For first-year students who live on campus, Denton is an exciting place to explore and meet new people. Though some may do this by socializing with their fellow students, others turn to popular dating apps such as Tinder to find new friends to spend their time with.
According to a report by CNN, roughly 50 percent of Tinder users are between the ages of 18-24, most of which are college students. The same report also stated that over 53 percent of Tinder users said they use the dating app to find friends.
The app uses geographical location software to match people with other users in their area, which makes it the perfect app for new college students. However, the app is more commonly known for finding casual sex partners than it is for finding long-lasting relationships. Although, successful relationships through the app aren’t entirely impossible.
Pedro Camacho, a sophomore media arts major at UNT, said in an e-mail interview he met his last girlfriend of nine months through Tinder. Although research shows a majority of users are looking for friendships, Camacho said he got the app to find a serious relationship and had no intentions in using it to meet friends.
“I do know that a good amount of people just want friends,” Camacho said. “But from my personal experiences most people either want casual sex or a relationship.”
Camacho said he had the app for five months and had two relationships result from using it, one short-term and one long-term.
“I met my first girlfriend ever on Tinder,” Camacho said. “It was my first semester in my freshmen year of college. We only dated for a month and it wasn’t that serious of a relationship.”
Camacho said he had never been in a relationship before the app. Because of his shy nature, he said it was difficult for him to start conversations with girls around campus.
“I feel like I would still have never had been in a relationship if it wasn’t for Tinder,” Camacho said. “In the end, I’m glad I had the experience.”
Despite the stigma of using the app, Camacho said he is not ashamed to say he was a fond user of it and will continue using it.
“If it comes up I’ll never hide the fact that I used Tinder, I’m a pretty big fan of it,” Camacho said.
“And it’s given me relationship opportunities with people I would’ve never met if it wasn’t for the app.”
Camacho wasn’t the only Tinder user to find a successful relationship through the app. Kelsey Shoemaker, a junior majoring in journalism, is currently in a 10-month long relationship with a guy she had found through Tinder.
Although she deleted her account shortly after making it, her current boyfriend found her through her Instagram account that she linked to her profile.
“I went on an accidental Tinder date,” Shoemaker said. “He messaged me on Instagram and then I found out shortly after that he originally found me on Tinder.”
Shoemaker said she made an account initially as a joke and never expected to find a serious relationship from the app.
“Sometimes on Tinder people just want a quick hookup,” Shoemaker said. “Sometimes you want a serious relationship and the other doesn’t, and it’s hard to find somebody who wants the same thing as you. I was just lucky I didn’t get a complete punk.”
Shoemaker said although there are some success stories, she generally gets odd reactions when she tells her friends that she met her boyfriend through an app famously known for casual sex.
“People kind of judge you for a second, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, you’ve been together 10 months’, “Shoemaker said. “Lots of people tell us, ‘Oh, I’ve never heard of anything that successful from Tinder’.”
Not every Tinder user is as lucky Shoemaker and Camacho in their search for true love. Many find themselves having several dates that never pan out.
Eric Bishop, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, had the app for roughly four months with no success. He initially made an account after hearing his friends’ experiences with the app.
“I did it out of curiosity,” Bishop said. “So many of my friends told me funny or odd experiences, I thought I’d check it out.”
Bishop said he was a daily user. He said that getting ‘matches’ on the app were few and far between. He said the app is alright for people who want to find new people.
“It comes down to the people. If they are honest with the other person, It’s a good app to meet people,” Bishop said. “But besides that, a lot of the standards of the app aren’t good. I’d say overall the app is poor, but it has potential.”
Despite only having a few short-lived friendships through the app, Bishop said overall the app helped him become a more social person and it helped shape who he is today.
“It did help with my self-esteem a bit,” Bishop said. “Or at least it helped me get to a place where I’m getting better with my low self-esteem. So yeah, in that sense, [the app] has changed me.”
Mitchel Schneider, a junior majoring in social sciences, reported having a similar experience with Tinder helping his self-esteem and social anxiety.
“I think it’s made me more social,” Schneider said. “Each time I like talk to a person on there or meet with someone, I get more and more comfortable with meeting and talking to people I don’t know.”
Schneider made an account to meet new people in town, and has found it to be helpful in becoming more social.
“Other types of social media make it to where you just stay behind the computer screen and connect to people that way instead of going out,” Schneider said. “This app kind of makes it to where you have to go out and meet people, even my friends have commented on how I’m more social now.”