Tinder Affects My Dating Life Even Though I’m Not On It

I don’t use Tinder, but I know so many close friends who do. The app undoubtedly carries a poor reputation as the “hookup app” and this reputation is perhaps deserved, if judgmental. I know many people who shamelessly hook up and that’s fine, and I know others who have met serious significant others on the app. But even though I’m not swiping, Tinder affects the way I date and relate to men. Like it or not, “Tinder culture,” whatever that means, seeps into the lives of those who aren’t even on the app.

One article has stated that if you’re a romantic, you’re not on Tinder. Whether or not that generalization holds true for everyone, it’s definitely true for me. I’m not uncomfortable with Match, eHarmony, OkCupid or other dating services and sites that use algorithms to match pairs based on personality tests of quizzes. But there’s something fundamentally creepy to me about evaluating partners based solely on looks (even though that’s almost exactly what happens IRL, ironically). The hookup aspect of Tinder is also not in line with my own dating endeavors, so I eschew the app and most other sites and as a romantic, prefer real-life encounters.

Simple, real-life encounters. Several situations immediately come to mind: meeting someone at a Starbucks, being approached by someone cute at a bar and starting an actual conversation, getting introduced by a mutual friend, or an impossibly sentimental meet-cute like the ones that happen in movies (that never happen in real life). I have these ridiculous situations running through my mind, situations that would never have been considered ridiculous twenty years ago (except for those impossibly sentimental movie meet-cutes—hose are patently absurd). But aside from occasionally getting hit on by creeps at bars and being set up on dates, random meetings just don’t happen to me.

So the question is—if I’m not on Tinder or any other dating platform, are traditional dating efforts completely in vain? If the men I’d normally want to meet IRL are off swiping left and right on Tinder or getting matched on OkCupid, am I at a huge disadvantage?


Like it or not, the Tinder revolution does have some casualties, romanticism allegedly among them. Apps and services and sites just make meeting people so much more accessible and efficient in the way that traditional dating attempts cannot. You can browse profiles throughout the work day, swipe left and right when you’re in the bathroom, conduct conversations with strangers and arrange to meet later that same day if you want. Everything is right there for the taking, so why not participate?

True, there are still some people, male and female alike, who just don’t do Tinder. They’re still romantics, still willing to believe in serendipity and a certain measure of destiny or fate, or maybe they just know it’ll be much easier for them to meet people despite not participating in the digital dating game. Like me, some guys think Tinder is creepy too, or inconducive to real relationships. But Tinder and other app-based dating services definitely make meeting in real life a whole lot harder. Is it time for me to swallow my pride or whatever it is that’s keeping me from “matching” and just join Tinder already?


However, despite the abundance of think pieces and statistics and research that say there’s no room for romanticism in the swiping world, I think they’re wrong. Romanticism isn’t dead, it’s just changed. Serendipity can occur online, and even though the robotic, digital way we connect to potential partners on our phones does affect real-life encounters and real-life meetings and dates, romanticism and serendipity are possible in the digital age. Permit me to say that even Tinder can be romantic, if the romantic decide to use it.

Romantics like me.

About The Author
Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.