To Swipe or Not To Swipe: The Effects of Dating Apps on Self-Esteem and Relationships

As we all know, our society has taken a quick shift into the land of technology.  Pretty much anywhere you go you will see people on their phone and, unfortunately, rarely speaking to other people.  This change in social norms has made it difficult for people to stay connected with one another in a way that isn’t cybernetic.  Even though it may have its perks, one of the main issues that this has created is difficulty dating. 

The dating scene has become mainly focused on mobile dating apps.  It is not common anymore that you hear someone saying they are going on a date with someone they met in person or through a friend.  The most common thing you hear is that someone is going on a date with someone they met on Tinder, Bumble, etc.  This has become very normalized, however what is it doing to your self-esteem?

A Hit to Your Self-Esteem

Imagine this.  You are scrolling through one of your dating apps and come across someone you are very attracted to based off of the pictures they have on their profile.  You decide to message them and start a conversation, and then you never hear back from the person.  One might start questioning why this happened.  Is it because they did not like my pictures?  Am I not attractive enough?  Was it because of something that is written about me in my profile description?  The list goes on and on.  It can have a negative impact on self-esteem and create a spiral of negative thoughts about yourself.  Dating apps have created a trend of judging your level of attractiveness to someone based strictly off of appearance, taking away the social connectedness piece of building a relationship.  Yes, for some it can increase self-esteem if they are noticing a lot of their pictures being “liked” but that is not always the case.

Then comes the issue of having to meet the person whose pictures you were attracted to.  What happens if you meet this person and you dislike their personality or they dislike yours?  Self-esteem is not only based off of appearance but also personality, likability, self-confidence, etc.  This forms another risk for lowered self-esteem.

Face-to-Face Connections

Even though it might not seem as natural anymore to meet someone the old fashioned way, it can save you time and negative emotions.  People often say that they do not know how to meet people anymore unless it is through an app because nobody seems to do that nowadays.   One good way to do this is through your friends.  Your friends know you better than most people, so why not let them know that you are interested in meeting someone?  Spending time with some of your friends in social settings and meeting some of their other friends can be a good starting point.  Another way can be meeting someone through common interests.  Do you like to go to the gym or take workout classes?  Are you someone that likes to volunteer?  Whatever it is that you like to do, spend time talking to people in those environments.  You might find that others are looking for the same thing that you are.  Unplug yourself from your electronics and take some time to meet and mingle with the people around you.  It can lead to an unexpected connection!

 

Bianca Marcu, LPC

Therapist

Clarity Clinic

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