Senior communications major Jane Burns said she did not expect to meet her future husband in college. Though they attended the same high school, it was not until Burns started college that they connected and fell in love. They began living together, and last March, her fiance proposed. What separates Burns from other people in successful relationships is that she met her fiancé on Tinder.
People crave human connection, and in 2019, with abundant social media apps and the ability to connect instantly, it is no surprise that people seek romantic connections through an app. According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, Tinder has 50 million users.
Like on any other American campus, many students at Southern Miss participate in dating apps, Tinder being the most popular and, thus, the most stigmatized. Business of Apps says that 35% of American Tinder users are between the ages of 18 and 24.
Senior finance major Jake Cordon uses Tinder regularly and said, “We don’t like to admit it, but it’s pretty much the main way we get dates and or find out about people.”
Cordon said he downloaded Tinder with the intention of meeting people to casually hook up. However, he said that he believes the app has evolved into a way of not only meeting people for casual flings, but also as a way to meet people platonically.
“Now I kind of see it as me connecting with more people of the gay community and not necessarily dating or hooking up anymore,” Cordon said.
Senior art major Sarah Rain said she also has seen Tinder evolve for her into a way of meeting people. She said she has used Tinder for a few years and has had many different types of relationships come from it.
“I used to meet people typically romantically, but over the years I have made great friends from it and have even had a long-term relationship come from it,” Rain said.
Business of Apps shows that only 22 to 23% of college students on Tinder are looking for a hookup. The largest number, about 44%, are on the app for confidence-boosting procrastination.
Rain said that, while she has found various kinds of friendships and relationships on Tinder, her use of the app often falls under the category of confidence-boosting procrastination.
Burns said that when people ask how she and her fiancé met, she does not mention Tinder. Only a selective few people in her life know that they met through an app. She said she doesn’t want people in her life to think poorly of her because she and her fiancé met on an app that many people view as a hook up platform.
“I’m trying to be more open about it. But you just don’t want people to think negatively of you,” Burns said.
Burns said she was very clear on her profile that she was not on Tinder for a hookup. She said she was on the app to potentially start a relationship, and she was very selective in her swiping process.
“It’s such a fast-paced world that maybe this is the way to make new connections. Maybe you don’t have time to just go out and date, date, date,” Burns said.
According to Simple Texting’s data, 52% of people on dating apps have never had a one night stand with a dating app connection. Simple Texting’s “Dating Apps: Just for Hookups?” article said stereotypes of dating apps are not true for the majority of people, and technology simply allows for faster and easier ways to connect.
Cordon, who has had two relationships come from Tinder connections, said he advises people not to shut it out as an option just because of its stigma.
Burns also said that Tinder, for many, is just a way to make a first connection. She said her relationship with her fiancé is so much more than how they first connected.
“It may not be right for everyone,” Rain said, “but that doesn’t mean it can’t work for some people. I think it’s a cool resource to meet people in your area you wouldn’t meet otherwise. It’s 2019, and I think it’s time for Tinder shaming to stop.”*All names in this article have been changed for anonymity.