Despite the reputation of Tinder as a “hookup app,” it isn’t actually a great tool for casual intimate encounters.
There are countless people who resort to Tinder in times of loneliness in the hopes of finding a quick hookup with a new and exciting stranger, only to feel worthless and even more alone than when they started.
Lonely people will not listen to reason because they seek to drown their loneliness in the company of others. Aside from the obvious reasons why Tinder for hookups is a horrible idea, there are also realistic ones that come from real research into people’s experiences and motivations with the app.
Tinder doesn’t take much time or effort to use because you can quickly swipe through profiles of people in your area. This is pretty much all Tinder has going for it.
Tinder has sheer numbers, which refers to the number of individuals you can scan in a short amount of time, as well as location matching. But that’s when Tinder’s advantages as a hookup tool start to fade.
Tinder Usage Science
Despite its reputation as a “hookup” app, research has found that Tinder is not the best app for spontaneous sexual encounters. And the distinction comes down to men’s and women’s motives and desires, where they overlap and where they diverge.
Only 15% of women say they are searching for a hookup, compared to 49% of males. This implies that even if you match with someone you find really attractive, there’s a good possibility you’ll want quite different things from the encounter.
This is one of the reasons why Tinder users seldom meet up with matches: the two people are on completely different pages, or wavelengths.
In a study that sought to understand the experiences of Tinder users, A First Look at User Activity on Tinder, researchers found that for 73% of the participants, meeting up with a match happened less than 10% of the time.
This implies that even if you match with a stunning woman who shares all of your interests, the chances of actually meeting your match are less than 10%.
Sexual strategy has a significant role in this.
According to the survey, 33% of males admitted to randomly swiping right on women’s profiles simply to see what they got. If they were fishing, this would be the equivalent of dragging a giant net all the way to the ocean’s bottom and collecting everything in it’s path, then sorting the garbage and treasure later.
Another 13% of males said they used an adaptive matching method. In other words, the number of matches they had that day determined how willing they were to swipe right on someone. The fewer matches they had, the more lenient and less selective they would be.
Combine these two groups of eager men, and we’ve accounted for 46% of men. Something tells me there’s an interesting overlap between the 49 percent of males on Tinder searching specifically for a hookup and the 46 percent of men prepared to “like” every profile that comes their way, or adjust their selectivity based on how many matches they have, but this is just a guess.
93 % of women, on the other hand, stated they would only swipe right and “like” a profile if they were explicitly attracted to the individual. Even on Tinder, women are far more choosy than males.
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Men would rather cast a wide net and hope for the best, but women would rather be extra careful, especially given the potential dangers to their physical safety. This is a dynamic that follows both men and women through life, rearing its ugly head in every aspect of our lives.
When you add it all together, you have a gigantic bottleneck, with an overabundance of desperate, lonely males on one side and a relative scarcity of women flooded with messages on the other.
This even creates a feedback loop in which women as a whole are more selective, resulting in fewer matches for many men, which leads to those men adopting an adaptive strategy in which they become less selective, resulting in even fewer matches per right-swipe for the men and, in turn, more selectivity among the women.
The Communication Dilemma
Another study analysed data from 3,600 Tinder profile evaluations and discovered that males swiped right on more than 60% of the profiles they encountered, whereas women swiped right on only 4% of the profiles they encountered.
Men are open to communicating with more than 60% of the women they meet on Tinder, but women are only open to chatting with 4% of the men they find on the app.
You could be thinking to yourself, “Not me!” when you read this. “This isn’t me!” Whether you’re in the 60, or 40% it doesn’t matter, there’s no shame. There’s also no shame in being a lady who is more relaxed about her likes and super likes.
However, dating takes place in groups. It’s a process in which we filter out the individuals with whom we don’t want to connect as we make our way to those with whom we do want to connect. Our experiences are not reflected in individual results. “Not all men,” remember?
Tinder may be a terrific hookup app, especially now that they’ve made browsing through prospective matches so quick and easy, but there’s a power-law dynamic at work here.
In the same way that the top 1% of earners on most internet platforms get all of the money, the same is true in the Tinder dating world, where certain power users will have the greatest success, while others will squander a lot of time on the app without finding much success.
Here’s what we recommend if you’re going to utilise Tinder for short stints:
- Approach the encounter with an open mind and a low expectations. Expect success to take time, and be prepared to jump ship after a few weeks if it isn’t working out.
- Pictures are everything, so make sure you utilise the best ones you can. If you really need to appear your best, hire a photographer to take professional images of you. Professional journalists and actors frequently use headshots to gain jobs; there’s no shame in putting your best foot forwards as long as your images aren’t completely doctored (which is dishonest).
- Understand that it isn’t about you. When you think about it, the total research I’ve provided above went through tens of thousands of people’s experiences. If you don’t succeed, you’re in the majority. Failure, in my opinion, is a signal to go back to the drawing board, work on yourself, try to improve in every way possible, and then try again later.
Tinder’s image as a “hookup” app appears to have come from overconfident men’s imaginations rather than real-world statistics that included women. Happy Swiping!