Why I’m Against Dating Apps
I am a dating coach. And I am against dating apps.
Being a dating coach without the assistance of dating apps is very risky. Most dating coaches rely on the convenience of dating apps because they need quick results to prove their services are effective. But we all know that being in a successful relationship involves much more than a brushed up dating profile and a few confident sounding conversation starters. As a dating coach who facilitates transformative work with my clients that yield real, lasting relationships, I am leery of the consequences that dating apps can have on our attitudes toward people and our abilities to genuinely connect.
Do I think it’s impossible to find a loving relationship on an app? No. Do I think dating apps are all bad? No. But I think we need to think critically about the ways they may influence our thoughts and behaviors toward others. Here are just a few examples of potential negative impacts that dating apps can have on our psyches and abilities to connect:
Dating apps commodify human beings, deducing them to objects for acquisition.
Let’s face it: online dating is basically online shopping for significant others (or free hookups.) We all know it’s a matter of time before Amazon gets into the dating business!
Dating apps create an underlying illusion that people exist in this world for our personal pleasure and consumption–like movies or food. This attitude disregards the depths of human beauty and complexity. It reduces humans down to just another thing in life to acquire, when we are so much more.
Dating apps make us lazy and serve as a crutch for developing social skills and confidence. Dating apps give us an artificial feeling of connection and a false hope that we can find true love without even leaving the house. If you added up all of the hours you have spent swiping, texting, and fretting over the response times of your Tinder crushes, think about how much you could have grown in your ability to communicate and interact with people if you had gone out and met people in the physical world instead?
Dating apps cause unnecessary anxiety. Most dating apps are designed to perceive people at the most superficial level. Having to represent all of who you are in a few photos and sentences for anyone and everyone to judge and quickly accept or reject is reasonably anxiety inducing. Sending messages into cyberworld then having to speculate about all of the reasons why the other person may not have written you back (and likely wrongfully assuming it is because something is wrong with you) is extremely stressful.
Many people use apps because they fear rejection and approaching people in person feels anxiety inducing. But the truth is, you will face MORE rejection online. Very few people in real life will say “go away, you’re not attractive enough for me to talk with,” if you approached them in person. It is only through practicing interacting with people face to face that we will become less anxious in dating.
Dating apps treat relationships like games. People are not toys to be played with. Dating is not a game. Dating is fun, like games, but any time you interact with a human being, what you do and say holds real impact. No one likes to be played with. But it is difficult not to see dating prospects as characters in a game when they are just a profile on a screen that can be easily tossed aside.
Dating apps promote disrespectful behavior. It is much easier to ignore people, make prejudiced comments, judge, and act generally rude or disrespectful online. Even if you agree to meet in person, if you initially met on a dating app, you are more likely to take them less seriously because of the nature and context of how you met. The facade of believing that we have an unlimited supply of sexy people at our fingertips lends to seeing people as easily disposable. We don’t cultivate a genuine awe and appreciation of each individual’s unique and beautiful qualities.
Dating apps mask the reality of what lies behind the door of real romantic relationships. Online dating creates a false illusion that meeting people and being in relationships should be convenient and easy. The truth is, having healthy relationships takes a lot of work and effort and is anything but convenient! If we want to cultivate a healthy, happy relationship, we need to take responsibility, put in the hard work, and be committed to sticking through hard times, even when they aren’t convenient, because the reward is worth it!