Online dating applications have been catching the attention of people who are looking to find the future father or mother of their children, or a bit of fun.
According to the research of the online dating application called Badoo, millennials spend around ten hours per week across several online dating applications, where men tend to spend more time online – approximately 85 minutes a day – than women who spend 79 minutes a day.
According to CNBC, as of 2019, Tinder is the most downloaded dating application with 5.2 million subscribers as of the second quarter of 2018. YouGov research reveals that as many as 34 percent of Indonesians contribute to this trend. Not only Tinder, but a few other online dating applications, such as Badoo, BeeTalk, and OkCupid are also popular in Indonesia.
Savira, 26, is one of the many loyal users of online dating applications, particularly Tinder. She has been using Tinder since 2016, when she left her hometown to pursue her career. At first, she was aiming to find new friends because being far away from home made her feel lonely, but then she met her then boyfriend in 2017.
Unfortunately, their relationship did not last long since they had different religious beliefs.
“It was such a tough situation, but I finally managed to find a new partner in 2018 after a careful search on Tinder,” Savira said in an interview with me. Finding a lover is not an easy task on online dating applications, according to Savira. She admitted that she has been through many challenges during the process of finding Mr. Right. She even had few terrible experiences of going on a date for the first time with men from Tinder.
However, these experiences do not make her shy away from using Tinder. “The most important thing is doing a background check before you decide to date them,” Savira suggested. Limited personal information and few mutual friends make it even more difficult to get to know a person. Therefore, engaging in a deep conversation is the key to revealing the real identity of the person.
“Persona” Makes an Essential First Impression
In order to respond to the blooming trend of finding a match on online dating applications, I interviewed a clinical psychologist, Vanda Yustiarani, S.Psi. According to Vanda, social media or online dating applications can be a strategic media in finding a soul mate and it is totally normal to rely on to them, especially for people who are busy or live in a homogeneous environment. However, she asserted that we need to be extra careful with these online dating sites because other users might not reveal their true selves online. “Many people might show themselves as how they want others to see them as, and that is the challenging part of using online dating applications,” said Vanda.
Vanda added that there is a psychological term called persona or personality that most people will not publicly show initially, only when they are sure that they are on the right surroundings to show it, for instance in front of close friends and family. This persona, constructed by Vanda, is like the layers of an onion where each layer contains different personalities to be shown to others. The daunting part of persona often leads to disappointment when it does not match the real characteristics of the person – a point to be well aware of when using online dating applications.
Consequently, before we start to make friends on online dating applications, make sure to be true to yourself. Know what you need and what you’re aiming for to keep you away from any attempt at making a “false persona”. Choose an accurate and recent profile picture to allow others to identify you easily. After that, fill in the profile with true information about yourself, for example, your date of birth, location, gender, as well as hobbies and interests. Lastly, be clear about what you are looking for to sort out the types of person you want to match with. Failing to follow these steps will cause others to misjudge you and possibly lead to your meeting the wrong person.
In order to avoid coming across the wrong person, Vanda recommends to always be skeptical about a person on online dating applications. “Many people regret that they easily believed people they hadn’t met before just because they interacted online for a long time, but that is not how you get to know someone,” Vanda explained. She argues that it is very important to meet in person and discuss the principle of things to understand their perspectives towards any particular issue. “By meeting them in person, not only is there a connection in real communication between both individuals to find out about what is going in each other’s heads, but also building chemistry,” said Vanda.
When it’s Time to give Up the Online Love: How to Let Go, Without Guilt
In terms of getting out of a toxic relationship after meeting the wrong person online, Vanda highlighted that we have to firstly admit that the relationship must be ended as soon as possible and let go of the past. She also added that although it might cause a trauma to start to use online dating applications again, it can be healed. She encourages people to seek help immediately once they experience severe heartbreak. Be open to your closest circle about the heartbreak to ease the pain. If the trauma keeps coming within five to six months, then it’s time to seek professional help, such as seeing a therapist.
Although it seems more convenient and helpful, online dating applications should be used only after thorough consideration to prevent ourselves from meeting dishonest people or even getting caught in scams. Thus, make sure you meet the person face-to-face to minimise the disadvantages of online dating applications. If you still doubt the authenticity of the person, ask your relatives to accompany you on your first date. In addition, choose a public, open space as a meeting point where there are a lot of people around you. Lastly, be aware of any suspicious gesture that might threaten your well-being – it’s always better to be safe than sorry!