March 2, 2016

Tinder 101: How to Survive Today’s Dating Culture

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Written by: Fiona Leung
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So here I am, cooped up in my cave on a Sunday morning writing about an online dating application you’ve probably heard of by now- Tinder.

*inhales a deep breath*

From what started as an app I dared not admit I was using nearly two years ago to one that just seems much less taboo and more comfortable discussing today, Tinder has surely came a long way since its launch back in 2012. Whether you’re a recent Tinder band-wagoner, a casual user that oscillates between uninstalling and reinstalling the app or is simply a loyal Tinderella/Tinderfella, the point I’m trying to make here is that Tinder is increasingly prevailing as a hot topic in today’s dating culture.


Popularity of Tinder – https://flic.kr/p/uzANM6

As its user-base grows to encompass more and more singletons, so does its presence. After all, not only do we feel more inclined to admit we have a Tinder profile, but we have learned to even enjoy talking about our matches with our friends.  But what really makes this app so profound? And if you’re anything like me, why do you find yourself leaving yet returning to it every now and then?

That Love-Hate Relationship


Tinder swipe – https://flic.kr/p/vtup49

First off, Tinder is an app built around a very intuitive, easy to use card-based UI (user interface). Essentially, Tinder allows its users to swipe through a clutter of potential romantic partners, shuffling past ones that don’t peak their interest while collecting “favorites”. It’s like online shopping for a potential partner in the palm of your hands. “Speed dating on steroids” if you will. But what makes this app so addictive, doesn’t only lie in its high level user engagement and clever interface design, but also in its way to mimic today’s dating culture.

With its emphasis on prioritizing profile images to spark first impressions and its quick decision making interactions, Tinder is largely a contribution to and a reflection of how our generation dates- fast, shallow and commitment-phobic.


Date – https://flic.kr/p/fasqTV

By allowing its users to continuously swipe through card-like profiles, the options are really just endlessWhen we meet someone we fancy, we’re quick to remind ourselves that there might be something even better out there so we’re back on our swiping sprees.

This is the essence of how our generation thinks and behaves – we’re just suffocating under a pile of limitless options yet enjoying the numerous possibilities as privileged scions. We love the thrill of the chase but hate that we’re never truly satisfied with what we end up obtaining. 

Tinder Survival Tips

Now before this article shifts focus and strays towards a topic that is much heavier in depth and controversy, Tinder is all in all a highly addictive and fun app. I mean, it’s design was based off on a card game after all!

While the app is more or less a reflection/contribution of today’s fast-paced dating culture, this doesn’t mean that our participation as users should come to a screeching halt. Tinder has its cons but also lets not forget its pros. Every experience in the wonderful world of dating is what I like to call a valuable learning opportunity. So go ahead, make a profile if you haven’t done so already and explore your options.

Here are 3 key tips to keep in mind when using Tinder:

1.) Your Profile Speaks Volumes 


Tinder profile – https://flic.kr/p/evSq2G

Since Tinder allows users to make minute decisions based solely on shallow features such as images and short bios, it’s important to make your profile count.

Add a good quality selfie or an appealing headshot as your main profile image. At this point, you can continue adding 5 additional images of yourself (Tinder allows a total of 6). As a personal preference and from past experiences, I often like to include an image with my friend/s (aka. a social image), an activity or sport-focused image and/or a full body picture just so others can obtain a broader sense of who I am.

For the bio, include a short description of your hobbies and interests.

2.) Take It With a Grain of Salt

Applicable to majority of other online dating sites and applications out there, users entering into virtual dating mode should not have high expectations of finding their soulmate or future spouse. This kind of mindset should be avoided, especially considering Tinder is a fast-paced, shallow application ( ahem…”speed dating on steroids”). Instead, see it as a fun opportunity rather than a long term endeavor. 

Also, because Tinder’s user experience is centered around a game-like scenario, Tinder is well known to be fickle. You could be in midst of having a delightful conversation with someone you’re interested in and next thing you know, they’ve unmatched you. It happens. Just take it with a grain of salt and move on.

3.) Stay Safe 

Most importantly, be safe. As fun and addicting as Tinder may be, it’s imperative to remember that it is an app for meeting strangers.

If you’ve been lucky to land a date, agree to meet up at a public place such as a coffee shop or a pizzeria in downtown.

Happy tindering folks! 

About the Author

Fiona Leung
Fiona Leung
Fiona finds solace in the written word and a passion for design. She is studying communications and interactive art+ technology at SFU and currently finishing off the last bit of her undergraduate career. Embracing her adventurous and curious side, she enjoys going on food adventures, soaking in the night life, learning how to cook and dabbling in the latest news/trends. Let her share her stories with you on twitter @fioleee!

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