DATING APPS ARE LOSING THEIR `LOSER’ TAG AND HELPING DELHIITES CONNECT
Remember the days of the `Facebook fraandship’ requests and the single person’s struggle to get friends to set them up with people? It didn’t matter if you were on the pushy side of the equation or would end up getting annoyed the process of getting a date in Delhi remained a task for most. But in the last few months, there’s a new dating medium which has sneakily found a large following in the singles community. We’re referring to the many international and desi dating apps like Tinder, Woo, Thrill, OkayCupid and more, which have led to many first dates. The settings and Facebook profile link in almost all these apps make them safer and the users more believable than some random person offering you drinks at a bar. And once you’re on the app, you get access to people who’re equally interested in you and are free from the pressures of being friendzoned or the stress of the wooing drill. Not all is smooth though, and one might get their share of forced conversations and awkward mismatches, but according to these dating app users, meeting like-minded people in the big, rather unapproachable singles community of the city, is reason enough to make a profile on any of the available dating apps now. DT spoke to a few such users who shared their positive and negative app dating experiences with us.
IT’S SLOWLY BECOMING OKAY TO BE ON A DATING APP
The initial few months of being on any app was earlier meant to be a well-kept secret, but thanks to the growing number of users, we’re told that discussing their app dates is becoming okay among the Delhi singles community. Like Rohit Choudhary*, a North Delhi guy who works with an e-commerce website, told us, “I was among the first ones in my social circles to join the app. I met people to hang out with and just kill time with, because a lot of my friends had moved out of town and I was vella. After I shared my experience, a lot of my friends too joined the app. In fact so many of my friends are on the app now that we talk about who met who, and exchange notes about starting conversations or making profiles. The `desperate’ tag that comes with joining a dating app is definitely off.“
NO FORMALITIES HERE
When it comes to dating apps, it’s perfectly normal to lose interest in a person and move on without having to worry about the feelings of the mutual friends who set you up. Like Mayank Kohli*, a software engineer based in Green Park, told us, “I broke up earlier this year and was sure that I didn’t want a serious relationship. Usually I would meet people my friends would set me up with, but the formalities were a big problem. I had to give an explanation as to why the date didn’t go well, not just to the girl, but also my friends who had suggested it! So I joined two apps which had good reviews, and began talking to people. This has worked out for me because I don’t have to worry about any awkward `why didn’t you call back’ phase and I’ve found people who’re looking for exactly the same thing as me.“
EASIER FOR GIRLS TO GET ATTENTION, NOT FOR GUYS
Like any other dating platform, the ratio is skewed in the app scenario too. With more guys than girls on all apps, the boys tell us it’s very common for their profiles to go unnoticed for days, leaving them angry and rejected. Like Mohit Trivedi*, 25, an engineer by profession based in the Safdarjung area, told us, “ A friend of mine who stays in Bangalore recommended a dating app to me and I made a profile a month ago. I’ve hardly found matches. I get it that there must be more enthu guys than girls but even then, not getting any attention is annoying. I recommended the app to a female friend of mine and with minutes of joining it, she had some five to eight matches. Initially , I was very picky about which profile I liked, but when I did not get a response from anywhere, I started liking more and more accounts, but in vain. I think we have a long way to go in terms of the dating app thing.“
WHY WOULD YOU PLAY HARD-TO-GET WHEN YOU’RE ALREADY ON A DATING APP?
According to these users, finding profiles and matches is the easier part. It’s keeping the conversations on which is difficult and at times, annoying. Like Arjun*, who works in the merchant navy , told us, “I have travelled a lot and made the account when I was on a work trip. It was easy to get matches abroad and conversations came easily too. But in Delhi, I’ve noticed that the dating app environment is an extension of the normal dating rules. I’ve found that when I try to have a conversation with girls who have liked my profile, they seem least interested and usually have oneword replies. I don’t get the point of playing hard-to-get when you’re already on a dating app. Finding new people is definitely easy now, but how you take it forward from the first conversation is up to you.“
I CAN STOP TALKING TO A GUY ANYTIME IT GETS CREEPY
For the girls getting on these apps, safety is obviously a concern. But like Kriti Khar banda*, a PR professional, told us, “It’s safer than talking to a complete stranger at a bar. I had been single for a while and my friends were completely useless when it came to setting me up with other people. So when someone suggested an app to me, I said why not? I made a profile with absolutely no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at the kind of profiles that showed up and the whole process of rejectingapproving profiles turned out to be super fun. I spoke to a lot of people in my first week itself and I felt okay about it because that was happening without me giving out any information about myself.
I can stop talking to any guy anytime I want, thanks to the blockunmatch feature of the app. I won’t feel this confident about talk ing to a stranger in real life.“
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
I CAN STOP TALKING TO A GUY ANYTIME IT GETS CREEPY
Most app conversations re quire no personal information from a user, which makes it easy to get away from the scene if required. Like Kavya Awasthi*, 27, a digital media executive, who has an active profile on one such dating app, told us, “The best feature about the app for me is how I can immediately stop talking to a person if someone says anything mildly offensive or creepy , at any stage. I exchange numbers with a limited number of people and have met only two guys in my two months of being on the app.The first guy turned out to be very different from his picture and had a weird voice and we were very awkward throughout the evening. What’s the worst that can happen?
You can just stop talking to a person if you think it’s getting awkward. I didn’t have to give any explanation to the guy about why I stopped talking to him, and I don’t expect the same from anyone either.“
PERFECT FOR A FRESH START
While background checks and mutual friends act as a positive feature for most, the apps also bring with it the chance to have a fresh start for many . Avni Shah*, a content writer, told us, “I was going through a rough patch in my personal life after a breakup and lots of bad rebound decisions. I just wanted to start the whole dating scene afresh with no bag gage. I made a profile on a dating app and opted to talk to those who I had no mutual friends with, because I didn’t want to meet people who would have preconceived notions about me, or who could do background checks on me. The risk paid off. I’ve met some really nice people through the app, who like me for who I am. I don’t have to worry about my past.“
Among the female members, one common feature is the positive ego massage which comes from all the unexpected attention, and for anyone who’s been away from the dating scene for too long, it’s a great way to feel that you’ve still got it. Somya Mehta*, a marketing professional with an MNC, told us, “I had just gotten out of a really long relationship and I was worried about how to start dating again, because I had never done the casual dating thing before. A friend suggested this app to me and we made a profile for me, just to know what kind of options were available.It was all for fun but then I started getting a lot of interesting matches. My confidence went sky high and it turned out to be such a good ego massage.“
*Some names have been changed on request.