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10 reasons why dating apps are not the death of romance (or society)

It's probably not surprising that, as a single woman in the 21st Century who owns a smartphone and enjoys social media, that I have dabbled in the world of dating apps.

And by dabbled, I actually mean that I have sixteen dating apps downloaded onto my phone (some are definitely better than others: Tinder, OkCupid, Badoo and Her are my favourites, but JigTalk, CLiKD, and Double should probably get deleted).

In case it wasn't clear: I like dating apps. Enough that I'm the mug who downloads all the silly quirky ones that only have five people signed up. But most single people I know are also on them - the stigma is shredding and it's now almost weirder to be single and not on Tinder, than it is to be on it.

But dating apps still have their haters.

They're not safe.
You'll receive unsolicited dick pics.
Everyone's profile picture is heavily filtered and posed.
You'll get catfished.
It's shallow.
It's lazy.
They're unromantic.
You might miss Your Person because they were born a year before your chosen age range.

If you're single and don't want to be on a dating app, that's your prerogative. But it's a prerogative that I don't agree with and I think you're wrong.

Here's why.

1. It widens your dating pool
There are so many potential dates or partners on these apps that you wouldn't meet otherwise. If you want to exhaust yourself bar-hopping every weekend and RSVPing yes to every social event ever in order to meet someone in real life, be my guest. You do you. But I'll be tucked up in bed, swiping.

(Tinder is also cheaper than going to a bar).

2. Some of us don't like bars, or public places...
It's extrovert bias to say that we should all head to a bar to meet potential matches. I don't really enjoy bars and I'm sure as hell not going to start hanging out in one every Friday night just in case a potential suitor shows up (and even when I did go to nightclubs, it proved to be the worst way to meet someone serious). I'm introverted and most of my hobbies don't involve leaving the house. Dating apps allow me to get on with a life that fulfils me but still have the opportunity to meet romantic and sexual partners.

3. It's actually less shallow
I can see where people are coming from when they say dating apps are shallow: you're deciding (with very limited information) whether to go on a date with an effective stranger.

But think about it. When a cute stranger catches your eye at the bar and you decide to go over - what exactly are you basing your decision on? What do you actually know about this person? You can see that they're cute, but that's it...

Before you swipe right or send a message on a dating app, you'll likely know the person's name, age, sexuality, job title, star sign, religion and whether they already have children or not. Some apps even show your compatibility rating. This is a lot more information than that cutie at the bar - so which is more shallow?

4. Some of us are chasing unicorns
If you're heterosexual, monogamous, able-bodied, sexually vanilla, want children, want marriage, aren't divorced, aren't vegan, don't already have children, and have mainstream political, or spiritual, beliefs then you probably don't understand how damn hard dating can get for those of who don't fit that description.

Those of us who do fall outside of these dating norms probably all know the pain of meeting someone new, feeling the butterflies, then afterwards discovering that there's a massive deal breaker that means the relationship just can't work. 

For those of us whose taste in partners is slightly niche, dating apps helps us find our unicorn(s). OkCupid (which is incredibly detailed) allows users to search based on sexuality, education, children (or lack of), religion, smoking, drinking, drug use, body type, race, monogamous/non-monogamous, and diet. It might not sound romantic, but I've had to end it early on with so many guys because I don't want children (and they do) that it's nice to go in there knowing from the start that it won't be a problem.

5. Casual sex with a stranger is far less awkward...
I generally prefer not to comment on what other consenting adults get up to, but why do people have casual sex with co-workers/a good friend/their best friend's brother?

I believe casual sex is better with someone who is separate from other areas of your life. Like, really. And honestly sex with a cute stranger from a dating app is better than drunken sex with a random at a bar.

6. You could end up dead in a ditch no matter how you meet someone
Okay here is some truth about dating apps: creepy guys can get even creepier when they can hide behind a keyboard (or phone, whatever). There are fake profiles, and I've swiped right on a hottie only to get suspicious that they weren't real. I even once came off OkCupid for a few months due to harassment.

But if you think creeps only exist on dating apps, you've clearly not been paying attention. Any woman who has ever stepped outside her house has received cat calls, had her ass grabbed, maybe her boobs, or struggled to politely decline a guy at a bar who just cannot take the hint. Creepy behaviour is not unique to dating apps.

Ya'll just gotta kiss lot of virtual frogs, yo.

7. It's easier for shy people
Think about that cute stranger in the bar from earlier. How many of us are genuinely comfortable initiating a conversation with a hot someone who we don't know?

Hiding behind a screen helps ease the nerves. If they don't reply it's much less embarrassing or awkward than a public dismissal. Plus you can read their profile and find some common ground to open up on. On swiping apps like Tinder, you even have the reassurance that the attraction is mutual before sending the first message.

8. Catfishing can happen IRL too
Touch wood, but I've never fallen for a fake profile. They're usually pretty easy to suss out (supermodel photos, a naughty bio, no connected social media accounts etc) and while I've evidently not found love on a dating app, I'm yet to have an awful date.

IRL, however, I haven't been as lucky. Guys who I've met in a more traditional setting have managed to pull the wool over my eyes. I've dated a guy in my final stretch of university who turned out to have a girlfriend back home. I knew a guy for two years and only found out his sexual consent skills were shaky once we started dating. Most recently, I was introduced to a guy on my birthday by a mutual friend who thought we'd be a great match - we spoke for about three weeks (and met up once) then he ghosted me...

Moral of my bad dating stories: meeting IRL is no guarantee that someone is being honest with you.

9. Do you honestly care that much about your "how we met" story? 
Tinder is not exactly a great story to tell the grandchildren; but how many couples have an interesting "how we met" story? My parents met at work (oh the romance).

Let's be real: very few couples are childhood sweethearts who stood the test of time or holiday romances who moved across the country to be together. You've been watching too many romcoms, mate.

10. Dating apps work
I know multiple couples who met each other online and are incredibly happy. Online dating works and is a completely legitimate way to meet someone.

As I said in point 8 I'm yet to have a truly awful experience with dating apps. Last year I was casually dating a guy I met off Tinder. We did eventually end things, but he was one of the nicest guys I've ever dated and I don't look back on our time together with any regret. Even more, we've stayed friends. He even bought me a break-up pizza!

If the knowledge that these apps actually work is not proof that they are worth your time, then I don't know what is.

If you're a fan of dating apps, let me know your favourite thing about them. If you're still not convinced, let me know what's stopping you. 

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