Here’s the thing: I was watching that Tinder documentary on Channel 4 earlier today. Although it’s a well-shot documentary, I thought it didn’t really look at the good that could come from the app. I, for one, learnt a lot from using the app. These are some important life lessons I’ve learnt:
1. Self deprecation isn’t desirable
I love to self deprecate. About two weeks into uni, one of my old flatmates sat me down to tell me that my self-deprecation upset her. I think I do it for two reasons. It makes light of my own insecurities for one. It’s also my way of getting in there before anyone else has the chance (I guess it’s a reaction to being bullied). The problem with self-deprecating humour is that not many people get it. It has ruined relationships in the past. I mean, who wants to date someone who jokes a lot about how inferior they are/takes every compliment as a joke. I guess Tinder has taught be to just accept the compliment, whether or not I agree with it (I mean, I still do it, but still).
2. Dating people who you’ll never be with can be fun (even if there is no wild chase across London to stop them boarding a plane)
I guess the idea behind starting a relationship is to hopefully spend your life with that one person. About seven months ago, I started speaking to someone who told me almost immediately that he was leaving the UK in two months. Was it a bit pointless? On paper, yes, but a relationship with a sell-by date can be fun. It’s liberating; you can make mistakes and know that you’ll never see that person again. It also taught me how to deal with break-ups, and that sometimes it is actually better just to let them go rather than getting an Uber to Heathrow to stop them leaving, when really all you’re going to get is a hug.
3. Never settle for someone who doesn’t like One Direction
I once matched with a solid 9/10 on Tinder. He was in ‘fashion’. I don’t remember much about him other than he had a great ‘hair to beard’ ratio (very short hair, lots of beard). We spoke for a while, and eventually we started to talk about music. I should have run by now, because frankly pop should be the first topic of conversation. I brought up that I really enjoy One Direction, only to be unmatched immediately. After the initial shock, I realised that I am actually lucky. If you settle for someone who doesn’t like One Direction, there is absolutely no chance they’ll go with you to see Carly Rae Jepsen. There is no chance that they’ll appreciate your (somewhat) ironic love of Fifth Harmony. And most importantly, they may never have heard ‘Break Free’.
4. Beards will get you places
Or any other ‘unique’ thing for that matter. I’m yet to test my fake septum ring on the Tinder market, but I imagine it’d get a similar sort of reaction. It’s funny how people who were well out of my league gave me a chance because of the hair follicles on my face. It’s a lesson in milking what you’re good at. Going through puberty aged 11 may have given me years of ridicule and self-loathing, but I can grow a beard well for someone who is 20. The same goes for this blog: I’m trying my hardest to make this as good as possible, in the hope that one day it’ll stand out. Be the best at what you do, innit.
5. It’s alright if people say no because there’s someone who’ll say yes.
Rejection. Nobody wants to be rejected. That crippling feeling of inadequacy. Before joining Tinder, I had never asked anyone out. I have a tendency to catastrophize every situation, including the simplest of tasks (“if I go to the shops right now, what will happen?”). Asking someone out is a big challenge, but Tinder taught me that it’s not the end of the world to get rejected. It also taught me not to hang on to things that aren’t working. I went on a couple of dates with someone not too long ago, and I wasn’t feeling it. I think pre-Tinder, I would have hung on because I might get there eventually. One big critique of Tinder is that there’s infinite choice, but that’s almost a good thing because it can make you realise when you’re not happy.
This slightly contradicts the first point but Tinder has improved my self-confidence. I remember being on a Tinder date last October. We were sat by a bin in Haggerston (or Homerton, idk). It was a full moon that night (it was only about ten). The guy called me ‘beautiful’, which, as pathetic as it sounds, was the first time that I ever believed a compliment I had been given. That was the first time too that I had ever felt beautiful too (there’s nothing like sitting on a brick wall to make yourself feel amazing). Tinder dates gave me the opportunity to feel great, which isn’t something that happens in regular life. Once that process starts to happen, you start to believe it too, and confidence starts to grow (well mine did anyway).
7. Perhaps I never wanted a relationship after all
This is going to sound a bit ridiculous after spending the last 800 or-so words chatting about how great it is but I don’t really use Tinder anymore. I’ve had some amazing dates in the last year, and have learnt a lot. But here’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt: there’s nothing I want to achieve in my life that I can’t do by myself. I’m happy to travel alone. My dream house doesn’t include much input from other people. I can have an amazing career by myself. I guess the biggest lesson Tinder taught me is to wait for the right person to share that with, rather than looking for it. Who knows, I may miss it if I’m always on Tinder.