Gone are the days of pebbles romantically tossed at your bedroom window to get your attention. Our new reality is cheesy pickup lines or choice emojis. Dating apps have become the new dating norm, but do we, college students, even like them?

Nearly half of all college-age students in the U.S report using dating apps to meet a partner or potential hook-up buddy. When interviewing MSU students, I found that many people are even on multiple dating apps. “It’s the perfect way to vet people; it’s like Linked-In for dating. Dating apps remove the fear of rejection because you know they also find you appealing,” said a junior at MSU, who wishes to remain anonymous. 

The general consensus regarding dating apps is that most people using these apps do not actually like the idea of the, but believe it is the only way to meet people. The use of dating apps has become a cultural norm. Dr. Sarah Johnson-Palomaki, a sociology professor at MSU, said, “It’s not surprising that students don’t like the apps. Apps have become part of the ‘college experience,’ and students feel like they are supposed to be on the apps to fulfill a cultural norm.” 

When speaking to students about their use of dating apps, I received a variety of opinions. Some people see apps as a great way to meet new people and connect in our fast-paced world. However, others see these apps as being creepy and a total joke. 

“It is unhealthy how it has basically turned into a game,” sophomore Avery Auth said. Apps make it hard to remember there are real people on the other side of the screen, not online avatars. 

“View dating apps as having a particular purpose. Media can be used as a helpful tool that can come with many opportunities as long as you are aware of what you are being afforded. Recognize that the expectation is one of culture that you don’t always need to work on,” Johnson-Palomaki said. 

Although many students don’t like dating apps, most don’t know what else to do. If this is you, I have a few suggestions.

  • If you are going to use dating apps, be VERY clear about what type of relationship you are looking for. If you are looking for a partner to have a good time with, be upfront about that. If you are looking to get married next year, it’s important to inform them of this fact. If you don’t, you’re wasting your and your match’s time and setting yourself up for disappointment. 

  • Put yourself out there, but only your most authentic self. If the person does not like your true self, then they are not going to stay around long term. Go ahead and talk about your obsession with Dungeons and Dragons! This will be a great way to weed out the people who are not interested. 

  • There are also other ways to meet people! Talk to the cute person sitting next to you in class, or join a fun club. Or, my personal favorite, walk up to someone also reading this edition of the Exponent and discuss this article.

Good luck and stay safe!