Today’s blog post focuses on ‘Tinder Depression’. We begin the discussion by taking a brief overview about the dating app, Tinder. Following this we move to understanding the various reasons that make Tinder so popular among the youth, keeping them hooked to it. Then we try to understand as to whether the use of Tinder amplifies the probability of facing mental health issues, including Tinder Depression. Lastly, we look into ways in which dating apps like Tinder can be used more responsibly.
According to a study published by the Journal of Social and Public Relationships, people who used dating apps like Tinder were likely to be more lonely as compared to what they felt before. It has been found that dating apps such as tinder are one of the major contributors of loneliness, depression and social anxiety along with compulsive swiping behaviour among the youth.
Here are a few issues that contribute to Tinder Depression:
- Using Tinder lowers self-esteem and self worth
- Innumerable rejections
- Body image issues
- Convenience over well-being
What Is Tinder?
While most of us are aware of what Tinder is, let’s take a quick overview about this app.
Tinder is an American is a geosocial networking based online dating app that allows people to swipe like or dislike on the profiles of anonymous people based on their likes,dislikes, interests, profile photos and bios. It was launched in 2012 and can be used by people who are of age 18 years and above.
It is one of the most popular dating apps with over 50 million active users and is available in 196 countries around the world. It has further gained popularity around the world as it is free to use, easy to download and setting up a profile is quite easy.
Because of dating apps such as Tinder, finding a partner has become an easy task. In fact, studies have suggested that over a span of time about 72% of college students use tinder and about one thirds of marriages start online.
What makes people attracted to Tinder?
There are quite a few reasons that can help us understand why people get attracted to using Tinder, making it so popular:
- Attractive profiles:
People in general like to view images of people who are attractive. This happens because when we view the attractive images the activity in one area of our brain that is; nucleus accumbens increases, making us want to see more such images.
Tinder offers just that. Once the profile of a person is made, on the basis of the information that has been put in, the app shows images of people that can be potential matches for us. Also, people tend to believe that attractive people are likely to be more intelligent, sociable, competent and trustworthy and this leads the user to swipe left or right to a profile.
- Unpredictability of rewards:
Tinder works on the principle of unpredictability. This essentially means that when the brain is not aware of the exact time when the rewards are going to be given, the areas of the brain associated with reward satisfaction is likely to remain more active as compared to when the rewards are predicted.
This principle makes tinder attractive as the users do not when they would meet a match while swiping. Because of this unpredictability and curiosity, people are likely to swipe more, which keeps the users hooked to the app.
- Eagerness to meet romantic partners:
Tinder offers a wide range of options for people who are looking for romantic partners. It is seen that people who are more eager to find romantic partners are likely to spend more time on tinder and check the app often.
The brain also plays a role in this wherein the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex modulates the value we place on our options. Therefore, if the person is eagerly looking for a partner, then the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is likely to put more emphasis on that, which leads the person to be hooked to Tinder.
- Option overload:
We generally have this misconception that if we are given more choice, we are likely to make a better decision. However, this is not the case. On the contrary, when we are given more choice, it actually diminishes the chance that we will come to a decision eventually. It also reduces the chances that the choice made will be a correct one.
This happens with Tinder as well, wherein, there is an enormous choice available to the user, making it difficult for them to come to a conclusive decision. Further, because the person may doubt that the choice that is made may not be correct, they are likely to keep on swiping, keeping them hooked to the app.
Therefore, Tinder keeps people hooked to it as eventually, it changes the brain’s response system by changing the brain’s reward learning system associated with dopamine. When individuals get a reward, dopamine fires in the brain, giving the person a sense of pleasure. Over a period of time, the dopamine fires not to the reward, but to the anticipation of a reward. The cue that we would be getting a reward makes us happy. With Tinder, the notifications mark a cue which eventually makes the person experience the reward sensation.
Can Tinder affect mental health and lead to Tinder Depression?
Yes. Experts believe that dating apps like Tinder have the potential to push the person into mental health issues such as Tinder Depression, especially if the person has had a history of anxiety and depression.
We would now take a look at the various issues that are amplified by using Tinder which may lead a person to experience Tinder Depression.
- Using Tinder lowers self-esteem and self worth:
Despite being hugely popular, users of Tinder tend to report experiencing low-self esteem once they start using the app. The main reason for this being that the app makes the users focus on superficial aspects such as money, popularity, likes and dislikes, instead of focusing on the deeper aspects that build a relationship such as friendship, commitment and shared values. This may lower the users self-esteem it forces them to look good on the profile than to focus on other important aspects.
This may push the person into experiencing Tinder depression.
- Innumerable rejections:
As we saw above, Tinder gets the user hooked to swiping and trying to find themselves a match. However, a downside of this is that it also puts the person in face of several rejections. Each time a person gets rejected, it causes him or her to doubt themselves. It also leads the person to feel deflated and exhausted leading to feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
Ghosting is a phenomena where a person withdraws from another person’s life without any explanation and ignores any attempts made at communication. This phenomena is extremely popular in Tinder due to the wide variety of matches available, which makes it easy for some to ‘ghost’ the other or also be ghosted. This kind of rejection becomes more unbearable than actual rejection can lead a person to experience pain similar to physical pain, making it another factor responsible for experiencing Tinder Depression.
- Body image issues:
Due to the excessive focus on looks, figures and a perfect body shape that will attract potential factors, a lot of Tinder users are not experiencing body image issues wherein they feel that they do not look the right complexion, do have the correct height or body weight, feel they are too fat or too thin, do not have the correct posture etc.
This also leads to social comparisons, where the people may become overly sensitive about how they look and end up believing that they fall short of something.
- Convenience over well-being:
Tinder and several other dating apps come up with offers and discounts to keep their users attracted to using the app. This has directly targeted their well-being as it has made being addicted to online dating. This addiction towards online dating and the use of premium features on the apps are the major contributors of Tinder Depression and other mental health concerns such as anxiety.
Tinder may also serve as a space where abuse may take place. Several users have reported facing abuse in the form of verbal abuse and emotional abuse through the platform by the potential dates. Cyber bullying and harassment has also become common. This can be traumatic for the users and can serve as a precipitating factor for Tinder Depression.
Can dating apps like Tinder be used more responsibly?
Yes. By keeping in mind a few guidelines, online dating can be made a relatively safer space to communicate and find a partner.
- If the person has had a history of anxiety and depression, it is best for him or her to stay off the dating sites to avoid amplification of symptoms in the form of Tinder Depression.
- Dating apps should only be used if the individual feels that he or she can deal with the rejections and make an attempt to not let it personally affect them. For doing this, it is important to remember that dating apps focus on superficial aspects predominantly.
- While using the apps, one should be clear about the type of partner they are looking for, so that they can avoid unnecessary swiping and the resulting rejections to a certain extent.
- Being open to talking online. It is important to remember that not everyone will have the same values, ideas or beliefs as the person. Keeping an open mind works well in this case as there are no unrealistic expectations then.
- Trying to get the conversation offline as soon as possible can help as it can give both the people the opportunity of knowing each other beyond the aspects mentioned on Tinder to know whether they can move along together. If not a face to face meeting, attempts should be made to atleast have a video call.
- Being compassionate towards self and others. Harassing others or bearing harassment, not caring for their well-being and rejecting others and being rejected can make the app a bitter place to be. Being compassionate can help.
Frequently Asked Questions:Tinder Depression
Is it sad to use tinder?
Both men and women who used the dating app experienced low self-esteem, body shame and negative moods, revealing that tinder may not be a happy place to be all the time, indicating that it can be sad to use tinder.
Why are dating websites bad?
About 55% of people have reported that dating apps can have a lot of issues ranging from IT security incidents to meeting up with people that didn’t turn out to be who they claimed, or being rejected by potential matches. The data suggests that men put themselves at risk more than women.
Is tinder just for hookups?
The answer is both that is; You can use Tinder for a variety of reasons, varying from making friends to something casual to dating with the intention of finding your permanent partner.
Do online relationships last?
A study by Stanford University claims that couples who meet online are no more likely to break up than couples that meet offline.
Why are dating apps unhealthy?
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, about 28% of online daters have been made to feel uncomfortable or have been harassed on a dating app. Adding to this are the rejections which can make a person feel that they are not worthy.
Today’s blog post focused on ‘Tinder Depression’. We began the discussion by taking a brief overview about the dating app, Tinder. Following this we moved to understanding the various reasons that make Tinder so popular among the youth, keeping them hooked to it. Then we tried to understand as to whether the use of Tinder amplifies the probability of facing mental health issues, including Tinder Depression. Lastly, we looked into ways in which dating apps like Tinder can be used more responsibly.
I hope the blog post was successful in helping the readers understand the other side of dating apps such as Tinder and the ways it can be a precipitating factor for Tinder Depression. Please feel free to drop in your comments and queries below.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.