I’m not claiming to be some sort of dating guru, but I think I’ve had my fair share of experiences to be able to talk about the subject. Keep in mind that these views are completely subjective.
For an overwhelming number of Gen Z & millennials, dating apps are slowly becoming the new normal for how we meet and socialise with new people. I understand why Gen X might be a little hesitant, sceptical even, to using dating apps. They grew up when the only way to get a girl out was to ask her straight to her face and take the success or failures like a man or woman, as you should.
Tinder is a pioneer in this field and is almost the largest dating app available. It’s about 50 million strong and quite straight forward really. Swipe right if you like someone or left if you don’t. The problem with this method of determining a potential partner is that it leaves 100% of men competing for the top 20% of women and 100% of women competing for the top 20% of men. It’s quite superficial, but that’s just how it is.
Studies show that women get 13 times more matches than men meaning that the odds are quite stacked up against men as it is. If you were not blessed with physical looks, don’t have a ripped body or money, then look elsewhere. Tinder isn’t where you want to be. This is because, on Tinder and many other dating apps, even an average looking guy is considered less than average and if people aren’t swiping right to you a lot, Tinder won’t show your profile as much. Sad but true.
For women, however, things are different. Remember that women get thirteen times more matches than men. This means that even an average looking girl is considered above average due to the high demand of matches coming from the men’s side. This makes it quite simple for a woman to get matches and go on multiple dates with men she’s met on Tinder.
If you’re looking to have a one night stand or a no strings attached relationship, I would definitely point you in the direction of Tinder. Most people here are looking for sex and they’re not shy about it. However, for men, they request that you give them something called a ‘token’. Koinange street has migrated to Tinder, I rest my case.
If you’re looking for an app that provides you with context, more information about the people you’re matching with and generally a higher chance of connecting with someone; this is where you want to be.
Disclaimer: OkCupid is owned by the company that owns Tinder. This, however, doesn’t add or take away from the experience you get here.
On Ok Cupid, you can write an extensive bio about yourself, you can add photos and write a more detailed review of who you are. They have a feature where you can answer questions and they’ll use your answers to check your match percentage with other users. This feature is also really helpful as it helps you get a little bit more insight into how a person thinks and how they view life in general.
OkCupid allows you to send a message to a user before you match with them. This is a really handy tool as the other person can actually see the message and decide whether they want to match with you or not. If they’re not on the premium plan, they get to look at the messages one by one, thereby making it very easy to get the attention of someone that you’re interested in interacting with.
The major problem I found with this app is that they have a relatively small inventory in Kenya. The same might not hold for many other locations, but in Kenya, it’s not yet as dominant as Tinder.
Badoo, Tagged, Hi5
You could say that these are the smaller players in the dating app space in Kenya. I’m aware that there are some other dating apps available that specialise in different niches and appeal to certain kinks, but I’ve not tried those.
The problem with these smaller apps is that the ads are usually in your face. It’s understandable that the developers need to make a coin from this but the ads were just too irritating. It is possible that this changed overtime since it’s been a while since I used them.
Another issue I had with this is that they’re mainly filled with hookers. Nothing wrong with chasing sex or being a hooker, but if that’s not what you’re looking for, I’d say stay away from these; at least for the time being.
Cons of Using Dating Apps
- CONFLICTING INTERESTS – The dominant problem I found on the apps is that most people are looking to smash and move on. Tinder, for example, isn’t a dating app but a hookup app. I’ve found many women on the app who are only looking to have sex and be compensated for their services. I don’t want to put a label on them but we all know what we call that behaviour. There’s nothing wrong with smashing though. If that’s what you’re after, the power to you.
- LOW-QUALITY USERS -You might get some matches but, no offence, most of the women using the app are really shallow. They have nothing going for themselves, plain bios and even when you try and engage them, they respond with one-word answers or are simply too uninteresting to carry on a conversation with.
- UNFAVORABLE ALGORITHMS -The way most algorithms are set up, even if people swipe right on you, they will not easily bring those people to the top of the stack so that you can swipe right on them. It becomes a game where they give you a reward every once in a while when you use the app. They allow you to get just enough matches to keep you coming back to the app. My experience is leaning more towards this; however, this may or may not be the case as only the respective managements can confirm this.
- STIGMA – This applies more to the Kenyan demographic. It’s still, somehow, seen to be shameful to be seen using a dating app. Many a time I’ve seen chics writing on their profile, ‘If you know me, swipe left and move on’. This clearly shows that the attitudes that people have about dating apps need to be overhauled in favour of a more accepting attitude. On the bright side, the pandemic has accelerated the uptake of dating apps seeing as it is difficult to meet people how you would traditionally.
- OVERWHELMING & UNDERWHELMING CHOICES – Women can very easily be overwhelmed while men can be underwhelmed with the number of matches they get. Women, for example, might find it hard to choose who to go out with while men might find themselves settling for less.
- FAKE PERSONAS – Most people will feel the urge to give an image of themselves that projects them in the most positive light, downplaying all of their mishaps that might turn out to be deal-breakers in the future.
Pros of Using Dating Apps
- ENTICING PREMIUM PLANS – Getting the premium plan can help you overcome some of the cons. It’s sort of a half measure since you have to pay, but it’s still something. For example, when you’re on the premium plan, you can set it so that you’re only shown to people whom you’ve swiped right on, thereby increasing your chances of getting matches that you’re actually interested in.
- ELIMINATES APPROACH ANXIETY – Shy people can use this as a playground to meet and interact with new people as it is very easy to interact with others behind the comfort of your mobile phone or computer screen. It gives you time to think out responses and eliminates the anxiety that comes from being there in person.
- TARGETING – It’s very easy to go into detail about the type of person you’re looking for. With all the features that enable you to tweak the interested, physical attributes such as height, race, skin colour, even hairstyle, it becomes very easy to set a very specific target for what you want. Of course, you’ll get fewer matches if you’re being too specific, so you can just use this to get a general demographic of the kind of people that you’re interested in matching with.
- CONVENIENCE – dating apps allow even the busiest people to be in touch with their dating lives. This is because it’s very easy to spare ten to twenty minutes to swipe left and right and meet someone as compared to the hustle of having to go out to social gatherings when you have no time.
- GEOGRAPHICAL FLEXIBILITY – Most dating apps nowadays allow you to use the passport feature that will help you match with people in another location. If you’re moving to a new city, you can match with people in the area in advance so that you already have people to meet even before you leave for your new destination.
- ANONYMITY – This cuts both ways. Anonymity allows you to skip the difficult situation of being rejected by someone since you will never know who swiped left on you. You might get rejected in the chats but just avoiding the rejection from all those other people before running into your match is worthwhile and a good step in preserving your ego and self-esteem.
Keep in mind that all these views are influenced by my own experiences and are subjective. Your experience might be different.
Overall, should you use dating apps? I’d say yes. It’s one of those things that you just have to try before you’re sure whether or not you like it.