Tinder really isn’t that bad

I first downloaded Tinder after walking away from a long-term relationship. In the beginning, I was ashamed and embarrassed that my loneliness led me to download the app.

My friends occasionally talk about “swiping right” and my Twitter feed sometimes highlights ridiculous messages or pick-up lines, but besides the basics, I knew nothing about Tinder. I did, however, know all about the stigmas that went along with it, which is why the app stayed hidden on the third screen of my phone, tucked in between Google Maps and Safari.

It wasn’t just the disapproving looks or the eye rolls I received when Tinder was brought up in a conversation that made me feel bad about using it, it was also the negativity plastered all over social media. If I didn’t hear somebody gasp or sigh when I brought up Tinder in a conversation, I saw disapproving comments and articles all over Facebook or Twitter.

So, I stopped bringing it up and I stopped telling people about how I met these boys. Not only did I begin avoiding it altogether, I began searching for alternative stories depicting how the two of us may have met.

I’ve been using Tinder off-and-on for an entire year. Although I do have a love/hate relationship with the app based on personal frustrations and acts of desperation–yes, it’s okay to feel pathetic sometimes–I’ve never jumped on the bandwagon of shaming Tinder and demeaning its users or its purpose. In all honesty, Tinder really isn’t that bad.

I was warned from the very beginning that everyone on Tinder only wanted to hook-up; people told me the app was designed for one night stands and nothing more than a fling or friends with benefits. They also told me being on the app said bad things about me; boys would expect me to put out and they would never treat me as an actual person to date, but instead a person to sleep with.

It was almost as if using Tinder had given me a bad reputation despite the fact that I was the same person with the same morals I held before downloading it.

Although some of these statements are true — I have indeed matched with people who start the conversation off with nothing but a “DTF?” message — not everyone who uses the app is simply looking for sex or a one night stand. Some people even specifically state what they’re looking for and what in their biography.

Don’t want to hook up? Swipe left. If you happen to match with someone who’s only interested in that, simply un-match and say no more.

Unlike popular opinion, people do use Tinder for dating. In fact, that’s the only way I’ve ever used the app. I owe half of my coffee dates, hikes and short-time “things” to Tinder, and believe it or not, I’ve walked away with some amazing experiences.

Real people really do use the app, and these real people are down for real dates. It all comes down to honesty; if you can be honest about you want, you’ll find someone who is honest about what they want as well.

That’s one of the best things about Tinder; you can get whatever you want out of it. If you’re looking for a quick hookup, you can use it to find others who want that same thing. If you want someone to talk with over dinner, you can find people who are looking for that, too. Tinder doesn’t require specific behavior and it doesn’t force you to want certain things. It’s time we stop acting like it does.

Other Tinder-shamers claim the app focuses too much on physical appearance. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve heard the classic “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” argument. The harsh truth is that when meeting people in person rather than a screen, you determine who you want to approach based off of physical appearance. Tinder may even have a little more going for it when it comes to first impressions; at least there’s a bio under that person’s picture.

Not only does Tinder have some serious potential for real dating experiences, it’s also one of the easiest and fastest ways to meet new people. Moving to a new area is always nerve-wracking and is filled with a lot of loneliness and confusion. Connecting on Tinder allows you to meet tons of new people in any area you come to; even if the dates go nowhere. At least you’ve been introduced to new restaurants and cool hidden gems within the city.

Despite the critiques of what Tinder’s true purpose may be, the app’s stereotypes don’t reflect the actual truth. Here’s an app where the user gets to decide what it’s used for. So why are we letting other people tell us how to feel about it?

Tinder isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. It’s time society stops telling us how to feel when we decide to swipe.