Slide to the left, slide the right. Criss cross! A little throwback to the 2000 school dance favourite, Cha-Cha Slide, never hurt anyone and, oddly enough. It bears a resemblance to a seemingly benign action roughly 10 million people do every day – sliding and swiping left, sliding and swiping right. If you hadn’t already guessed, we’re narrowing in on the dating app (online dating) for millennials, Tinder: where it’s possible to find love from the bathroom stall.
The way we find love is rapidly changing in our ever-evolving digital world. Especially since the rise of Tinder and other mobile dating apps. This technology has de-stigmatized the world of online dating. It has also empowered men and women to seek out romantic connections at the drop of a hat. But as online dating increases in popularity, it becomes important to shine a spotlight on this technology. Especially in the wake of experts declaring that online dating may be tied to the rise in STDs and, most recently, that online dating fraud is at a record high. Recent research has also shown that online dating may even cause people to lower their standards.
With everyone and their dog on Tinder, it seems logical to conclude that dating apps must be fulfilling some kind of basic need – even if it’s a quick spike in dopamine. Perhaps dating sites are leading people to the end of a romantic classic, delivering the Jack to your Rose and the Romeo to your Juliet. Especially considering that research from the New York Times concludes that the average person spends a combined 90 minutes every day on Tinder – 90 minutes. According to recent research, however, dating apps aren’t leading us to the partner of our dreams. In fact, it’s far from this fantasy.
According to a recently published study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, singles are settling for much less than their ideal partner, despite knowing exactly what they want. The study population was massive with the researchers examining nearly 42,000 people between the ages of 18 and 80. The important thing to note from this research is that people weren’t just settling for brunettes when they really wanted a blonde. They were settling on the very things that are supposed to matter, like personality, education and political views. They were settling for Joffrey from Game of Thrones instead of Jim from The Office. More than 65% of the contacts made had one or less category on their dream list. 1 in 3 contacts had zero. Put another way, messages to the Jim Halpert’s of the world were less than 1 percent.
The study is an interesting one, with even more interesting implications. Are we lowering our standards and, if so, why? Perhaps the dopamine has gotten to our heads and we can’t think clearly. The researcher of the study frames the results like this: since we have access to such a large number of people at any given time. It becomes almost impossible to wade through it all to ever find exactly what we’re looking for, so we give up. We settle.
We’re not saying that you need to give up on online dating. However, while men and women should feel free to swipe left or right on whomever they so please. This is a cautionary tale to never settle for less. As Jack Dawson would say, “Promise me you will survive, that you will never give up… No matter happens.”
By: Carol Sugar-Burke
Carol’s real passion is people, and the common element throughout her career has been working closely with them to make them happy and meet their needs. She is the Executive Matchmaker at Bespoke Matchmaking, a firm specializing in gay and lesbian dating and matchmaking.