Like everything that enters the mainstream, Tinder too is receiving its fair amount of ridicule despite being hugely popular and endlessly enabling. It’s the hands-down best thing to have happened to previously oppressive and primitive Indian dating scene. What would I have not given if Tinder had been around when I was younger? Back when I was in college, the ‘first date’ was an end in itself and not a means to an end. The flowchart of a relationship was the quite the opposite of what it is today; the first date coming in the latter part of the spectrum from ‘like’ to ‘love’. The first date wasn’t for first conversations, to know the person better, but as a recount of what had already transpired before the actual first date, to confirm and validate all you already knew about the person. It came after weeks of knowing each other, sending texts that are on the safer side of flirting. You had to be fairly sure about the boy/girl before you asked them out on a date. In most cases, you had a strong crush on her/him and imagined multiple dates together. More than an attempt of knowing the person better, it was an announcement of sorts. This is the first of many, was the underlined meaning of the first date. The long run-up to the first date meant all your friends knew you were going out on one and they invariably accepted that you’re getting into a new relationship.
Tinder changed all that. You nosy friends are out of the loop, the expectation from the three-minute conversation you might have had on the app is nearly not as high, and the pressure is a lot less. Earlier you had to find what you’re looking for in your friend circle and their extended networks. Tinder made that irrelevant. You can find love by distance, scourge every square inch of the city for it, spend day and night exercising your thumb for that one true love (or whatever you’re looking for). What’s even better is that the pretense if out of the window (mostly). If you’re a decent person – and you don’t lie about it on your online profiles – you can walk away from the first date without hurting the other person or get your ego bruised. A failed date is no longer a cause for worry. A successful date is always right around the corner.
What Tinder also doesn’t get enough credit for is the fortunate by-product of failed dates – friends. I know quite some people who turned potential partners into friends. The acceptance of being not attracted to each other but yet be interesting and fun has led to a lot of people coming together, finding friends the quicker way. You don’t need to be sitting next to each other in lectures, or go to the same debating club, or take the same cab home from the office for a friendship to blossom. You could be years apart, from different cities, varying interests, and you could end up finding that 3 am friend you had been looking for! It’s the unlikeliest place to find one.