How to date on Tinder

Widely dubbed as the world’s most popular dating app, Tinder has changed the face of modern day ‘love.’ With an estimated 50 million users worldwide, and counting, the four-year-old app has gained extreme popularity, especially among millennials. Moneybags journalist, Danielle van Wyk weighs up the pros and cons of the dating site and asks the question – How safe is Tinder?

Launched by InterActiveCorp (IAC), which owns other successful websites such as Match.com and OkCupid, the free to download app has made interacting with potential suitors that much easier. That is of course if your mission to ‘find love’. Which to the sceptics is highly debateable.

“The people we meet change our lives. A friend, a date, a romance, or even a chance encounter can change someone’s life forever. Tinder empowers users around the world to create new connections that otherwise might never have been possible. We build products that bring people together,” states Tinder.

How it works

The app has been described as dating with a GPS, as it makes use of your location and your Facebook profile. Once you’ve created your own profile fill in specification fields that narrow down the type of people you are looking to meet. Now you’re ready to swipe away.

Here is where it becomes increasingly important that you are able to tell your left from your right. One wrong swipe can land you in a pool of awkwardness. A swipe to the left means ‘I’m just not that into you’ while one to the right could mean ‘I like you.’ The aim of the app is then to gain matches, this is achieved when both you and the other person have both swiped right on each other’s profiles. This automatically links you together and enables you to privately direct message each other.

The rest as they say is history, or depending how you look at it, mystery, because up until this point you are yet to meet the other person. This is also where things have the potential to get risky as you are presented with the age old dating site problem of potentially endangering yourself by meeting up with someone that you don’t know.

Pros and cons

While the risk is undeniable, there are many positives to the site. Besides the fact that it is free to download for both android and iOS, and is easy to use, the app is also the answer to hopefully averting many ill-matched dates. With it allowing you to specify your interests, you are able to narrow down your search and increase your success rate. It also enables you to match up with those who are in a close proximity to you, eliminating a myriad of logistical issues.

Tinder as many have described it, is also an easy way to communicate with a diverse range of people in a controlled setting and on your terms. It also allows for people to express what it is they are looking for, and so find likeminded individuals.

With an estimated 10 billion plus matches having been made, the site has become popular among singles, divorcees and controversially so, even those who are already attached, so the options are endless.

But as with any pros come cons, and one of the biggest issues many users have experienced is the prevalence of people simply using the app as a casual sex hub. This added to the fact that it is easy enough to create a fake profile, makes for a potentially volatile situation.

Tinder have responded by outlining a few tips for staying safe:

-Keep your financial and personal information private: “You are in control of your Tinder experience at all times – remain anonymous until you feel ready. Be careful about sharing personal information, such as your full name, phone number, email and address. Protect your identity until you are comfortable enough with someone to share it. Also, leave any personal contact information out of your Tinder profile. Tinder will never send you an email asking for your username and password information. Any such communication should be reported immediately,” states Tinder.

-Be aware of scammers or suspicious activity like people sending you messages containing links to third-party websites. Quickly asks to talk or chat outside of Tinder or asks you for money. Vanishes mysteriously then reappears under a different name. Asks for your address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts adds Tinder.

-Other recommendations include getting to know the person (as far as possible, that is) before agreeing to meet offline. Always make sure you meet in a public place and inform a friend about where it is you are going.

“The safety of our users is very important to us, and we want to encourage people to alert us about any suspicious activity,” highlights Tinder.

As with anything the onus remains on the user to be smart and safe about their interactions.

Some argue that Tinder perpetuates a society that have become superficial in their choices when interacting, as the app allows users to make a choice solely based on physical appearance. Others are just excited at the possibility that with a singular swipe they may have just written the first line in what could prove to be their version of ‘happily ever after.’ Whatever your reason may be, Tinder seems as though it is here to stay, at least for now.

Further reading:

How to avoid online dating scams: http://www.moneybags.co.za/article/not-fall-victim-online-dating-scams/

The Moneybags guide to internet dating: http://www.moneybags.co.za/article/the-moneybags-guide-to-internet-dating/

How to date on a budget (without looking cheap): http://www.moneybags.co.za/article/how-to-date-on-a-budget-without-looking-cheap/