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Hinge, originally, was a swiping app very similar to Tinder except that it only offered you people who were connected to you through Facebook friends. In advance of their relaunch, they publicized some of their own damning statistics on thedatingapocalypse. McLeod has noticed the same waning of enthusiasm that I have. Whenever using a technology makes people unhappy, the question is always: Is Twitter terrible, or is it just a platform terrible people have taken advantage of?
Are dating apps exhausting because of some fundamental problem with the apps, or just because dating is always frustrating and disappointing? Moira Weigel is a historian and author of the recent book Labor of Love, in which she chronicles how dating has always been difficult, and always been in flux. That does feel different than before.
Once you meet someone in person, the app is not really involved in how that interaction goes anymore.
So if there is a fundamental problem with dating apps that burns people out and keeps them from connecting, it must be found somewhere in the selection process. Hinge seems to have identified the problem as one of design. Without the soulless swiping, people could focus on quality instead of quantity, or so the story goes. If you do, you then move to the sort of text-messaging interface that all dating-app users are duly familiar with.
People are more selective with this model.
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It takes a little bit more brainpower to actually show interest in someone, rather than just flicking your thumb to the right. McLeod believes this will make it so that only people who are serious about finding someone will use the app. Whether many people will be willing to pay for it remains to be seen.
And the majority of them expressed some level of frustration with the experience, regardless of which particular products they used. It's possible dating app users are suffering from the oft-discussed paradox of choice. This is the idea that having more choices, while it may seem good… is actually bad. And when they do decide, they tend to be less satisfied with their choices, just thinking about all the sandwiches and girlfriends they could have had instead.
The paralysis is real: According to a study of an unnamed dating app, 49 percent of people who message a match never receive a response. And that's almost more important. A pocket full of maybe that you can carry around to ward off despair. But the sense of infinite possibility online has real-world effects.
For example, Brian says that, while gay dating apps like Grindr have given gay men a safer and easier way to meet, it seems like gay bars have taken a hit as a result. Now, when you go out to the gay bars, people hardly ever talk to each other. The existence of the apps disincentivizes people from going for more high-stakes romantic opportunities. Heck, for that matter, you might not ask someone out in a bar, because the apps just feel easier.
In the absence of clear norms, people just have to wing it. Which does not bode well for a process that requires radical authenticity. Most people I spoke with reported getting some kind of rude or harassing messages, some more severe than others. There are some matches that immediately after the ice is broken ask me [about that].
The harassment is of course the fault of the people doing the harassing. The apps show people their options, connect them, and then the rest is up to them, for better or worse. It turns out, humans are hard. Humans are hard. So dating is hard. And a common complaint about dating, app-facilitated or otherwise, is that people are just too busy to deal with it. I think it feels historically new. There's this sense of time being scarce. So you won't have to waste time. Dating sites and apps promise to save you time.
An actual date still takes pretty much the same amount of time that it always has, so where the apps cut corners is in the lead-up. A Tinder spokesperson told me in an email that while the app doesn't lessen the time it takes to build a relationship, it has "made the first step super easy—we get you in front of someone with an efficiency and ease that you couldn't before. Efficient dating is, in many ways, at odds with effective dating.
Before you even sign up, please appreciate how cute this login page is. It is adorable and feels super low-pressure. OkCupid recently went through a pretty major rebranding, and their new advertising is incredible.
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I am obsessed, guys. You've probably seen their ads plastered on public transportation or on a billboard at least once: They feature bright colors, a cheeky sense of humor, and both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples, all while redefining what "DTF" stands for. The entire campaign is fresh and inviting and does a great job of making online dating feel cool and not lame. Their slogan is literally "Dating deserves better," and like yeah, it really does. Another way OkCupid is a true game changer lies in their inclusive gender selection: The site offers 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations, so no one is forced to choose a pronoun they're not comfortable with.
OkCupid is the only site out there that can truly say it's for everyone, and I applaud them endlessly for that.
The Rise of Dating-App Fatigue - The Atlantic
You'll find out why later. The questions get way too fake deep for my liking, and honestly, are just begging for people to lie.
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Do you think the cheaters of the world are actually going to say "Doesn't describe me at all" when asked if they cheat? Do you think the world's most sensitive, quick-tempered crybaby raises hand wants to admit to constantly picking fights? Hell no. There's no question that that stuff is important, but I just don't think this method will produce the most accurate information on how someone really acts in a relationship.
Good news: Building a profile on OkCupid is genuinely fun.
The Rise of Dating-App Fatigue
They'll ask things like "Would you rather share a kiss in a tent or a kiss in Paris? You'll also answer the basics about smoking, drinking, political preferences, religion, and all that good stuff. And that's just to start. After answering those and getting your profile open for business, they also have tons of questions to answer directly on your profile if you want to get even more specific with preference.
Questions like "Do you make your bed every day? You're really able to showcase all aspects of your dynamic as a partner without feeling the need to lie. There are also spaces for you to answer prompts about the last shows you binged, your favorite music artists, your talents, etc.
The required set of questions only takes about five minutes to complete, and then you're ready to start playing Bachelor or Bachelorette. You're not bombarded with notifications or emails, which I was extremely thankful for. The top nav is extremely clean and only gives notifications for likes and messages — unlike other sites where people can like you in general, like your photo , send a wink, send a smiley face, send a gift, and whatever TF else these sites think is necessary.
I'm big on aesthetics and design when it comes to dating sites I completely roasted AdultFriendFinder about it , and OkCupid is exactly what I want: OkCupid gets major points for how user-friendly it is. The same-sex ads were probably an obvious giveaway, but OkCupid is liberal as hell. Finding a hottie only to find out you disagree on everything is the most awkward bummer ever. Other sites only ask one question about that stuff, which just isn't enough.
If you're woke, liberal, and horrified by the dumpster fire that is our current political climate, this is the site for you. Right wingers, you should just exit now and sign up for eharmony — it has history of being pretty conservative. With OkCupid's recent makeover came a ton of politically charged questions as a way to weed out the not-so-progressive users.