Do Dating Apps Even Work?

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do dating apps even work

If you have a tough time approaching women or men, online dating apps seem to be a no-brainer option. But that’s because these apps have become a part of our sexual and romantic culture in the past decade. 

Many of us have grown up with them or grown used to them without using critical thinking to discern how useful they are in the first place. 

In this article, we will look at how well dating apps work and if they work at all.

Dating Apps – How Well Do They Work?

Bumble and Tinder are two of the most used dating apps
Bumble and Tinder are two of the most used dating apps.

Dating apps came as a welcome proposition for those who had approach anxiety. For those people, these apps worked as a low-visibility method of approaching others without their friends or the public witnessing potential rejections. 

Tinder came up with a unique concept where the app served as the escrow for interest, revealing the interest only if it was mutual. 

At that stage, the app worked for those who feared rejection. But when the app launched a paid tier where users could see who had liked them, this advantage was gone. 

With dating apps evolving every day, you have to wonder whether they are fit for you or have dismissed your preferences to appeal to a wider user base.

For Introverts

Dating apps still work for introverts as they shield their initial interaction from the public and allow online conversations on the app without pressure to meet in person. 

With a majority of online dating matches never materializing as real-life dates, one can say that they do not work very well for those who like to hang in person but are ideal for people who would rather have a mostly online relationship.

For Extroverts

Dating apps put extroverts at a disadvantage because what they can offer in terms of personality and approach courage is neutralized by the app’s role. 

Still, extroverts can use dating apps to connect with people and invite them to parties, events, etc. That’s when they shine. But with most dating apps being skewed towards physical appearance, many extroverts do not get a chance.

Handsome or pretty extroverts would be the ideal demographic for most dating apps. If you are a people person, you can showcase your social status by posting photos with friends.

 Dating apps, in general, now have a gallery function where one can upload multiple pictures. Showing yourself hanging out with others and having fun can allow you to communicate your personality.

For Ambiverts

A woman on a couch using a dating app on her phone
A woman on a couch using a dating app on her phone.

Given that ambiverts can be extroverted in some instances and introverted in others, dating apps do not present a specific advantage or disadvantage to them. They can still benefit from the apps and connect with people they are interested in, but they can also do that in person if they feel like it. 

If you’re the type of ambivert who is extroverted only with people you know, dating apps will be perfect for you. You will have an easier time approaching people in a low-stakes digital environment and will know them well enough to be a social superstar around them on an in-person date.

In general, dating apps work for introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts, albeit in different capacities. 

Good-looking introverts stand to gain the most, while extroverts who don’t fit conventional beauty standards get the worst deal on the dating apps.

Are Dating Apps Really That Good or Not?

Dating apps can serve as excellent discovery tools and platforms with low stakes for initial interaction. 

They are ideal for people who don’t have the time to find dates, lack a social circle that would help them match, or simply don’t have the personality type to approach strangers and strike up a conversation in the offline world.

Dating apps are not that good for anyone whose best traits are not their physical features but their personality, drive, and humor. They are also not that good for people who want to avoid hook-ups, as flings have become the new “normal” on many apps.

Still, some dating apps are excellent for relationships. 

Finding a date online has its pros and cons, and as long as the total of the features outweighs its drawbacks, you can reliably say that dating apps are ‘that’ good! 

To make such an assessment easier, here is a table of the pros and cons of dating apps.

Advantages of dating appsDisadvantages of dating apps
They save time.They can be very superficial.
They offer a larger discovery pool.They give you the illusion of infinite options.
They’re not always geography-contingent.They can bait you into paying for premium access.
They can improve the chances of introvertsThey might not highlight your social acumen.
They can help you find specific types of people.They can make you asocial.

Do Dating Apps Work for Men?

Single man using mobile phone swiping profiles online on dating app
Single man using mobile phone swiping profiles online on dating app.

Dating apps work less often for men than they do for women, and this can be backed using the 0.6% match success rate of men on Tinder, discovered by a Queen Mary University study. This difference aligns with the interpretation of human sexual history by evolutionary psychologists like Dr. David Buss.

According to Dr. Buss, in primitive societies, fewer men mated with a majority of the women. This averages out to a 2:1 ratio, where we have twice as many female ancestors as we have male ancestors. 

Interestingly, the democratization of dating has recreated the same phenomenon without the resource dependence of the ancient civilizations.

While many men assume that the key to success with dating apps is to simply be good-looking, the actual way men can get the most out of dating apps is to use ones that showcase their best traits. 

For those who have interesting hobbies, interest-matching dating apps can work. 

Those who want to use their wealth as a signal for their competence can use apps like Luxy that require proof of net worth to join. Unfortunately, not too many dating apps are geared toward unearthing the best in one’s personality.

The best interpretation of the Tinder success data is that men are more appearance-oriented in their dating preferences, and since dating apps emphasize appearance, they find what they are looking for more often than women. But things aren’t all roses and rainbows for women either.

Do Dating Apps Work for Women?

Woman liking a man's profile in a dating app
Woman liking a man’s profile in a dating app.

Dating apps work for women in terms of discovering and connecting with matches as they would need to swipe right on an average of three men to get one match. However, the willingness or interest of said matches in long-term dating is generally low.

So, where women have an edge because of the superficial interest that dating apps promote, they’re also at a disadvantage where the superficial nature of most dating apps downplays long-term interest.

To use dating apps successfully, women need to be excellent at filtering out lies and people pretending to want and like the same things as them just to get a date or a fling, unless they too want a fling.

Dating Apps: An Asset or a Liability?

As you can see, these apps are great for introverts and extroverts alike when it comes to finding people, but they don’t seem to fulfill men or women regarding their long-term goals. Is it because these apps are inherently flawed, or they’re being used incorrectly? A detailed look at the best features of dating apps can show how men and women can make dating apps work.

Pros of Dating Apps

They Save Time

It takes less time to register your interest in a large pool of men or women. To make the most of it, you can start being less strict with who you swipe right on and create a profile that outright repels the people you don’t want to match with. From “Not dating republicans” or “Only republicans swipe right,” any decisive declaration in the bio can further save your time. 

They Increase the Number of Potential Matches

Man holding a tablet showing dating app with a match
Man holding a tablet showing dating app with a match.

When you see attractive people outside, you don’t know if they’re single or interested in you. On dating apps, you see people who are not just available but are actively looking. This pool is much larger online than in the offline world. You can make dating apps work better for you by getting more specific in your search and decreasing the matches.

You Can Automate Looking Your Best 

In the offline world, you increase your odds of getting a date by actively asking for one. You can keep yourself in the dating pool by simply setting up a profile on a dating app. The image you curate presents your best self and works for you 24/7. You can make the app work even better by uploading short clips that show how you carry yourself, smile, and talk.

Cons of Dating Apps

Inherently Appearance-Driven

Most dating apps use pictures as the first metric, and users swipe left or right based on appearance instead of opening a profile. You can use hobby-based or interest-matching dating apps to sidestep this drawback. 

Smiling young man on dating app on smart phone
Smiling young man on dating app on smart phone.

Your Social Skills Don’t Shine Through 

If you are an extrovert, you might want your charm to be a part of the attractiveness judgment a potential partner makes about you. Using Happn (which matches you with people you have crossed paths with physically) is the best option because most dating apps won’t let your in-person social skills become a deciding factor in getting a match.

They Are Easy to Cheat 

Dating online is easy, as is cheating online. From fake photos to lies, plenty of what you experience online is easily falsified. Using Hinge can work better for you if you want to avoid fraud and dishonesty, as the app matches you with people you have mutual friends with.

Conclusion: Who Should Use Dating Apps?

Dating apps work for good-looking people and for individuals who have exciting interests. You can find matches based on common passion or physical attraction. As long as you stand firm by what you want and don’t put too much stock in the matches until you are sure you’ve found what and who you’re looking for, you’ll be successful no matter the dating app. Choosing the right app speeds up the process.

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Over the years, Stephanie has had her fair share of dating experiences. While some turned out great, others weren't so great. She believes that relationships are meant to be fun, exciting, and full of laughter. She wants to help men and women become confident, attractive, and successful in their romantic relationships.