By James Mercadante
In college, it's hard enough finding a relationship when you're already busy balancing your academic studies with other responsibilities, which is exactly why dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are so popular among college students.
In retrospect, dating apps give us the opportunity to fill that little gap that we think we're missing in our lives, and it has the ability to temporarily satisfy our needs.
However, these apps aren't all they're cracked up to be.
These apps we are accustomed to and depend on serve as an opening for us to filter our lives in a manner that is arrant subterfuge. We strive to manifest a life we wish we had and a face we wish we wore.
In order to achieve this, we pose with friends to prove we are not alone. We stand in front of places to confirm our adventurous aesthetic. We whiten our teeth, reconfigure our curves, eliminate any signs that allude to our humanity and do whatever it takes to present the "best" version of ourselves. I can't say that I'm not guilty of this, which is why I use the collective "we" and "us."
There's always this persistent tap on the back, this sharp whisper in the ear, this suffocating weight that urges us to appear and to be seen as perfect.
A lot of the times, the perception of college students depends on these dating apps, as well as on social media apps because they serve as outlets for them to seek validation from their peers, such as receiving likes, follows, comments and matches. Moreover, some of us depend on a constant flow of support and the ones that do not obtain it may question their value.
And while some question their value, others will try to de-value the people they see on their screens.
A lot of the times, I've seen college students be very shallow with people they choose to communicate with on these apps. They will only permit themselves to talk to someone who is sexy, athletic and tall to meet the other person's "standards."
I understand that it's OK for us to have standards about who we are attracted to, as everyone in this world does. However, we have become so acculturated to only focusing on what rests on the surface.
It has gotten to the point where some have tossed manners and chivalry into the garbage. We make unfair judgments every day based on appearance and we barely give time to actually engage in meaningful discourse with the person, other than the traditional prelude of "hey, what's up?"
Everything starts with attraction, but in relationships, that will always fade. However, these dating apps are designed for you to initially judge others based on what they look like. Dating apps can cultivate an environment that demands expectations out of people, such as having sex and/or appearing perfect.
Depending on the person, though, these apps can be extremely beneficial and give them the ability to meet someone they genuinely like.
Moreover, people might need to reflect on how they are affected by these apps and ask themselves — is this really the best way to connect with people?