The addictive nature of dating apps

A journey with Tinder and the addiction that came with it.

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

As a queer Asian female who is both clueless and inexperienced, finding love can be extremely difficult. Due to my oblivious nature and not knowing who is gay and who is not, dating apps like Tinder became a helpful hand in my quest of finding a girlfriend. 

After making my first Tinder profile, I quickly became addicted. Tinder felt like a fun game that I didn’t want to stop playing. Making your profile was the first level.

I began to choose the best photos of myself and perfected my bio to make myself appear kind, funny, and approachable. 

Tinder even lets you choose an anthem and allows you to connect your Spotify and Instagram to your account. I chose Holly Miranda’s, “All I Want is to be Your Girl”.

My profile was finally complete, and so the games began. 

Tinder works this way: it shows you a bunch of profiles in your area, and if you both swipe right and like each other, then you match and are allowed to chat. 

One hour of swiping later, I began to see results as the matches kept rolling in. After being matched with a bunch of people, I wanted more and more matches. Two hours later I was flirting with girls from all over Minnesota, more than I had in my 19 years of living. 

Seeing the notifications of new matches gave me a rush of dopamine to my head and ultimately led me to another Tinder swiping fiasco. Tinder allowed me instant gratification, as it eliminated uncertainty of someone’s sexuality and if they were interested in me or not.

With over 100 million downloads, like me, many others have succumbed to the addictive game that is Tinder.

According to social psychologist Jeanette Purvis, in her dissertation on sexual conflict on Tinder, she writes, “In terms of psychological conditioning, Tinder’s interface is perfectly constructed to encourage this rapid swiping. Since users don’t know which swipe will bring the “reward” of a match, Tinder uses a variable ratio reward schedule, which means that potential matches will be randomly dispersed. It’s the same reward system used in slot machines, video games and even during animal experiments where researchers train pigeons to continuously peck at a light on the wall.”

For me, it had gotten to the point where I started to have goals for myself. One of my goals was to reach 75 matches and to at least message ten girls. It was like I had to reach my goal in order to feel like I won. 

Over the years, Tinder has added more features to encourage more swiping and to make the dating app even more like a game. You now have access to one purple lightning bolt a day that boosts your presence and makes you the top profile in your area for 30 minutes.

You now have access to one super like a day, which shows another person you’re very interested and lets them decide if they like you back or not.

It has a top picks page that shows you people that are similar to your matches and lets you choose one person. It added a feature where it shows you how many people have liked you.

It even has a Tinder University where you can “enroll” and show where you go to school and swipe with others in surrounding schools. If that doesn’t sound like a game, then I don’t know what does!

Although Tinder leaves you with instant gratification, it’s not all that great.

You go through people who just want sex. People who ghost you, leaving you with insecurity of what went wrong. People who you’re too scared to message or who never message you.

People who are boring. People who want a threesome. People who just want to smoke and party. 

However, once in a blue moon, you get coffee dates and cute conversations. Although I couldn’t find a girlfriend on Tinder yet, maybe that next swipe will do the trick. 

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.

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