6 Reasons Dating Apps Don’t Really Improve Dating

Couple dating and flirting

Think a dating app will make the actual process of dating easier on you? Think again | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Dating apps are a fun way to meet people, whether you’re looking to hook up, to go on a few dates, or perhaps to make a connection that will turn into a long-term relationship. Dating apps do, of course, have their pitfalls. Some dating apps make it easy to fall prey to a scam, and other platforms invade your privacy. And choosing the wrong app may mean meeting people whose intentions are different from yours. But for the most part, there’s no right or wrong way to date, especially if you’re exercising common sense along the way.

With that said, you probably shouldn’t believe people who claim that dating apps make dating a whole lot better. In fact, it may be wise to be skeptical if someone says that dating apps make dating even a little bit better. After all, you’re still meeting strangers whom you know little about. And you’re still exercising a lot of trust to operate under the assumption that these strangers aren’t lying to you. That takes guts whether your initial conversations take place in person or via an app.

Dating apps can be a lot of fun. And they make romance and relationships a little easier to access, particularly if you’re not big on striking up conversations with strangers in person. But they really don’t make dating any easier. Curious what that means? Read on to check out a few of the reasons why you’re likely to find that your dating app of choice doesn’t really improve what happens once you’ve met a potential partner.

1. Dating apps make it easier to meet people, but they don’t change what happens once you’ve met

Lesbian couple standing and looking each other

Dating apps don’t make the process of getting to know somebody any easier | iStock.com/amazingmikael

There’s no denying that dating apps make it easier to find other people. That’s true whether you want a hookup, are looking for someone to go on a few dates with, or are secretly hoping to find a partner for a long-term relationship. In fact, dating apps make it easier to meet a lot more people than you typically would, but they don’t change anything that happens on your first date or on the evening you decide to hook up. The way that you and your partner met was different than it would have been without the dating app that connected you. But once you’ve swiped right and agreed upon a time and place to meet up, you’re on your own.

2. Dating apps don’t stop people from lying like they normally would

Gay couple looking at a smartphone

Just as people misrepresent themselves in person, they also lie on online dating profiles | iStock.com/Renato Arap

One of the major pitfalls of dating is that people habitually misrepresent themselves. Most of the time, that’s not a big deal. They might just make themselves sound more well-read than they really are, or they fib about the kinds of things that they like to do in their downtime. Unfortunately, dating apps don’t stop people from lying about themselves. In fact, dating apps may even make it easier to lie. People lie about all kinds of things on the internet — they fib about their biographical details or their interests. Or, they lie about their age, height, or weight, and enhance their photos. Dating apps don’t eliminate the possibility that someone is lying to you. Just remember — you can’t trust everything that someone puts on their Tinder profile.

3. Dating apps make it easier to lose touch with reality

Couples dancing and drinking

Dating apps make it easier to forget that everybody is just presenting the best version of themselves | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

When’s the last time you saw somebody post a selfie on Instagram when they didn’t have a perfect hair day, or had an unexpected breakout on their face? How often do your Facebook friends talk honestly about how things really aren’t going that great for them? Just as everybody curates their most flattering images and projects their best self on social media, people only show their best side (both literally and figuratively) on their online dating profile. Everybody wants to look good on a first date, but online dating makes it pretty easy to forget that what we see online isn’t the whole story. Not everybody has the perfect job and the ideal life. And relationships don’t usually go as smoothly as you might think, despite what your couple friends may post on social media. 

4. Dating apps often lead to unrealistic expectations

Couple enjoying drinks on a date

Dating apps make it way too easy to end up with unrealistic expectations | iStock.com/Carlos Davila

So social networks and dating apps can make us forget that what we’re looking at is an edited, curated version of somebody’s life and personality. But dating apps can also create unrealistic expectations in the people who use them. We’ve covered a few of the reasons why you may feel that you’re only matching with losers on Tinder. If you’re only getting a few matches on the app, or you’re only matching with girls or guys you wouldn’t really want to take out on a date, it’s entirely possible that you’re being unrealistic about your criteria for matches. You may be right-swiping on the profiles of people who are significantly more attractive than you are, of course. But barring that possibility, you may be expecting everyone to have model-esque looks and interesting jobs. Don’t lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of great people who, though they may not look like models or have glamorous careers, would be tons of fun to date.

5. Dating apps make it easy to write off someone before giving them a chance

Couple making eye contact

Because online dating users think there’s an infinite number of potential matches, that makes it easy to just write somebody off before getting to know them | iStock.com/ArthurHidden

This sounds pretty obvious. But dating apps make it easy to forget about somebody before you even get to know them. That may be the point if you’re just looking for a hookup. But if you’re looking for a relationship, you owe it to yourself to give each potential partner a chance. You should try to figure out whether you and the guy or the girl across the table from you is interesting. Find out whether they have the same kind of goals as you. Ask yourself whether you could see yourself growing and maturing with this person. Always try to appreciate the person who’s in front of you instead of mentally writing them off at the start of dinner and banking on your hope that you’ll just find another match to go out with tomorrow.

6. Dating apps can make dating more stressful

Couple man and woman lay cuddling on the bed

For some people, dating apps make the process of dating more stressful | iStock.com/Kuzmichstudio

Everybody is busy and stressed, whether they’re single or in a relationship. But many people have found that dating apps feel hectic. Especially if you live in a major city, it feels like there’s a practically endless pool of potential matches out there. And it’s easy to get the sense that you’re missing out on the right matches, or aren’t moving fast enough to talk with potential dates. Some people feel stressed by dating apps. (To be fair, others don’t have any problem with them and love the experience.) But if your platform of choice is making you feel stressed, it’s safe to say that it isn’t improving the already stressful process of dating for you.