Denise was exhausted. She had had a long day of hostessing at her job. It had also been an interesting day. A familiar face had walked in the door of the restaurant. To her surprise, she recognized the face from a picture she had seen on the app Tinder. The two had been matched, and they had exchanged messages.
“I had never planned to meet up with him on purpose,” Denise, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, said. “I was actually at work and the guy I met on Tinder, who is now my ex-boyfriend, came in and asked my name. It was awkward running into people that I have met on the app, including two more.”
Tinder is an app used as a convenient way to meet others of the opposite sex. According to The New York Times, Tinder is becoming more popular and is used more frequently because of the increase of activity on mobile devices. The app is used mostly by college students and young adults, but as it increases in popularity, more high school students are beginning to try it.
When users first open up Tinder, they are presented with multiple profiles of members of the opposite sex. Users can create a profile through their Facebook account. When users find one of the profile members to be attractive, They can swipe right, sending the contact a notification. If they swipe right to their profile as well, they have a match and are connected by an instant messaging service. To pass on a person, users swipe left.
“Tinder is a sketchy app, and I would not recommend it to younger girls because the age requirement is 18. You can always change your age on Facebook because obviously I’m 17,” Denise said. “It goes all the way up to the age of 30, and it works off of your location. You can set it to five miles away or you can set it up to 50 miles away and then talk to guys who fit in the category you have chosen.”
According to the online blog Marie Claire, there are 50 million active users on Tinder who check their accounts on average 11 times per day and spend on average 90 minutes on the app chatting with their matches.
One of the many reasons why Tinder has become so popular is the fact that it can be used for striking up conversations, but users also use it to boost their self-esteem and find easy hookups. Dating coach Ivana Franekova via Marie Claire’s blog recommends that users always meet in public places and let someone know where they are if they choose to go out on a Tinder date.
“Usually it’s guys from college, and they are all not wanting relationships, so it’s usually guys that are like, ‘Oh there’s a party this weekend, you want to come down?’ It’s those kind of guys that are wanting to hook up,” Denise said. “But a relationship can happen.”
A paid version of Tinder, called Tinder Plus, was recently released. For all members under the age of 30, it will cost $10 a month and for those over the age of 30 the cost is $20. The payment plan will give users an undo button and will also allow users to communicate with people outside of their area. Critics of the payment plan cite it as ageist and discriminatory.
“It is a good self-esteem booster because guys on there obviously want one thing, so they are like, ‘Oh, you are so pretty’,” a senior who asked that her name be changed, said. “If you just got out of a relationship, you kind of need to hear those things, but I would not recommend meeting up with any of those guys at all. I never planned it. It just happened.”
However, Tinder can also be used for humorous motives with no real intention of searching for a new relationship.
“I have never used Tinder with serious intentions,” another senior who wished to remain anonymous said. “I let my guy friend use it, and he swiped right on everyone so they would all message me. I would just give him the phone so he could reply.”
Other than searching for relationships, individuals use the app to meet new people.
“I’ve met some really interesting people, and there’s a couple of people who I met that go to Brevard College and graduated from Hendersonville High School,” one junior said. “We actually became good friends. I’ve met up with two of these people. I knew them away from Tinder, so when I saw them we just started talking. It was kind of awkward at first. Meeting anyone for the first time is awkward.”
By Kayla Petri and Emily Turpin