My answer is always the same: Yes… if you both hook up.*
The point I’m trying to make here is that any site can be used for anything you want it to be used for. Do more people “hook up” on Tinder than on eHarmony? Probably. Do some people troll the “serious” dating sites looking for a one-night stand? Of course. And do some people find meaningful, lasting relationships from an app like Tinder or JSwipe? You bet. It’s all in how you decide to use the site for you.
One writer on AskMen.com wrote, “Most guys I know are content looking at the cleavage shots, and in the case of a match, asking the girl if she wants to meet up and grab a beer. Let’s be honest, they’re looking for a casual encounter. After a casual date or two, they expect to get laid.” Even Rolling Stone wrote an article called Inside Tinder’s Hookup Factory.
Is this view of Tinder, though, a self-fulfilling prophesy? If someone tells you it’s a hookup app, then you perpetuate the rumor by doing just that—hooking up with someone—thereby confirming it’s just the type of app you thought it was? Seems plausible. If that same person instead tells you he met his amazing long-term girlfriend on the app, would you go in with different expectations? I’d venture to say yes.
In my own various stints on Tinder (partly for professional reasons and partly for personal), I can tell you that the people I’ve texted with and/or met have run the gamut, from the ones who straight-up asked “DTF?” (no thank you, sir) to the ones who seem genuinely interested in at least getting to know me… outside of my pants. There was the one who was so rude to me that I had to walk out after 15 minutes (there’s a first time for everything) and the one who’s now very serious with a friend of mine because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There was the one who was apparently my bartender once and recognized me yet somehow had nothing (like, really nothing) to say on our date and the one who was looking to get married and have kids ASAP… if I relocated to Denver (again, no thank you, sir). There are the ones who compliment my body (no need to get specific) and the ones who actually read the six bullets I wrote talking about my love of my dog, puns, and Scotch.
Through it all, though, the only person who has the final say as to whether any of these apps are “hookup” apps is you. Then the question becomes whether you need to say up front what you’re looking for or just see how things pan out. I am of the belief, as I tell my clients, that before you decide how to proceed with someone, hooking up or otherwise, you have to see if there’s even a connection to begin with. (My exact words are actually, “Before you decide if (s)he’s going to be the mother/father of your child, first make sure you even like each other!”) Err on the side of going on the date and then deciding what to do. None of this is black and white—hookup or not, relationship or not, swipe left or right (okay, that one’s pretty clear-cut)—so it’s okay to live in the gray until you know what you want, and that may be different with different people.
So, are all of these apps hookup apps? Sure. Are they relationship apps? Yep. Are they apps that you can use to while away the time while you’re bored in line at the DMV? Um-hum. And are they apps that you can use to simply get out there and decide on a case-by-case basis what’s best for you? Yes, siree.
*Just for the record, I hate the term “hookup.” I’m using it here only because it’s become pretty much universal for a casual encounter.