Save the Date
Tinder, one of most popular dating apps in the world, isn't exactly known for being the hub of serious relationships. Now, a new study published last month seems to reinforce just how seedy its dating pool really is.
In the study, the researchers surveyed nearly 1,400 Tinder users between the ages of 18 to 74 who were recruited online. The answers were grim. Nearly two-thirds of those respondents revealed that they were already in a relationship, some even married. Half said they weren't interested in dating at all.
It sounds ridiculous, but it's worth noting that Tinder is strongly pushing back against the findings.
"Based on Tinder’s data, the figures highlighted in this study are highly misleading and do not accurately represent our members," a Tinder spokesperson said in a statement provided after this story was published. "Study participants were only given three options to describe themselves — 'celibate', 'in a relationship' or ‘widowed’ — with no option for 'single.’ This likely resulted in a completely skewed depiction of who Tinder members are and what they seek."
To that end, the researchers dug deeper and asked participants questions about their motivations, as well as measuring self-reported psychological qualities like satisfaction, impulsivity, and loneliness.
According to their findings, many of the participants get a kick out of Tinder for the same reasons as other forms of social media. It's a way to kill time, interact with random people, and get the instant gratification of likes and matching with other people.
Of course, that doesn't make for an ideal crowd for those looking for a serious relationship. Germano Vera Cruz, coauthor of the study and a professor of psychology at the University of Picarde Jules Verne in France, said that this dynamic results in a "game of deception."
"Some people feel deceived with the use of dating apps, because each time you have a new platform, people think they might really find someone," Vera Cruz said, as quoted by NBC News. "And then people go from platform to platform, but each time they are there, they are not satisfied."
You can see this sort of gamification of the dating app on other social media sites, where it's popular to share ridiculous pick up lines sent to matches — or more nefariously, to ridicule the person on the other end.
Play the Long Game
Meanwhile, those that use Tinder as a way to distract themselves and cope with negative emotions reported the least satisfaction, the study found.
"There was the sense that they were spending too much time using them as entertainment or to distract themselves from other things," said fellow co-author Elias Aboujaoude, a clinical psychiatrist at Stanford Medicine, as quoted by NBC. "It can be overwhelming, and in some cases, it can lead people to this notion that the grass is always greener on the other side, like there's always better options out there."
In the long run, however, those lonely romantics looking for dates are actually the most likely to get something out of the app.
"We can't deny the fact, though, that a big percentage of successful relationships now start online, as well," Aboujaoude added.
Updated with comment from Tinder.
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