Why online dating isn't working for you?

In October I shared a survey about dating app experience with y'all. Some results were as expected, while others were quite surprising. Luckily, beforehand I received some tips about Tinder usage trends from my friend Binni which gave me a good background for an analysis of the survey. For example, she introduced me to the fact that some people are there just for the ego boost, they only match, but don't bother texting anyone.

The first thing I should mention about the survey is the number of respondents - I got approximately 230 responses in 3 days. The majority of the people I surveyed live in Bulgaria and, like me, most of them are a part of the international community here.

The first question was whether a person has ever used a dating app, and 90% of the respondents replied 'yes'. I surmise that 90% is not the real average, because of the fact that the survey was about dating apps. My assumption is that the people who filled the survey are more likely to use apps. The real number of people aged 19 to 25 is 50% in the US. Some people had started using dating apps only since corona hit which was confirmed by 17% of the people surveyed.

So which app do all these people use? The most popular, of course, is Tinder, with 52% of respondents. But, the survey shows that many people use more than one app. I got some complaints about the fact that I didn't give the option to specify more than one app in the question. Other popular platforms are Badoo, OkCupid, Bumble, and Grindr.

The second thing that became apparent was the fact that using dating apps is very mainstream. Some people reported using them on a daily or weekly basis, together they made up almost 40% of the respondents. Curiously, 16% have used a dating app once in their lifetime, possibly found the right person, or just figured that dating apps don’t work for them for reasons I will mention below. For me this response is surprising because I added this option almost as a joke, I couldn’t believe someone would actually select it.

Because I'm a really shy person when it comes to meeting people online, I still haven't actually had a conversation on Tinder. Not during the whole time of researching or, ever in my life. I have installed Tinder twice, but deleted it before starting a conversation with a match that I really liked. But this is just my personal issue, most people on the survey are not as shy as me. In fact, 50% of the respondents said they have no trouble whatsoever starting a conversation on dating apps. Another 30% sometimes experience difficulty coming up with conversation starters, and there are approximately 15% of people like me, who are shy or for some other reason have trouble starting a convo.

Many respondents report that starting the conversation can be intimidating and would prefer that the other person start it off. In fact, there’s a whole app built on ladies starting a conversation for this reason, Bumble. Some other ladies are waiting for the partner to start the conversation first. So the pressure of leading the conversation in a traditional relationship lies mostly on men.

The next big outcome connected to this is the lack of responses to app users. Actually, these surveys are quite popular and all of them show that people are getting lots of matches, especially women. But they rarely go on dates.

A possible reason for this could be that women are getting lots of attention on dating apps and they can't fully focus on the large amount of conversations going on. As a result, men get ghosted or receive short responses and can't keep the conversation going.

I have found two examples on the internet showing the results of men trying to go on a date using OkCupid and Tinder.

Both of them get lots of matches and both of them get ghosted hard and are left with 4 girls who are actually willing to go on a date with them. The first guy did 500 days on OkCupid, and got 228 matches, while the second actually had a bit more luck. Within one month, out of 58 conversations on Tinder, the second guy still got only 4 dates. From the first example it’s clear that only 5 ladies started the conversion first. (There is no further information about their profiles or the way they were starting or maintaining the conversations).

Our survey backs this up by showing that 36% of respondents haven't been on a successful date using a dating app. Since respondents could interpret 'successful' any way they wanted, I'm interpreting it as no date, or no further relationship with the person.

There are some very lucky ones who have said that they got into a successful relationship as a result of a dating app and some people do believe that this is the way to go.

As do I, even though I'm super shy on dating apps, I personally believe in the possibility of finding a partner there vs. finding one IRL. I think there's a better chance to find a person you're looking for on the app than going out every night, just because you can meet more people in less time, and you have a higher chance that they are looking for a relationship too.

I know this because most people have responded that they're looking for serious relationships on dating apps. The second most popular result is friendship, which I personally consider being a serious relationship too. So people actually want to find a meaningful connection with someone and using a dating app is a popular way to do so.

There were only three people who responded that they are looking for sex exclusively. This could be the actual picture or maybe some people are just too shy to admit that it's what they're looking for.

Another question backed up the need for an app that's focused on the relationship. More than 50% are interested or very interested in an app focused on serious relationships. Some people even don't mind going through a pre-selection process - almost 60%.

I received a most surprising answer to the question of interest in a topic-focused app: most people feel strongly against a pet lover app. This is amusing for me and I have no way of explaining it except maybe people think that pets have just nothing to do with finding a partner.

Last but not least, I want to give some interesting and funny quotes from the survey about why dating apps don't work for some people and what is discouraging them from using existing apps:

  • Girls not being serious enough to go on a date
  • All normal chicks are already taken
  • STDs
  • Creepy guys
  • The sheer number of idiots
  • Ugly lips
  • Easiness
  • Everyone looks human
  • I'm ugly as a sin
  • The married men
  • Actual relationship
  • My high standards :D
  • Nothing at all, it's extremely fun

In conclusion - dating apps are a timesaver when it comes to meeting new people. They are becoming more popular and people aren't shy anymore to admit they're using one (or two, or all of them every day). However, most of the folks out there are looking for serious relationships and existing apps don't really support them on this quest because they're designed to keep people coming back instead of creating meaningful connections. This is the reason why new apps are still popping up and people are still searching for their one and only.