Apps

Whether used to find love, something to do on a Friday night, someone to hook up with and never speak to again or something to give your thumbs to do when you’re bored, college students are no strangers to the online dating game.

Dating apps. We’ve all been there. They have become an integral part of the college experience. Whether used to find love, something to do on a Friday night, someone to hook up with and never speak to again or something to give your thumbs to do when you’re bored, college students are no strangers to the online dating game.

Mario Bennetti, a 21-year-old UF marketing junior, said he has been active on the apps all through college, with little luck in the love department. “I have not had anything serious out of one, but have gone on the typical dates,” Bennetti said.

His response made me think about the nature of dating apps and young adulthood. Have dating apps been created to act more as “hook-up apps” or have we construed them into something more casual to save us from sadness or rejection? Well, when I unloaded these questions onto Bennetti, he responded simply with, “I’d say I never really intended to have it be serious either.”

Clearly, I’m a romantic. But Bennetti’s experience is certainly not isolated. We are all busy with class, work, internships, friends, families and lives. Young adulthood is all about laying down a foundation to stabilize the remainder of our professional lives. That’s a huge deal. And it’s time-consuming. Many of us don’t have time for the seriousness that a relationship can bring. Instead of apps hindering our ability to connect with others, it only aids it. With dating apps, you can have bite-sized bits of connection with people; a chat, a date, a hook-up or even a friend, all on demand.

But of course, this type of usage isn’t everyone’s experience either. Jorge Gutierrez is a 21-year-old UF finance junior who lucked out in the dating app department.

“I have not been recently using it because I currently have a boyfriend that I met through a dating app, and it’s been going extremely well considering that we met online,” he said.

A modern day fairy tale, if you ask me.

While I was at it, I figured I’d also ask about the current climate of dating apps considering the current climate of our world.

“I have heard people say that there has been a lack of people on Tinder/Grindr because of the scare regarding COVID-19,” he said. “There might be an increase of users in these sites, but physical interactions amongst people I believe have substantially dropped because of the epidemic.”

To say we’re living in some challenging times would be an understatement. From pandemics to protests, people have more important things to worry about than how many “Super Likes” they have. 

As the Fall semester starts back up (fingers crossed), students will inevitably be back in the dating app game, using them in any way that works for them. Casual connections, good friends or long term partners can all come from a simple swipe. Although these are woefully uncertain times, perhaps the fun of dating apps is the uncertainty of what you’ll get.

Contact Alyssa Archard at [email protected]. Follower her on Twitter @Alyssa_Archard.