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The Death of Dating Apps: Are They Still Worth It in 2024?

The State of Dating Apps and Online Dating

If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing dating apps since the very beginning—and we’re talking primarily about when the internet and mobile phones were taking off in the earlier 2010s (the Geocities days are to be acknowledged and respected, but are not the focus of this write-up, sadly)—you’ll know that the evolution of technology and dating has been thick milky at best. 

That is to say, it’s been quite difficult to know where the world of dating is heading, especially when you’re caught up in the haze of options (in every sense of the word.) 

But with certain eras in the rearview, hindsight is 20/20, and what was novel then is a bit more status quo now. New and old generations alike are becoming privy to the downsides of online dating, primarily its effects on mental health, some deeming it to be a “waste of time”. 

After all, swiping online is meant to be convenient and fun, and while certain providers can retain a semblance of that, these platforms have been around long enough for users to identify some fairly well-defined pitfalls such as ghosting, exaggerated admin, conversations that go nowhere, and horribly out of date photos. 

While these are fairly universal issues in dating, it still remains to be said: what happens when these dating apps are no longer fun? Or, more specifically, what happens when individuals are tired of dating apps?

Widespread Discontent with Dating Apps

Depression, burn out, fatigue—some have even gone as far to say they “hate” dating apps (but want a relationship.) It’s probably safe to say that everybody deserves a happy heart, and the motivation is certainly there: it’s just the execution that can run into some snags. These issues have been the core of an exodus of sentiment, if you will: while the amount of dating app users continues to grow, so, too, does the dissatisfaction, or indifference. People are looking for something less superficial.

As an aside, It’s worth noting that “hating” dating apps suggests a base-level engagement with them. People still want the thrill of meeting someone new—that much remains. It’s the associated rejection, negative feelings, and practical reasons to not be on dating apps that can sometimes put people off entirely.

Pew Research Center studied the American dating market in their extensive article “From Looking for Love to Swiping the Field: Online Dating in the U.S.” where dissatisfaction appears to have grown from 42% in 2019. Who knows where it’s at now in 2024?

The statistics may check out—in an article released by the New York Times late last year, “Tired of Dating Apps, Some Turn to ‘Date-Me Docs’”, columnists cover the more DIY approach that some daters are taking: mixing more traditional matchmaking elements with the exposure the internet can bring you by creating what can be compared to a résumé!

To balance the narrative out, though, it’s worth reading this article on the San Francisco Standard: “Online dating isn’t dying. Here’s why you should give apps another chance”. The columnist suggests that while the jury is still out on whether dating app experiences are more or less negative, having an open mind and not aggressively filtering means meeting those with qualities that are dramatically different to our own, and having your opinion healthily questioned. We don’t exactly disagree with those points.

Swiping Yourself into Oblivion

It might be no surprise that the whales of dating are taking inspiration from what CitySwoon has pioneered over the last decade: in person events.

After all, who wants to scroll endlessly? The magic happens in person. Meeting people immediately is a quick litmus test for future chemistry, and concerted efforts into single evenings can lead to the best results. You simply can’t do that while swiping.

It’s clear that large swathes of populations worldwide are experiencing existential dread, massive disconnect, and long to bring things back to reality. You deserve an honest-to-goodness in-person interaction, not to be buried in a stack of faces, only to be uncovered to text “hi.”

 Dating Apps and Mental Health

You’re Enough—but is the platform?

All of this is to say that daters are regaining control of their agency and making choices that resonate with themselves best. Nature is healing.

A study in 2020 using software created in Utah, “Swipe-based dating applications use and its association with mental health outcomes: a cross-sectional study”, basically found that being on dating apps showed a higher incidence of psychological distress and anxiety compared to non-users, and this condition increased with frequency of use. If you ever considered uninstalling, you might’ve been onto something.

The bottom line here is that if you’re ever feeling less of yourself, feel depleted or start hearing some unhelpful negative self-talk, you’re going to want to protect yourself. 

Everybody knows that confidence is key to finding what you deserve. You are more than a profile picture, and there is plenty to be optimistic about. You just have to find the right place.

Speed Dating Events: The Best of Both Worlds

Normalizing Meeting in Person

If you aren’t completely turned off dating at this point, congratulations. Your persistence will be rewarded! 

To be clear, CitySwoon has identified the weaknesses of swiping, and our objective is to mix the best elements of technology and dating with in-person events. Yes, we use an advanced and patented algorithm to lubricate things, but this is done with connection (see: not alienation and isolation) in mind. 

Think of in-person dating events or speed dating as polaroid cameras: they’re tactile, real, raw, unfiltered, and definitely unscripted. They’re not trying to emulate the aesthetic of natural grain (not that we have anything against Instagram or VSCO) — they’re simply the real deal.

We know, we know, it’s revolutionary. Meeting in person in this day and age can often appear that way. So yes, speed dating is very much still a thing, and we’re postulating it’s the reset that everybody needs amongst the disillusionment that dating apps can bring.

Virtual Speed Dating — Dipping Your Toes In

Ever since the pandemic, the indomitable human spirit and longing for connection has endured. Now that restrictions have been lifted, real connections—face to face connections are the meta.

But… if you’re feeling apprehensive, or still want that convenience and ability to transcend corporeal and geographical locations, you may want to try out our online or virtual speed dating service. 

Online speed dating means that you’ll be matched up with people in quick succession: you have the opportunity to connect with people online and get to know them right away. Will sparks fly? Will you transcend 3-day-long waiting periods for replies? Will you be in a bathrobe? 

If ever you decide to take the plunge, fully, which is recommended, be sure to recap the importance of chemistry and how to identify a connection at speed dating events.

CitySwoon and How it Fits in

At CitySwoon, we believe in the integrity of our in-person speed dating events and online speed dating. Every single event is legitimate, and plenty of awesome people are showing up and ready to mingle. The dating scene can resemble the wild west at times, so you might want to go with a reputable provider. If ever you feel like the dating experience on those pesky SBDAs (swipe-based dating applications) is getting worse and worse, well, you know where to look.

Check out our events by city, or get your wetsuit ready and dive right in. Not convinced? Check out our dating stats. We’ll wait (no promises from the other daters, though!)

Dating App FAQs

Are dating apps worth it?

At the end of the day, yes, dating apps are worth it. It depends on your goals, though. If you’re looking to swipe endlessly, then knock yourself out! If you’re looking to have fun in person, and explore connections on a fun-filled night at an awesome bar near you, then CitySwoon is the place.

Is online dating worth it?

Online dating is still very much worth it. With advances in technology, there are certain conveniences that daters can now afford. We’re not making a case against online dating per se, we’re just identifying some of the weaknesses that it can bring. People want a change, and speed dating and meeting new people in person has been on the rise consistently.

Do people still use Tinder?

As shocking as it might sound, yes, people still use Tinder. Its reputation has kind of morphed over the past several years, however. It’s known a bit more in some circles as a hook-up app, and while we aren’t opposed to fun and the many ways people might define it themselves, we think there are considerable benefits to not swiping yourself into oblivion.

Are dating apps bad for mental health?

The jury is in, and there are several studies that suggest dating apps can be bad for your mental health in terms of “psychological distress” and anxiety, with incidence being lower in non-dating app users. The higher the frequency of usage, the higher the incidence.

Are dating apps a waste of time?

Ultimately, there is considerable discontent around users of dating apps. Again, this would depend primarily on your goals. Many people have found that their experiences have been negative, however.

Why are dating apps so bad?

Now, not all dating apps are bad. They’re all just different. The dating industry has warped into a multi-zillion dollar industry, and with certain providers just copying one another and being in a monopoly, well, things can end up appearing very much the same. Thankfully, there’s still some innovation to be found on the internet!