Love At First Tinder? How The Dating App Is Changing The Way We Hook Up



tinder-slide More than 2 billion people can’t be wrong, right? Well, possibly as that’s about how many people are obsessed with Tinder, the latest dating app that lets you hook up with potential hotties in X radius to you (one to 53 miles to be exact).

How it works: You select the age range and distance you want to search for potential suitors and then get to scroll through a series of pics (typically one to three) of candidates and simply swipe one of the images over to the "Nope" or the "Liked" tab. Other than that, you are only on a first name and age basis. If that person was into you, too, you get notified and can start a private, in-app convo; if they weren’t when your pic popped up on their screen, then your "Liked" goes off into, well, who knows where.

Likened as the new Grindr, Tinder is for sure the ‘It’ way to connect — either right on the spot (literally since a match could be in less than a mile of you), or later when you set up a legit date. Truly the epitome of instant gratification, Tinder is also the spark to some new lingo — such as Tinderella. As in, “I think I might find my Tinderella.” There's also Tinderfinger — the act of just geting in the roll of casting off those you aren’t immediately into, that you by accident decline one that has potential. Usage: “Oops! I didn’t mean to 'Nope' them! Damn you, Tinderfinger.”

You’ve got to have your visual perception skills down pat, too. With only a few small pictures to go through, you’ve got to have an eye for visual clues for height (if that’s an issue for you either way), as well as features in general. How many pictures with sunglasses, ski helmets, etc. can one post? Turns out a lot. The latest update to the app also lets you be a Tinder for someone else — allowing you to choose someone you might not be into for a friend that’s on it, and then hope that they feel the same way when the image pops up for them.

Not sure if you should get your Tinder on? Well, like all dating sites — or apps for that matter — there are pros and cons, says Art Markman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. “On the one hand, online dating sites give you the opportunity to manage your profile in ways that are harder in real life, so you have the chance to decide what photos to use and what information to give people about yourself,” he says. “Also, for sites that give people the chance to email with each other before they meet in person, it can give people who are shy or awkward in person a chance to meet more people than might otherwise.”

On the downside? “There are lots of potential opportunities for rejection — one potential problem is that people often say things in online interactions that they would never say to people in person,” he says. “So, you run the risk of having a more negative interaction with someone online than you might ever have face-to-face.” Of course, the interesting thing about Tinder (compared to classic dating sites like Match and OK Cupid) is that initially there is no rejection — you only get to connect if there is a mutual "Liked." But, once you do meet up, there might not be a love match.

  “If you are going to go looking for a partner in any setting, you have to be willing to take some amount of rejection — you are not going to hit it off with everyone you meet,” says Markman. “The online experience can be both better and worse than the in-person experience. It is better, because you have not really gotten close to the person yet.  If they reject you, you do not have much investment in the relationship. And, you can satisfy yourself that they did not really get to know you.”

But at the same time, there’s way more opportunity for rejection simply by the number of people you are meeting or connecting with in some shape or form. “If you get a string of rejections, that can weigh heavily on you.” The best antidote: try a little help from your friends. “They can check over your profile and give you some feedback,” says Markman. “They can also be there to console you when an interaction doesn't go well. Friends are a great antidote to a little online rejection.” And so, Tinder on our friends. Tinder on.