Okay, it’s time to talk about Tinder. Don’t worry; this article isn’t going to make you feel horrible about yourself if you use it. We get it, we know the story... dating nowadays is tough. Some people might even say that dating culture doesn’t exist anymore.
For reasons like this, so many people turn to Tinder in hopes of meeting new people (guilty as charged). This isn’t to say that people who use the app don’t believe in true love but sometimes it just comes down to the fact that we live in a busy, fast-paced society and it’s an easy way to get to know others.
Alright, I’m not completely naïve. I know that there are a lot of individuals who use Tinder to find ‘easy’ hookups (everyone knows that’s why it first started) but I’m here to make a case that it can be used for much more than that.
Prefacing what I’ll say next with the fact that “tinder culture” is really different depending on where you are. I know that in the states, it is an extremely different experience than what it might be living in other countries. When I was in New York, I’d have the app for a couple of days, read the messages I would receive with a raised eyebrow and then lose a bit of faith in society. Since moving abroad to Spain, I’ve become a huge Tinder advocate for many reasons… don’t worry America, hopefully you’ll catch up soon.
It’s a great way to meet people wherever you’re living.
When I first moved to Murcia, I was really hesitant to download the app because I know how creeped out I got using it in the US. Of course, I thought about the pro’s and con’s and realized that it wouldn’t hurt to try. After a few swipes and matches, I started receiving messages and was oddly shocked that it wasn’t grotesque forward advances but instead general curiosity about what a New Yorker was doing living in this small Spanish city.
During my first couple of months, I found it is a great way to practice Spanish and to get to know a little more about the city from people who have been living there forever. I’m not saying you need to go on a date with everyone you connect with but I’ve made some great friends and colleagues who have been able to link me up with other creatives and places in the city, long before I would’ve been able to find them on my own.
Fun fact: One guy I met on Tinder happened to be a fellow photographer, ended up taking a trip to NY and I was able to share must-see places and even connected him with my best friend + her partner for a photo shoot. I still haven’t met him in person but she has, go figure!
Not everyone is looking for a quickie.
This is one of the major differences between using Tinder in the states and using it abroad. I’ve found that in the U.S., if you’re on Tinder people assume that you’re down to hook-up automatically, which isn’t always the case. Here, of course, there are those who have that in mind, but a lot more people are honestly using it to get to know new people. The awkward immediate sexual advances aren’t as prevalent; instead people are truly interested in knowing more about you, not just in a physical way.
Of course, maybe one in every thirty matches is “one of those guys” but it’s better than one in every three. That comes along with a simple solution of a quick block and moving on with life.
You can connect with like-minded people.
Who doesn’t enjoy meeting someone new who happens to have similar interests as you?! Personally, I know I’ve met so many people in the arts and culture scene in my town even though it’s a bit more underground if you aren’t in with the locals. Tinder has been a great way to meet people who like the same things and to learn about different events that are going on. Not to mention, talking about your interests is a much more interesting way to start a conversation instead of the typical, “Hey, how are you?”
Even if you run into a few people that you vibe well with but like other things, that’s okay! You’re living abroad to be trying new things, so take a chance.
Fun fact: The first Tinder date I ever went on (who turned into my partner for around eight months) I was so hesitant. But, I didn't have much to worry about the conversation was endless, jumping from topics like Lianne La Havas, to living in different countries and even blogging. Through my ex, I’ve met so many people with similar interests and had so many more opportunities with him being a local in the city and spending time with all of the people he knew. So, snaps to that.
It makes you more comfortable meeting new people and realizing what you like.
Alright, let’s be honest… odds are, you’re not going to find a boyfriend from the first Tinder date that you go on (although, it’s possible) but going on dates can be more fun than you think. Being single and living in a new place can be a fun way to meet new people. Dating allows you to try different things and understand a bit more about yourself along the way.
Trying new Japanese restaurants and bonding over Dim Sum — YES!
Picking me up in your car and having your dog shed all over my lap on the way to dinner — Not so much...
Tinder introduces you to a lot of different kinds of people and each time, you realize that every person is so different and has something new to offer. Little by little you also learn more about yourself, what you stand for, what you enjoy and what types of things you’re looking for in a potential partner.
You get to experience local life that you might not have been able to do on your own.
If you’re living in a foreign country, allow yourself to fully embrace the culture. No, I don’t mean flamenco shows and sangria, there is more to local culture than that. Odds are, the people that you’re matching up with on Tinder are from the area where you’re living and they know what’s up. Go to dinner at their favorite restaurant with food from the region. Go on a bike ride on a path that you wouldn’t have known existed otherwise. Go to that concert of the local band where you’ll get to meet a bunch of people that can eventually turn into long-term friends.
Try something new. Experience local life with locals and if that means using a dating-app to do so, go for it! Who knows, you might even find love along the way.
This was originally posted on Sept. 11, 2015.
Have you had positive experiences with Tinder abroad? Share your stories below!
Sienna Brown is the founder of Las Morenas de España. From New York to Murcia, Spain, she is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. Her passion for learning about others leads her towards constant exploration and practicing the art of listening as much as she can. See more of her work here and follow her adventures on instagram.