Am I too old for Tinder?

You have probably seen it. It’s been happening for a few years now. Over coffee breaks, over drinks, you’ll see a huddle of 20-somethings frantically swiping their phone screens amidst quiet-but-excited whispers, or “Tindering”, as it has now come to be called. Dating apps have radically changed the way people think about romance, bringing the excitement and anticipation of finding “the one” to your fingertips.

It’s exciting, terribly exciting, actually, when you’re suddenly made to realise just how many single people there are, just like you. Then there’s the fact that you can read through their bio, see if you both are looking for the same thing, and lo and behold, you could be planning your next date within minutes if it’s a match!

But Tinder is not for the fainthearted - not everyone on Tinder is looking for love, or even romance; in fact, dating apps like Tinder have gained popularity for making hookups easy, and somewhat dignified, so if you’re brave enough to admit that you’re looking for love or romance on Tinder – you may be in the minority.

Thirty, Single and Terrified?

What if you are contemplated jumping aboard the Tinder wagon and are above the average age of a Tinder user (83% are under 34 - Source)? It’s understandable that you’d think twice before signing up for an app that’s being used by a majority of its users for casual dating and hookups. After all, you’re thirty, probably doing better in life than you were in your twenties, and shall we say, less naive? More worldly-wise? Obviously, in your head, Tinder doesn’t quite fit in with this image, and you’d rather just look for an end to your singlehood the traditional way, right?

Except, you know how frustrating it can get, exhausting, even. You find someone attractive, ask them out because, at thirty, that’s the only way to do it (or wait for them to ask you out, which is straight-up high school behavior). Maybe you meet for a drink, either spend time staring into your glass making polite conversation, or you throw caution to the wind and go all out with the flirting. At the end of it, it’s either a hasty, awkward goodbye, or before you know it, you’re on your way to your place or theirs.

Neither of those situations is helping you. Well, at least not in the way you expected it to. What follows is a seemingly endless phase that involves overthinking, a mini-heart attack each time your phone buzzes, or a series of more “dates” (mostly spent at your place or theirs) leading to nothing conclusive.

This, with the drama of unanswered calls and texts, last-minute cancellations, none of which you asked for in the first place. This might have appealed to the twentysomething you, but then, you’re thirty, aren’t you?

Why Tinder after Thirty

All this while, you wish you’d known this person better. At least known more about them, maybe even get a hint about what they’re looking for, in the very least, if they’re looking for the same thing as you: romance, and maybe something more stable than casual dating.

Yes, there are going to be weird people who offer weirder things, with bios that were probably written by their cat while it was high on something. But then, there are people like you - people willing to talk, people willing to listen, people whose idea of a date is a little more than “my place or yours”.

The secret to finding these people, is to not give up too soon. It’s like navigating your way through a seedy neighborhood before you reach a swanky, high-end restaurant. You’re going to have to swipe left a lot (sometimes till your thumbs hurt) and make good use of the un-match button (Tinder put it there for a reason, duh!), but if you find a bio interesting enough, give them a chance - you never know where a conversation could lead.

Before you throw up your arms in exasperation, take a minute to think this out - you’re doing all of this from the cushy comfort of your couch or bed - looking for people who’re interesting enough to talk to, in the very least, before actually meeting them. Saves you a whole lot of energy (and you know how energy works on the other side of thirty, obviously). It’s not like your idea of good fun is bar-hopping every weekend anymore, and you might have noticed you don’t actually even hang out as much with those many people any more. Yes, you’re thinking right - in real life, the dating pool of people you know through other people thins out quite a bit.

How to Tinder Right

So if you’ve turned to spending nights in, why not put them to good use by creating a bio that’s honest, but interesting (yeah, no one wants to know your weird habits, but if you love jazz, do put that down), and look for people who you connect with?

There’s another great advantage that comes with Tindering after thirty - by this age, “most” people are pretty self-aware, honest and somewhat less likely to get drunk out of their wits on your first date. This hopefully means you’re both likely to have a conversation that’s honest, real and a lot less pretentious (this doesn’t mean you have to hold back with the flirting, but you gotta be classy), so in the very least, you’ll know when it isn’t working out, or when it’s just becoming a conversation that isn’t getting anywhere anytime soon.

Obviously, Tinder doesn’t guarantee zero heartbreaks or rejections, but at least you have the option of being able to choose whether you want to meet someone or not, based on real conversation, and that’s super empowering.

Swiping Left, Right and Center

You’re going to have to keep the teenage or twenty-something yourself from getting too excited or too carried away with flattery (there’s a whole lot of it on Tinder, ranging from genuine to genuinely creepy), or from making rash decisions. The rule about taking it slow applies however you date, on Tinder or otherwise, so make sure you read bios, have interesting conversations and stay honest, and you should be alright. If you’re still not convinced, there’s a whole lot of advice available online too.

There’s nothing to fear, really. You’re not “putting yourself out there” if you use Tinder, well, maybe you are, but how else are you going to find whatever it is that you’re looking for? There are a whole lot of different people on Tinder, and so long as you find someone who is on the same page as you, there’s little else that you should be worried about. So go on, swipe left on your fears, and right on the next interesting bio you come across - you never know what might come out of it!

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