After deleting Tinder and Bumble from my phone two months ago, I’ve been trying to finish this blog to recap my experience, for people who are interested in trying out dating apps but still have certain reservations which I totally understand (I did, too) and for future reference in case I end up on the marketplace again.
Hence, this blog examines my six months (9/2021 – 02/2022) on dating apps, specifically Tinder and Bumble, in Prague, Czech Republic, as a 24-year-old Asian single woman. During this time, I created a spreadsheet tracking the 110 matches I received on Tinder (60) and Bumble (50) and their statuses (ghosted, one date, two dates, friends, blocked, or dating). I also took notes regarding red flags with guys I took interest in.
In this blog, I’ll attempt to answer the following questions:
- Overall, how was online dating in Prague?
- What have I learned from online dating?
- Are dating apps worth it?
Online Dating in Prague
Facts: There are more men than women on Tinder. Younger, smaller, more conventionally attractive women attract more swipes. Older, taller, more conventionally attractive men attract more swipes. Thus, the competition among men for a woman is tough and usually, the top 20% of men get the top 80% of women. Women are presented with more dating options than men and seemingly get to choose, but this actually creates an illusion of choice: Just because you have many options doesn’t mean they fit you, also doesn’t mean you will feel happier with your eventual decision (because you always wonder, what if there is someone better out there – Read more in “How Not to Die Alone” by Logan Ury)
As a 24-year-old Asian woman on Tinder and Bumble, I receive a fair share of attention. Around 80% of my right swipes turned into matches – simply because I was young, physically smaller than an average European, and to a certain extent had this “exoticness” to my looks, which perhaps some people find intriguing. I preferred men from 27 to 32 years old, English speakers, who live nearby a.k.a near the city center. After matching, we would move to Instagram or WhatsApp for more convenient communication. Out of 110 matches, I got 11 dates, 4 mutual attractions, and one relationship. I enjoyed most of the dates, even when there was no mutual attraction and we just remained friends.
Overall, I would rate online dating in Prague 4 out of 5 stars.
- Most profiles are real and safe to interact with.
- Most men are good-looking, nice, kind, friendly, open-minded, interesting, smart, would pay on the first date and try to impress the women.
- The back-and-forth texting at the beginning can turn into exhausting mind games that mess up your sense of self and reality.
- Rejections hurt, even when they aren’t full-fledged relationships. Kind like micro breakups: no matter who ends it, it’s painful for both.
Comparing Tinder versus Bumble
Tinder is more popular than Bumble in Prague, so it offers more profiles. But I would argue that the profiles on Bumble are more quality than on Tinder. In other words, I feel that people are generally more mature and serious in their approach to relationships on Bumble. Because you do need to put an effort into building a profile on Bumble: longer bio, multiple props for self-expression, more photos.
You see more information about the other person on Bumble than on Tinder, e.g., what they are looking for (casual, relationship, not sure), and if they have or ever want kids. I personally prefer the UX/UI experience of Bumble over Tinder. My conversion rate from matches to first dates is higher on Bumble (12%) than on Tinder (8.3%).
3 Things I Learned from Online Dating
1. Dating is a social skill that you can learn, train, and get better at.
The algorithm that dating apps use to show people different profiles, keeping them hooked on the app – only plays a small role in matching you and the other party. After matching, it is your communication skills, persuasion tactics, personalities, interests, and intelligence that keep each other intrigued and engaged. The more practice you have, the better you will become at dating. And if something doesn’t work out, it is not a reflection on your personal value, it just means you have now learned a new skill; there’s still room for improvement and you’re working on it. It’s simply a technical issue. Don’t take it personally.
2. You can and will match with, fall for, and become obsessed over many many many people.
As much as Disney and Hollywood’s rom-coms have made us believe that there’s someone truly special out there who will one day magically appear out of nowhere and the moment you two lock eyes, the world stops spinning, your heartbeats sync, and one of you start ovulating violently – you will experience that plenty of times throughout your life. It’s just involuntary biochemical reactions inside your body. It’s beautiful, precious, and unique every time – but it’s not some sacred feelings you only share with the “right one.” There will be a bunch of those, which doesn’t make the experience any less valid, but don’t overhype it or put the other person on a pedestal as if your life would never reach similar highs again without them. You will. Give it enough time and everything is replaceable (given that you want the change).
3. There’s nothing embarrassing about using dating apps.
I find that dating apps work best when:
- You’re busy and you don’t want to waste time hitting on strangers at random places – It’s creepy, could be seen as predatory or harassing, low efficiency because people might be focusing on the tasks at hand and neglect you/ they might not be available – underaged, in a relationship, married, with kids, etc./you guys have absolutely nothing in common.
- You want to find people outside of your social circle. I have way too many female friends and the rest are awkward IT guys, which can be cute but you wouldn’t want to introduce them to your parents. Plus, I want to date guys a few years older than me, and I wasn’t friends with those. Dating apps connect me to people I would never have a chance to meet otherwise.
- You’re sociable and open-minded. It can get tiring to swipe left and right, to text back and forth, to go on dates after dates without seeing a future with anyone. If you’re generally an extrovert – you don’t mind talking, going out, meeting new people, getting to know people anyway – online dating can be fun and exciting. It’s even better if you go on a date with an open mind – not expecting anything (no “is he the one?” “what will my parents say when they meet him next week?” or “is this man suitable to be the father of my five children?”) – simply enjoy their companion, learning about their interesting lives, and connecting with their experience. If you don’t put too much pressure on finding a partner, you would simply see “dating apps” as another form of social media that helps connect people, bring out new experiences, and diversify one’s life. And you would always have a good time.
So yes, dating apps are worth it, for me at least.
Online dating is not for everyone. But I do believe everyone should give it a go, just to get an overview of the dating market. If you’re interested in the tips and tricks on how to hack your Tinder experience, check out my other blog “What 30 days on Tinder taught me about self love and humanity”.
Stay sunny, bitches.