HEAD TO HEAD – Tinder: Yay or Nay?

Courtney Byrne and Una Harty go Head to Head on everyone’s favourite no-strings dating app.


For: Courtney Byrne, Contributor

Tinder doesn’t claim to help you find your soulmate, although the hopeless romantics can dream, but it does expand the pool of potential partners for singles, and that is never a negative. You can put yourself out there without even putting pants on.

Rating appearances

Tinder renowned for its superficiality, misrepresentation, and one-night hook-ups, yet it is dominating the modern world of dating and is a companion to even the most eligible bachelors/bachelorettes. These days it’s not a scandal who is on Tinder, but who isn’t. The premise is simple:  swipe left for no, right for yes. If you both swipe rightbingo, it’s a match, and you can message them in this cute basic messaging window. In other words, it’s the world’s most interesting game of “would you”, because you get to see if the feeling is mutual. And, let’s face it, we all love that game nearly as much as we love knowing someone has the hots for us.

The main argument the radical minority usually have against Tinder is that it’s based purely on looks, with little or no insight into someone’s personality. But let’s look at this realistically. When you pass someone on the street, the first thing you notice is their appearance, not whether they take two sugars in their tea or want a litter of kids in a year’s time. It’s the natural progression; interest grows from attraction. Why should we overcomplicate it by attempting to be completely oblivious to the fact that you need to be sexually attracted to someone in order to have sex with them?

Tinder acknowledges the fact that no algorithm can determine if you will or won’t get along with someone, or whether you are compatible in any way whatsoever. Instead, it lets you work that out between the two of you, provided there is some shred of attraction between you two. And hey, it even takes away the sexist aspect of approaching someone you are into, which many will feel is the man’s role. It takes a mutually felt spark to ignite the fires that is sexting, as opposed to unsolicited dick pics or a man trying to convince a woman that she actually wants him in her pants. More than that, you can even choose how far you are willing to commute to see them, and what age range you feel would suit your needs best (golddiggers deserve love too).


Tinder doesn’t claim to help you find your soulmate, although the hopeless romantics can dream, but it does expand the pool of potential partners for singles and that is never a negative. You can put yourself out there without even putting pants on. For those who don’t club, the world of hookups and even dating can seem miles from them. With Tinder, we can all have one-night stands (or fulfilling, lasting relationships based on love and trust, whatever you’re into). It also gives the shy folk a chance to say hello: it’s infinitely easier to hide behind a screen without the possibility of confrontation and rejection, than to approach a stranger. Not to mention you can pretend to be something you’re not for way longer than you could in person.

Let’s take a little look at how Tinder affects minorities. For instance, the LGBTQ+ community. Tinder doesn’t ask for your sexual orientation, merely your gender, which it usually takes from Facebook if you use that to make your profile. It then asks you whether you would like boys, girls or both to come up, and from there your selections appear. So unless that specific person has detailed their sexual orientation on their Tinder profile (uncommon), or you match with them, you have no way of knowing who they are attracted to.

In other words, Tinder doesn’t shove anyone out of the closet, nor does it exclude anyone still in there. The only way to know for sure if a girl is into girls is if you are too. It gives those who are not ready to come out to the world yet a chance to date. And generally speaking, the LGBTQ+ community know better than to out their own without prior consent. Inclusion at its finest.

Tinder’s newest function, the “Superlike”, brings something new  and exciting to the table. This level of liking actually notifies the Superlikee who has Superliked them. It’s an attempt to allow you to feel a little bit more assertive in your life, while still hiding behind an iPhone of course. While some may worry about the Superlike sending waves of desperation, I would argue that I would quite like to have the option to be blatantly open about wanting someone in my bed. And it works. Tinder has calculated that the likelihood of you matching with that super-hot guy or gal is much higher if you Superlike them. If the signal is desperation, then desperation triumphs.

On the flip-side of the Superlike, there’s the ever so feared circumstance of accidentally swiping “nope”. There’s no going back from a “nope” (well, you could pay for premium Tinder but then again, we don’t pay for Spotify premium either). Tears have been shed, I assure you, over that slip of the finger. But alas, it makes us remember that we are all human and make mistakes every day, and that that hottie who we never matched with probably accidentally swiped “nope” too and is crying into their pillow right now.  

Ego boost

One of the main perks of being a Tinder user is that ego boost when you get a match. The confidence that follows when you know that by the end of the day you’re going to have at least one match, so you can’t be that ugly. They do add up, the matches, even if you are picky and vaguely average appearance-wise. And it’s always nice to know that there are people out there that find you attractive, and that you don’t always have to rely on your intellect or sense of humour to make people like you.

It’s to be expected, of course, that an app that makes judging on appearances seem socially acceptable would become immensely popular. We’re shallow people at first glance, but past that you need to up your game with some light (or, in some cases, heavy) flirting and some witty banter in order to charm that lad or lass into craving your company and trusting that you’re not a catfish or 90-year-old creep.

Another thing Tinder has done for us is make this passing of judgement an addictive pastime that you nearly start to mimic on the street. It’s entertainment, plain and simple, with a possibility of more and it’s perfectly adequate at getting you through those boring, tough lectures and futile library visits.

And let’s face it, Tindering has now become a group activity where women can discuss whether or not that selfie he uploaded was indicative of him being vain, have full-out debates about whether a certain fellow is tall or not (guys, please specify), and give out about how Tinder becomes a testosterone-fuelled frenzy past 8pm. Judgemental? Yes. But finally we can be honest about it. Judgement would not be a concept if it weren’t human. We all judge appearances, whether it’s in person or virtually; let’s just accept and enjoy it, please.

In the end, Tinder is merely a carefully crafted tool wielded by the masses, and only reflects and mirrors real-life to its best ability. It is not some evil distortion of the world we live in. All varieties of people use it: both that cute girl who served you in the shop the other day who you were too nervous to do more than smile at, and that creep who wouldn’t stop staring at your boobs.

There’s room for the hopeless romantic as well as those who just want a bit of fun in the sheets, and for everything else along the spectrum. From the most basic binary decision of “to shag or not to shag?”, comes the question: where could a coffee lead to? With an infinite supply of possibilities, Tinder is your wingman he’ll introduce you, and then let you do the rest.

Against: Una Harty, Contributor

To quote the viral video “If Tinder were eHarmony”, it’s “not about finding the one; it’s about finding anyone who’s willing”. Is that all you deserve? Anyone who’s willing? In the words of the great Tom Haverford of “Parks and Recreation”, “Treat Yoself!” and don’t use Tinder.

Shallow dating

Before I begin, I would like to establish that I am not against dating sites or dating apps. They are a perfectly valid way to meet a potential partner. Tinder, on the other hand, is littered with flaws regarding its logistics and fundamental concept.

Where do I begin?

Tinder promotes everything that’s currently wrong with the dating culture in Ireland: poor conversation, relationships that rarely go past “getting the shift” and unimaginative dates. Our culture is built upon white cis males lurking in groups in the dark corners of dingy nightclubs where they rate the girls in the club 1-10 purely based on physical looks. Tinder is the online version of this culture, except it’s even more antisocial than our already socially stagnated club scene.

Tinder is a platform that allows materialist ways to fester and flourish in the form of cheap chat-up lines, sensationalistic profile pictures and cold rejection mechanisms. The concept is circled around how a person looks as opposed to who they are. Tinder provides little encouragement to its users in exploring one another’s personalities. It neglects real conversation on social and political topics, how a person might treat and engage with other people, and every-other-important-bloody-thing you should be on the hunt for in a potential partner.

Tinder could easily fix this with an additional section as part of the profile where users must fill out certain answers to questions. This could involve rating the importance of relationship aspects on a scale of one to ten.

For example, when users are setting up their profile, the app could impose a short questionnaire upon them with questions such as “How important is loyalty in a relationship?” or “Looks or Personality?” This would filter out those looking for something a little more serious as opposed to the others on the search for a “good time, not a long time”. Also, it wouldn’t impede Tinder’s slick and easy set-up process as it would simply take an extra couple of seconds to complete.

Swipe system

The swipe system is my least favourite feature of the dating app. The concept of “sorting” possible matches is detached and removed. It promotes shallow based on a few dodgy images pulled from Facebook profiles with an equally as cringy biography served on the side.

I think the action of swiping someone to the “dislike” side on Tinder is morally displeasing. Am I alone in this? Next time your thumb is at that critical angle the point before suitor number 487 is about to be cast into a bottomless pit of “not good enough”’ just think, is this really how we should choose who we want to date?

Parallel it with ordering food online. The process is facilitated by a wants/needs mind-set. We want that pizza on our doorstep as quick as possible with minimal effort. The swiping process is not too dissimilar in that we know what we want/need and we will avoid effort wherever possible, hence rash decisions follow based upon these desires but meanwhile, we forget we are dealing with real people and not a Domino’s Double Deal for €20.99.

Ever since its initial release on the 12 September 2012, Tinder was inevitably to become a hook-up app. This is another reason why I dislike it so: there are people who use Tinder to look for relationships and end up getting caught up in another person’s sexual fantasies. Okay, I understand that some people disclose the information regarding “sex-only” early on in the conversation, some even in their bios, but despite this, people still get caught up chatting to people who are using the app for totally different purposes. Tinder needs to address this problem or it will lose the small bit of credibility it has left as a serious dating app. Again, the simple questionnaire during the initial set-up could really benefit this predicament.

Do you know those YouTube videos that take online concepts and turn them into real life situations? Normally they’re quite irritating, but the ‘Tinder in Real Life” videos really prove the point I’m trying to make. College Humour have one named “Tinderella: A Modern Fairy-tale”: it tells the story of a man and woman meeting up on a Tinder date. The point about Tinder being primarily used as a quick hook-up device is the mantra of this video. The final rhyming couplet of the fairy-tale goes, “She snuck out that morning at half past four a.m., and they lived happily ever after because they never spoke again”. I think that sums it all up.

Social networking

It is imperative to mention that our society is plummeting itself further and further into an over-dependence on online social networking. The rates of social media use are increasing at exponential rates. Since 2005, social networking usage has increased ten-fold among 18-29 year olds.

Asking someone on a date is no longer a face-to-face affair – it’s all about the gawky opening line when you begin to converse with your new Tinder match. The internet is awash with resources full of thousands of potential Tinder lines ranging from “Do you sell carpeting, because I’m looking for a deep shag” to “Are you my appendix, because this feeling in my stomach makes me wanna take you out”. Last time I checked, I did not want to be compared with a dispensable internal organ.

Due to its ridiculous popularity, Tinder tends to attract some questionable people looking for dates. These include people under the age of 18, who are clearly posing as older than their real age. There are also people who fall into the unsavoury category. These demographics throw Tinder off-kilter and annoy even the most loyal of users.

In addition to that, plenty of improvements could be made on the logistics of the app. Preferences often aren’t followed, and this is particularly frustrating when you are of a certain sexual orientation. Furthermore, the existence of a juvenile Tinder is frankly quite worrying. People between the ages of 13-17 who access Tinder will be filtered into an “underage” Tinder. What is particularly alarming about this is that people who pose as under 18 on Tinder can access the “teen” Tinder and therefore all the teenagers on it.

Without a doubt there are many other ways in which we can go about online dating without having to be so primal about it.

A new app, “Happn”, has been recently launched in the UK after its preliminary round in France in September 2014. It works very similarly to Tinder in that it connects with your Facebook profile for your personal details and then uses your GPS to search people in your area. “Happn’” then searches for people also using the app who you’ve crossed paths with several times. Maybe you’ve both been to the same concert, attending the same club night last week or are in the same lectures.

The fundamental difference between “Happn” and Tinder is that “Happn” encourages users to engage with their matches face-to-face. It works over a 250m radius as opposed to Tinder’s many hundreds of miles, which means the dates are more likely to happen and, along with that, they’re more likely to be genuine.

So there certainly are alternative ways to rendezvous with new people in ways that embrace social contact and real conversation starters. To quote the viral video “If Tinder were eHarmony”, it’s “not about finding the one; it’s about finding anyone who’s willing”.

Is that all you deserve? Anyone who’s willing? In the words of the great Tom Haverford of “Parks and Recreation”, “Treat Yoself!” and don’t use Tinder.

Una Harty

Úna is a third year Nanoscience student and Trinity Life editor for Trinity News.