You’re never going to meet The One on Tinder

I thought everyone saw Tinder as just fun and games until I realized how many people were complaining about “how hard it is to meet people” on the app. And I’m like, “hold up, guys.” Because whoa.

Expecting Tinder to take care of your “real relationship” needs is like expecting a candy store to take care of your nutritional needs. It’s expecting a romantic sit-down out of those massive cheap buffets, where people lose their minds over the sheer size of the selection and forget that quality might have mattered.

Tinder doesn’t care whether you find The One.

Tinder isn’t incentivized to find you a partner — in fact, they’d prefer that you never do, and that you go on chasing those swipes forever.

Tinder is a business and they are not in the business of finding you a spouse, so ultimately, that’s not their priority. Anything to the contrary is purely your own inference and projection (partly due to marketing and design. But still.)

Tinder doesn’t get paid for each proposal; their idea of “success” isn’t “I do.” From a pure income statement standpoint, Tinder earns revenue from freemium models, sponsored profiles, and profile “boosts.” But it’s more important to understand that their crowning metric is valuation, not revenue.

Tinder — and many other apps like it — are in the game of valuation, and they are valued not on a revenue multiple but, most commonly, active users — i.e., how many unique people are on the app, how often, and for how long each time.

In other words: Tinder wins purely by keeping you active — i.e., swiping. They are in the business of keeping you on the app.

This means that your goal of finding “The One” directly conflicts with theirs. And the loser in this disconnect is always going to be you.

People want to treat Tinder like a normal business — where users are the customers (customers pay for the goods) and it pays to get the goods right. But for the most part, you don’t pay when you engage with Tinder. And if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product. So instead of optimizing the thing you’re using, Tinder wants to optimize you. i.e., they want you to hang out. How best to do that? Keep you amused, and ever-running.

Everything on the app is set up for this. They allow for only a few pictures and very short bios; the entire UI is designed for maximum swipes, not soul-mating.

Which can be fine, if superficiality and novelty are what you want. It only becomes problematic when you’ve knowingly entered an arena of gamified human interactions and then roam the grounds saying you’re in search of authenticity. (Which, odds are, you’re actually not…)

You don’t care about finding The One, either.

If you were, you wouldn’t be on Tinder.

I know this because if you were actually serious about finding the one, you would only invest — or invest most heavily — in the specific behavior with the highest results, and you’d ruthlessly cut out everything with a bad return on investment.

It’s as true for love as any goal. If you’re serious about losing weight, you invest in things like working out and/or eating well. You cut out shitty foods. And if you have moments where you prioritize garbage over gains (which is fine — we’re all human) it’s either because you truly don’t realize the cupcake is bad or, for at least that moment, you didn’t care as much as you did about dat cupcake. (And again, no judgement. Anyone in my life can tell you I got it bad for cookies.) But at least be honest about it: we make a choice, and Tinder is the cookie and cupcake binge of “dating.”

The fact that so many people still say they’re trying to find the one while using Tindle can only be explained by 2 things:

  1. They’re unaware. You’re either a new user or you’re truly oblivious to the fact that you’ve been on the app for x months or years without making serious headway
  2. They don’t care as much as they say. You are either prioritizing the goal lower than you say, or you’re prioritizing other things above it. Or both.

Any other explanations are only excuses falling under #2, and you’re prioritizing these things above the goal of “finding The One.” Examples include:

“Everyone’s on Tinder.” False. Inaccuracy of “everyone” aside… You want to know who’s on Tinder? People who are both a.) single, i.e., other people who also have not achieved the goal you say you want to achieve. People who have actually achieved it are not on Tinder and b.) also fucking up this goal.

It’s a daily “Dieter’s Meetup” at the local fast food joint, and everyone’s looking around like “yep, the gang’s all here!” No, only those struggling to lose weight are.

“I still meet people.” Indeed. And that’s totally fine — as long as we both agree that that’s your real goal.

“It’s the only way to date nowadays.” First: No, it literally is not. But more importantly: is dating around your goal?? Tinder may be “how people date nowadays,” but how are people getting married? (Again, if that’s your goal.) Is this also the “only” way to find a spouse? (Is it even a statistically significant way to find a spouse?)

Similarly: “It’s the best option.” No. The “best” option is the one that gets you closest to the goal — finding a spouse, if that’s truly what you want. Statistically speaking, I’m pretty sure the highest percentage of marriages are not from Tinder, so it’s pretty far from “the best” for both you and everyone else.

“It totally worked for this one couple — and they’re married now!” Yeah, of course. Just like we all know that one 90-year old man who’s been smoking a pack a day since he was 12 and still going strong. You know these are both anomalies, and citing them is a logical fallacy. The odds are definitely not in your favor. Statistically speaking, cigarettes are gonna fuck your shit up, and Tinder is gonna leave you high and dry.

“But it could still happen for me!” Yeah, I mean… maybe. But you’re up against some really substantial odds:

1.) Tinder. Tinder’s UI employs every tool in the toolbox to prevent this. You’re abstracted from everything meaningful, force-fed everything superficial, “encouraged” to make (and rewarded for making) snapshot decisions. (It also incentivizes you to create arbitrary checklists and criteria, in an effort to combat and navigate the overwhelming number of choices. Meaning your hunt for “The One” starts to include bullshit that doesn’t really matter in marriage… like the lighting in photos, or angles, or the inclusion of a fish.)

2.) You. You either get into the headspace Tinder wants when you’re on the app, or you had it going in. Sure, you can say you’re looking for The One and stay true to that — just like you can totally order a salad at Wendy’s or not gamble in Vegas or just buy gum at the candy story, every once in a while. But eventually you’re going to cave one way or the other: either play the game or bow out.

(And why you would repeatedly subject yourself to that is a bit beyond me, but you do you, boo boo.)

Because if you weren’t or aren’t in that headspace, and stay true to the goal of finding the one, you would have much lower tolerance for the app. It wouldn’t be “fun” with regard to that goal, because the low ROI and futility would frustrate those who are serious.

Okay, then what do?

Well, two things:

Step 1: Get honest with yourself about your real goals. You either want to get serious about finding The One, or you want to keep fucking around…

Step 2:

…If you want to keep fucking around, then keep on keeping on, stop complaining, and Tinder away, my dear!

…If you want to get serious about finding a spouse, then let go of the dating version of Candy Crush.

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