Vanity Fair’s recent article proclaiming that Tinder has created a “dating apocalypse” seems to place the blame for the downfall of dating solely on Tinder. It is as if the women interviewed believe removing Tinder from their lives would allow dating to return to “normal.” Whatever that is. I can certainly tell you that dating has not changed much through the decades. Despite their hatred for the site, twentysomething women continue to use it just as frequently as men but express more frustration.
The men in the Vanity Fair article appear to brag about how many women they have slept with. They seem to believe that Tinder has made it easier for them to hook up. Perhaps it has but they are still twentysomething men who are clearly not looking for a real relationship. These men are upfront and honest about this point and even suggest that the men who may be ready for taking dating more seriously have expectations regarding the type of woman they would marry – she’s not the one that is ostensibly easy to hook up with and may not even be the one on Tinder. Men, in general, are usually very direct about what they want.
Times really haven’t changed, have they? Despite breaking the glass ceiling and fighting for gender equality, women still give their power to men in their personal lives. Rather than taking the reins like they do in their career, women continue to play into this antiquated culture without the knowledge to turn the tables. The problem with dating in New York, or any other city, has nothing to do with the technology people use. It is not Tinder’s fault but rather the lack of knowledge of its users. For ambitious women who have little time to waste, Tinder provides an opportunity to get to know someone’s character at lightening speed. Rather than succumb to frustration, here are 3 ways you can use online dating to find your match.
- Become a Mindful Dater
Women’s frustration with dating comes from the gap between their personal experiences and their understanding and expectations of what should be happening. A twentysomething woman needs to understand that that the men interviewed in this article are doing what men their age are supposed to do – they are exploring to find out what they want in the future and sex is the primary goal.
Do you know what you want? This question is often easier to answer when it comes to your career. Yet, many women have fallen into a mindless approach to hooking up and dating. The key to being successful in dating is to know where you are now. Ask yourself if you are ready for a serious relationship or are you still exploring? It is okay to continue exploring but do so in a mindful way. Explore to learn what you like or don’t like. Explore to learn to ask for what you want. Explore your sexuality. If you are exploring, understand that you will connect with a man who is also exploring. This is likely to not lead you to a real relationship so be very mindful about what it is you really want.
Once you have identified where you are in your mindset, Tinder and online dating becomes an easy way to communicate your needs early on. You do not have to waste your time meeting men in person to know very quickly whether they are exploring or possibly looking for something more serious.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want (In a Playful Way)
Men ask for what they want all the time. How many of you have heard, “I love hanging out with you but I’m not looking for anything serious.” This man basically just told you what he wants from you. It is time for you as a woman to not only listen but to do the same. If you want to be treated with the respect that you absolutely deserve, you have to have a dating plan. Just like you would do for your career, you need to know your end goal. If it is marriage to a great guy, then use Tinder to start collecting data on whether this guy could potentially fall in that category. Is he kind and considerate or does he send an explicit text message as an introduction? Do not get distracted and fall into the trap of having Tinder ADHD to bolster your self-esteem. Seek to collect the “data” you need to qualify a man into your life.
Example: Ways to Text your Way to a Real Date
He says: “Do you wanna hang out tomorrow night?”
You say: “Darn! I would love to see your pretty face tomorrow but I have plans. If you would like to take me on a date on Tuesday, I’m game J”
If he ghosts on you, all he is saying is that he was not looking to date. You collected your data. Time to move on or toward a first date.
- Consider the Tinder Pre-Date
First dates are an epic experience in New York and, unfortunately, the hook up culture has turned this experience into a confusing mess with two people left wondering if it was a date or not. Do not let him define what you want. If you are interested in someone, and ready to date more seriously, consider meeting him for a quick cup of coffee to qualify him in to your dating life. Coffee dates should be no more than 45 minutes and can be done around lunch. In cities other than New York, the pre-date has become incredibly common. Use it to your advantage. Always leave him wanting more and decide whether you are interested in knowing more about him. If there are no immediate red flags, move forward with a first date. Remember to collect your “data” all the way through. Keep an open mind and do not be overly judgmental. If he insists on drinks rather than follow your lead, you know that he is not serious or it is poor match.
Why you Should Thank Tinder
In general, online dating can be used as a tool to more efficiently manage your dating life. While it should not be the only tool, learning how to use it to stay away from men who are only looking for a sexual conquest can take some practice. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that all men are not serious. They are out there and I often talk to them about their frustration. If you feel that you are not meeting men that treat you like a priority, you really need to ask yourself if you are asking to be treated that way. Being a woman in the age of gender equality is not easy and it may mean that you have a fewer number of dates in favor of higher quality dates. Or it may mean that you do not peak in your dating life until your 30s when people are more likely to settle down. There is still a double standard and we are still giving men the option to make the decision about how to classify us. There is power in knowing what you want. Let’s stop blaming Tinder. Let’s stop blaming men. Let’s stop giving up our power and start supporting each other in getting what we all really want.
Jennifer B. Rhodes, PsyD is a licensed psychologist, dating coach, image consultant and founder of the bi-costal dating company,Rapport Relationships. Dr. Rhodes currently provides dating coaching, consultation and matchmaking services utilizing relationship science and positive psychology to encourage ambitious women to make more informed dating choices. She has presented extensively on issues related to attachment, dating fatigue, dating anxiety and the intersection between entitlement and partner selection. Dr. Rhodes also consults with Bay Area online dating start-ups on the psychology of dating.