Your Odds Of Success On Tinder Are Shocking

I know this sounds obvious, but in order to meet new people you have to go somewhere where you don’t know anyone. Sure, there are select weirdos who enjoy meeting strangers, but for most of us it’s a profoundly uncomfortable thing to do. I get invited to screenings where I don’t know anyone and after five minutes of awkwardly standing by the bar by myself I either make the decision to go introduce myself or go home. And I’m a guy who is arguably recognizable because my face is on TV! Doesn’t matter. Everyone is afraid of rejection. Enter Tinder. It’s safe. It’s instant. You don’t have to risk anything. Tinder eliminates rejection: you only find out if someone likes you. If they don’t, you can assume they never even saw you.

So should I join? As a 30 year old who recently broke up with his longtime girlfriend, I can’t help but consider going on Tinder. Everyone seems to be on it, or some version of it. More than 50 million people use Tinder a month. Hinge has made more than 8 million matches. Grindr has been downloaded more than 10 million times. The online dating industry has expanded at 3.5 percent a year since 2008, despite the recession. So what’s holding me back from joining the 50 million people who check their Tinder accounts 11 times per day?

My first problem is who or what I’ll find on Tinder. I recently watched a hilarious video about Tinder by Conan O’Brien and was struck by one line in particular. When asked “Why join Tinder?” Conan replies, “I’m looking for someone who will change my life,” he pauses, “for 20 minutes.” Bingo. 

What I think Conan is alluding to, is that if you want to meet someone whose company you actually enjoy, someone you would want to go on a date with, you have to meet them in a way that is conducive to sharing something in common. Tinder on the other hand is this totally limitless, undefined environment where you’re going to come across people with whom you have nothing in common. Over 10 million of them. Per day. Tinder doesn’t require you fill out a survey about your hobbies or drinking habits, you decide if you want to chat with a Tinder user based on the pictures they post of themselves and the short, inevitably deceptive one-line bio they write about themselves. 

Statistics prove that people are generally two inches shorter and a year older than the photo they post online. And that’s just the tip of the BS iceberg. Tinder basically ensures that the only thing you have in common with your “match” is owning smartphones and being in the same general proximity. Oh, and maybe being DTF. You know what it means, don’t even pretend. 

So finding someone who shares your interests on Tinder is like finding a needle in a haystack. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you and another user are one of the 15 million matches Tinder boasts per day. Now you and your match can start “talking” through the chat function. Yay! For some people, chatting, even sexting, on Tinder is a version of companionship. But let’s be clear: communicating on Tinder is NOT a legitimate way to determine your compatibility as a couple. Why not? Because Tinder is completely detached from authentic communication! Because not all communication is equal! Authentic communication doesn’t happen between your fingertips and your phone, it is body language, eye contact, first impressions, and hygiene, just to start. And none of these are present on Tinder.

Big deal, you say, I just want to hook-up with people. Nothing wrong with that. But too many of us let our worth be defined by how many matches we get. Don’t let yourself become a commodity. Don’t objectify yourself. Don’t base your self-worth on the response of others. That is completely backwards. You are a worthy, intelligent person. I know because you’re reading this article.

I want to leave you with a call to action. In the age of internet dating, we’ve become amazing at looking for relationships and horrible at being in them. So focus less on the deceptive pictures and one-line bios, and commit to finding someone based on shared interests - take a class at community college, join a gym, get out there - and practice patience, understanding, listening, and well, relationship skills. Because the only way you know what you want in a relationship is to have one, good or bad. So go out there and fail. Get rejected. Then, someday you may have the best one of your life.

That’s my rant about Tinder: #nohookupsplease