Authors Alicia Eler and Eve Peyser posit that Tinder may be teaching people to emotionally disassociate from one another
Authors Alicia Eler and Eve Peyser posit that Tinder may be teaching people to emotionally disassociate from one another

Is Tinder changing the way we think?

Tinder teaches: ’Nothing matters unless you want it to matter’

Kate Ng
Sunday 17 January 2016 19:21

There is no doubt the emergence of dating apps such as Tinder have completely changed the way people meet and date.

But Tinder may have also changed the way we think by teaching us that “nothing matters unless you want it to matter”.

In an essay for The New Inquiry, titled 'Tinderization of Feeling', authors Alicia Eler and Eve Peyser explore the concept that Tinder teaches people “emotional disassociation”.

Ms Eler and Ms Peyser, both writers based in the US, suggest Tinder is not just a dating app, but also a “metaphor for speeding up and mechanising decision-making”, therefore making humans robotic.

According to them, Tinder users, mostly millenials, are required to make decisions fast when using the app that it almost turns the process into a game.

The 'yes/no' nature of the app has turned into a culture of its own, over-simplifying the decision-making process until the idea of "maybe" is but a mere inconvenience.

In the phenomenon dubbed “Tinderization”, people escape fostering real intimacy and vulnerability by avoiding confrontation, which the app allows them to do.

The authors say this traps people in a cycle of: “Swipe right, match, date, f**k, unmatch, rematch, repeat”.

Distancing oneself from potential intimacy can also be seen as “chill”, a romanticised state of passivity that “rationalises self-centredness as an acceptable by-product of too many choices”.

The authors argue that being too “chill” is a sign of not having the “emotional energy” to socialise or deal with people, and seems only to be a good thing on-screen.

“Away from the screen, chill seems less chill and more like a sad wish that people were more robotic, without needs or feelings, hermetically self-fulfilling and self-fulfilled,” they write.

However, we can break away from “Tinderization” simply by “including” people in our everyday lives.

The importance of intricacy in human relationships become more apparent when you allow the people in your life, the “rescuers”, to participate in it.

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They write: “To be without intricacies is to be without emotional boundaries, to disregard whoever whenever.

“[Best friends] are your heart, and they transcend any efficiency that the Tinderization Bestie Robot attempts to offer you in its binary fantasy.”

However, the suggestion here is not to give up on Tinder completely, but to allow yourself “emotional accountability” once the app has facilitated your first date.

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