So we decided to chat with two very different women (both straight, in this case) to see how they felt when they were on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and the like. Our self-described introvert is Samantha, a 22-year-old who used Bumble for a good portion of the last year before deleting it. Our extrovert is Emily, a 29-year-old who jokingly refers to herself as "Tinderella." Ahead, the two chat about their very different dating-app lives. (Don't worry, neither of them had any of their own online-dating horror stories to report.)
What’s your dating app of choice?
Samantha: "I first downloaded a ton — Tinder, Bumble, Happn, Hinge, and another one — because I was writing a story. But Bumble was the one I stuck with. I think Tinder is very hookup-centric. Hinge was really cool because it made sure we had mutual friends, and Happn was cool, until you realized that you would walk past someone who just popped up. It was creepy to have a GPS tracker on you. So the one I took most seriously was Bumble."
Emily: "The first time I downloaded Tinder was when it first came out, and it was only available on iPhone. But I’ve been on and off it. I do Bumble, too, but it’s a little glitchy for me. I also tried Coffee Meets Bagel, but you only get one match a day, and that wasn’t enough for me."
I was truly addicted for a while; I could swipe through 100 people a day.
S: "I had Bumble for maybe eight or nine months before deleting it, and now I’ll download it again every now and then. I was truly addicted for a while; I could swipe through 100 people a day. But then I started dating someone, so I deleted it, and I got back on it for three weeks because I was explaining it to a few people who just moved here and thought I should check up on it."
E: "I go in dating waves, so I’ve gotten on and off Tinder maybe 20 times. There are moments when I’m, liked, tired of being single, so I’ll go on a bunch of dates in a week or two, and then I’ll get tired of it and delete it, and I’m done with it for the time being."
S: "I would swipe right on very few people, like 10%. It would be very few and far between. I don’t have to stare at someone’s photo too long to understand if I’m into it — it’s mostly off instant physical interest, and if someone lived really close by, like less than a mile away. Also, if their bios were funny — they couldn’t just be blank profiles. They had to have a funny play on words about their hobbies, or if there was a pun in there of some sort."
S: "On the other dating apps that didn’t require me to send a message, I wouldn’t send the first message. But being on Bumble made it easier, because they expected me to message them anyway, so it didn’t make me feel as nervous or paranoid. They had to follow my lead. Plus, on Bumble you can let that person’s time run out, which is also nice because the other person can extend their time if you don’t message them, basically saying, 'Hey, I’m interested in talking to you.' For the most part, I’d send them a message the minute we matched. I liked that better, because it got the ball rolling quicker, and it was less anticipation for me."
E: "I will definitely start conversations on Tinder; that doesn’t bother me at all. So I send the first message maybe 50% of the time, if there is something on their profile or picture I want to comment on. I don’t really care."
S: "I’d usually say, just, 'Hey how are you doing?' something super basic. When Bumble got GIFs, I would send the funniest GIF I could find, like a lot of Schmidt from New Girl, and if they responded with a GIF, I would then start talking to them. I thought if the GIFs I sent resonated with people, I could have a conversation with them. I also started doing this or that, like, 'Coffee or tea? Cake or chocolate?'"
E: "Oh I'm good. I usually reference something in their profile — if they have a picture of a dog, I’ll definitely talk to them about it. I’ve done truth or dare, which gets me in trouble. If I'm not feeling inspired, it'll be a basic 'Hey,' otherwise maybe a '503 for life!'"
S: "For the most part, we wouldn’t talk on the app for too long. If we were chatting on the app for a day, usually he would ask for my number, and we would text for maybe two or three days. Then I would ask, you know, 'Are you going to be around? We should meet up.' But I’ve never had someone be like, 'Let’s hang out tomorrow,' or in a couple days. We would talk it out a bit more to feel it out. I’d wait maybe two weeks before I’d just forget about it."
E: "Usually, if I’ve done a day or two of messaging with them, I’d be like, 'Let’s set something up.' Like, I don’t need a pen pal. You’re bored, you just want to text me? I don’t have time for that. So I have no qualms about saying, 'When are you going to ask me out?' I’ve gotten a few dates like that: 'When are you getting me wine?' Or you know, 'It’s hot toddy season. Let’s go.'"
I don’t need a pen pal. You’re bored, you just want to text me? I don’t have time for that.
S: "I would match them, chat them, and usually the conversation would die that day, so it wouldn’t go anywhere. If I matched with 10 people a day, I would maybe take one of those offline and text them for a few more days. I went on maybe one date a month."
E: "It depends on if I’m in an 'all dates all the time' phase or not. The most I’ve done is five in a week, and I’ve definitely gone on back-to-back dates. On average, I would go on five to 10 dates a month. Sometimes my only dates are barre, Pilates, and yoga, and sometimes I’ll go on dates instead of going to a workout class or getting drinks with my friends."
How many people would you see at a time?
S: "Well, I only went on one new date a month, and I didn’t have any second dates because it would get weird, except for the one person I dated for two or three months. I’m really careful with who I would go on a first date with; I take it a little bit more seriously, I’m a little fickle, and I can get uninterested super easily. And I don’t entirely enjoy meeting new people; I’m not on the app to make friends."
E: "I’ll see maybe two or three people at a time, because you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. I’m very outgoing, and I need to talk to people, and I need to spread that out, otherwise people will think I’m crazy. And I’m not good at playing games. If you text me, I’m going to text you back; I’m not going to wait."
It's not so much that talking to other people makes me nervous; it's more so that I'm constantly afraid of something going wrong.
S: "I think they’re so stressful. I have so much anxiety about first dates, and I’m never excited. I get too nervous, especially when I’m meeting people one-on-one. It's not so much that talking to other people makes me nervous; it's more that I'm constantly afraid of something going wrong."
E: "I love meeting people, so it’s like, whatever. Dates are like a social activity. Sometimes you get a good story out of it, and sometimes you’ll have a genuinely good date."
S: "I didn’t use them seriously until I got out of a five-year relationship, and I figured, I’m 22, why not? I liked it because it kept my mind occupied if I was bored or sad, and it was fun to flip through the people, like it would give you a boost of hope when you swipe right, like, you realize how many people you could go on a date with. It was also definitely easier to be a bit ridiculous when chatting a guy — since it's all in the woman's hands on Bumble. And it’s made my mind more open to casually dating, even though I’m still not the type of person who can go on a million dates at once."
E: "It's hard to meet guys! I’m not going to meet them at work or in barre class. I don't go to clubs and when I go out to a bar with friends, I'm not paying attention to other guys. I've met a couple of guys at, like, dance parties or out and about, but it's few and far between."