The Stigma Surrounding Dating Apps | Jasmine Elasaad
“So how did you guys meet?” If such a question makes your palms sweat and brings on a bout of nervous laughter, you’re not alone. Couples almost always want to have a good first date story to tell. So it’s only natural that dating app users may feel pressure to embellish their stories or even fabricate an outright lie to impress their family and friends, as well as perhaps even their children down the line. There has long been stigma surrounding the usage of these apps, but is it really justified?
In a poll conducted by Morning Consult, it was found that 36% of U.S. adults have reported using a dating app at least once in their lives. “But why exactly are so many people turning to the Internet to fulfill their love lives?” you may ask. Well, a lot of people can find it hard to forge connections with others in-person, especially if they’re on the quieter side. It can be easier for some to express themselves online, allowing them to become bolder versions of themselves and say things that they may feel too afraid to in-person. Plus, you won’t have to experience the crippling fear of rejection on a dating app since dismissal will feel a lot less personal. You can avoid the back-and-forth internal debate over a romantic confession, where you’ll inevitably miss your opportunity when you and your crush drift apart or they start dating someone else. The Internet also opens up an abundance of potential suitors, and suddenly you’re not confined to the same people you see everyday. This can be especially important if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, where you’re likely all too familiar with having to face limited options; in fact, you often can’t even be sure if the person you like is attracted to your gender.
Though dating apps are experiencing a surge in usage as of late, people are still hesitant to join the trend in fear of being labeled by their peers as “desperate.” Some people have the mentality that there’s something wrong with those who resort to using a dating app due to their inability to find someone in-person. But the truth is that it has become much harder to meet people and forge connections in-person, especially due to the pandemic. It makes sense that dating apps are starting to become more acceptable amongst the younger generations, especially considering the fact that our society is becoming increasingly virtualized and many have grown attached to their phones. Millennials tend to favor dating apps the most, while older generations seem to possess a lot more reservations about the whole ordeal. Many parents deem them unsafe, and you’ve probably grown accustomed to the “you don’t know this person, they could be a serial killer” lectures if you’ve ever talked to strangers online. But so long as you’re careful, there really should be no reason to feel bad about using a dating app.
So the next time you feel the urge to call someone unsociable or desperate for using a dating app, realize that in this day and age, we’re experiencing a virtual shift where it’s becoming increasingly normalized to meet others online, significant others included.