Online dating apps aren’t a match for everyone

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Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

A user opens the app Bumble. Northwestern students have mixed feelings about using the apps.

Neya Thanikachalam, Reporter

As cold weather descends on Evanston, some Northwestern students may turn to online dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble and swipe to make a new connection.

Online dating makes it easier for people to find partners that they connect with because of the larger pool of people they can choose from, according to an August article in The Economist. Online dating apps such as Tinder cite over 1.6 billion swipes per day and 1 million dates per week.

Although more people are choosing to swipe right, Northwestern students have mixed feelings about using dating apps.

McCormick junior Michael Tamkin said he found it was easy for him to talk to people who he matched with because the apps ensure both users are interested.

“There’s a reason why the other person had to have matched with you, and you to have matched with the other person,” Tamkin said. “So there’s generally some sort of conversation starter or thing that can come out from that.”

Communication first-year Shelby Schultz said she found that it was harder for her to make meaningful connections with other people when she was using Tinder. She said it didn’t feel the same as meeting someone in person.

Schultz said that she felt, as a first-year, that people were trying to find out what the dating scene was like at NU rather than looking for actual relationships.

“Even if there was someone I hit it off with, I couldn’t see myself meeting a stranger in person,” Schultz said. “I think people could (find a partner) but it takes a certain kind of person on both sides of the relationship.”

The online dating market has expanded to include other apps built for matching users with specific interests. Developing apps such as BikerKiss (“Two wheels, Two Hearts, One Road!”), which cater to a specific audience, help personalize dating, The Economist reported.

Schultz added she disliked dating apps because they placed too much emphasis on the “superficial.”

Weinberg sophomore Michael Ma said he doesn’t use online dating apps. He said he found the selection process damaging to users’ mental health.

“It’s almost like a marketplace because it’s so visual and it’s superficial,” Ma said.

Ma added that the apps perpetuate hookup culture and he doesn’t think they can be very effective.

Tamkin said the apps can sometimes be problematic. He said when users are swiping on dating apps, it causes people to be more specific and some users are ignored.

Tamkin said he thinks that this problem is present in offline dating too, and will be hard to change in online dating apps.

“I think most dating in general plays towards the superficial,” Tamkin said. “I think most dating in general starts with some sort of attraction, and so I don’t think that’s necessarily an inherent flaw in the system.”

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Twitter: @neyachalam

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