Dating apps are now a firmly established part of the dating scene. These include Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and a range of others suited to different tastes. The basis of these apps is simple. Users can create a profile by uploading several photos, along with a short text description. This becomes visible to other users who can then ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the profile.
When two users like each other, they can start text messaging on the app. Popular dating apps such as Tinder now have over 50 million active users, with some reports noting that the average user spends a whopping 90 minutes per day on the app.
These dating apps represent a significant new social phenomenon; a far cry from the singles bars and social mixers of times past. Interestingly, the impact of dating apps on mental health has been under-researched, but some preliminary evidence suggests they may cause issues.
Some research indicates that dating apps expose users to considerable rejection. One study found a low rate of matching, particularly for men. This study also found that around 50% of matches do not message back. Hence, dating app users are constantly being ‘disliked’ and ignored.
Worse still, many users report that first dates are often awkward, crude and unrewarding. In my own research, people report many demoralizing experiences in this new dating world, noting that in-person realities can be wildly different from online personas.
Indeed, a common experience reported by many people who use dating apps is ‘ghosting’; the sudden ending of a developing relationship without explanation or forewarning. This can be a dehumanizing and damagingmental health experience.
These experiences are encapsulated in the entertaining yet touching short-film below exploring themes of connection and rejection which recently premiered at the Au Contraire Film Festival in Montreal. A man and woman hit it off online and agree to meet for a first date. What happens when they meet in person? Watch it and see a poignant reality that is played out daily.