I installed Tinder last September after an almost-two year relationship went down in flames. It was a difficult time for me, but luckily, I had to fly to Hong Kong for work. A friend introduced Tinder to me and I found the idea revolutionary. You get to anonymously rate people based on your location, number of mutual friends, and interests, and you swipe right if it’s a “yes” or left if it’s a “no.” Its appeal is that you can only send a message to those who also swiped right on you, which guarantees a level of mutual interest.
So I decided to try it out. My first try was in Hong Kong and I met two guys there. I thought of uninstalling it when I got back to the Philippines but thought, “Hey, why not try the market?” Four months later and I’m still using it, with varying levels of success. A lot of bad stuff has been said about this app but I enjoy using it, and have learned valuable stuff along the way. Read on and see if you can pick up a lesson or two:
10. You will get judged for how you look. The first thing you see is a person’s face, so it makes sense that you will be swiped based on your appearance. It’s rare to find people who read profiles. For a while, my profile read ,”On our first date, I’ll carve our names into a tree. It’s the most romantic way of letting you know I have a knife,” but no one reacted. We have to accept being judged for our looks, because after all, don’t we get attracted to looks first before personality? Make sure to upload pictures that show off your best features. Add photos that show your personality (in museums if you love art, in the field if you’re athletic).
9. It can be an ego boost, especially if you both swipe right. Tinder helped me with my self-esteem when my boyfriend broke up with me. M., who works in a bank, agrees and says the real game of Tinder isn’t meeting but getting ego boosts with every match. However, my sense of self-worth became too tied to the app that I would feel bad about myself on days when I didn’t get any matches. I took it pretty hard in the first few days, until I remembered what Amy Poehler said in her book Yes Please: “I had already made a decision early on that I would be a plain girl with tons of personality and accepting it made everything a lot easier. If you are lucky, there is a moment in your life when you have some say as to what your currency is going to be. I decided early on it was not going to be my looks. Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.” As an average-looking person, it empowered me to focus on my charm, wit, and conversational skills. Accepting it has made me happier.
8. Because of this, you become less superficial. Yes, a cute smile and a nice pack of abs can make me swoon, but I’ve come to value charm and intelligence more. I matched with a lot of goodlooking guys who couldn’t carry a decent conversation. There will always come a point when he’ll reply with an emoji or a “hehe.” In an app where talking is required, Tinder made me realize that your looks can only take you so far.
7. You will get to meet a lot of people. As in a lot. Since I started using it, I’ve met engineers, government officials, hoteliers, students, accountants, and architects. I met someone working in the Department of Education and we lamented the current state of education in the Philippines. I met someone working in the power industry and he taught me about nuclear power. I chatted with a Forestry student from UP Los Banos. M, a former broadcaster, met a well-known broadcaster from GMA. To quote Mean Girls: on Tinder, there are “the greatest people you will ever meet… and the worst.”
6. Yes, you will meet a lot of people, but not everyone will be of good quality. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince. As a rule of thumb, I exert more effort to keep the conversation going before I declare that it is beyond saving. My issue with Tinder is that the lightning-fast pace of swiping has made us lazy to develop friendships with the people we’ve already matched it, opting instead to swipe again during the first lull of the chat. I believe in the slow burn, but I also know when to snuff it out.