you can get swept away, letting down your guard.
The first guy I chatted with on Tinder, was fun and quite friendly. I liked that we didn’t chat about who we were, but about random stuff. It kept the conversation fresh and a little exciting. Then he spoilt it by asking for my number and killed it by getting upset when I said no. I felt some kind of way about it, but decided to stand my ground. If his ego is that easily bruised, then that was definitely a red flag. The next guy asked me for a ‘quick preview’ of myself, I didn’t even blink when I said no. He persisted and I unmatched (blocked) him swiftly. Other guys I have chatted with have tested limits in various ways: what size are you? Is it okay to have your number? Can I call you? But I have decided to keep my limits firm until I comfortable enough to share more.
Having options isn’t a bad thing
I have always been a one man kind of woman. If we start talking and I sense that I may even like you in future, I stop talking to every other guy and focus on you. As you can tell, that hasn’t been smart. But with Tinder, it is completely okay to have multiple conversations going at the same time. It’s an unspoken guess that the person you are chatting with, is chatting with multiple other people and that’s okay too. If things get serious, then you both can make a decision to close your accounts and see where things go.
Bonus learning point- Keep it light
The most important lesson I have learnt is to take things one step at a time. I have never actually dated- almost every relationship I have been in has been long term and quite serious. So a part of me feels like I have never actually experienced the simplicity of just going on dates and meeting new people. My advice to anyone who may be in a similar situation is to take things one step at a time, enjoy the meeting and dating process. Don’t take every match so seriously. It isn’t further maths and we mustn’t feel compelled to make things work or force things to happen because we feel pressured or are at a certain age. Life will always happen.
If too many people don’t abuse me after reading this article (you know how you all can be) I may continue to share other dating experiences from Tinder. So if you never hear anything more about my Tinder experience, at least you will know why.