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The Dating App Trap: Trudy Gilbert’s Take on the Flip Side of Dating Apps

Is ‘Forever’ Just a Swipe Away, or Are We Stuck in a Loop of Fleeting Connections?

Greetings, it’s Trudy Gilbert here again, bringing you my latest reflections on love, relationships, and the wild world of dating. Just recently, I had the privilege of being interviewed for The Age Newspaper (& The Sydney Morning Herald) on a topic that’s causing quite a stir in the dating landscape. The question at hand: are dating apps the trusty sidekicks they’re touted to be in our search for love or are they in fact the main culprits behind our digital dating despair?

With the rise of ‘quiet quitting’ amongst users, we explored the frustrations, addictions, and the chronic misrepresentations that plague the world of swiping right and left. We delved deep into the transformative effects these platforms have had on our pursuit of love and the real-world implications they bear on our lives.

Join me as I shed light on these findings, and more importantly, provide strategies for those of you who, like me, believe that love is more than just a swipe away.

The Culture Shock

It’s undeniable that the dating app experience can be quite frustrating. Ghosting, idling, mere pen pals – you name it, we’ve seen it all. And according to our friends over at The Age Newspaper, these negative encounters are leading many users to feel disillusioned.

So, what’s at the root of this distressing phenomenon? Well, as I explained to the journalist Yvonne Aoll, the biggest problem lies in the culture fostered by these platforms. This culture is primarily marked by a lack of accountability, allowing poor behaviour to flourish unchecked.

On these platforms, users are not held to the same standards as they would be in real-life interactions. Misbehaviours that would be condemned in a traditional dating context are easily swept under the rug. After all, if you behave badly, who’s going to hold you accountable? With no fear of reproach, there’s little incentive for users to uphold a code of decency and respect.

Ultimately, this creates a dating environment that’s less about forging meaningful connections and more about gaming the system. As long as users can hide behind the veil of digital anonymity, this unfortunate trend shows no signs of stopping.

And so the question arises… Are these apps hindering us in our quest for true love, or can they still serve as effective tools in our modern search for romance?

The Dopamine Deception

One of the most insidious aspects of dating apps is their addictive nature, which was a key point of discussion during my interview. With each match, with each swipe, users are rewarded with a hit of dopamine, the neurotransmitter linked to feelings of pleasure and reward.

But here’s the kicker – while users like you are aiming to find a committed partner, the app companies have a different goal. They want to keep you engaged, keep you swiping, keep you addicted. Their business model isn’t about helping you find lasting love and deleting the app; it’s about keeping you on the platform indefinitely.

The allure of new matches and the thrill of mutual interest can indeed become addictive. But if you’re genuinely seeking a serious relationship, this dopamine-driven design could be counterproductive. It’s essentially diverting your time and energy away from meaningful interactions, further impeding your path to finding a partner.

If the primary reason for being on these apps is to chase the dopamine high or to quell feelings of loneliness, then by all means, swipe away. But if you’re earnestly seeking love, it might be time to reassess your strategy. 

The Rise and Implications of ‘Quiet-Quitting’

During my enlightening discussion with Yvonne Aoll we delved into an emerging trend known as ‘quiet quitting.’ Originally identified in the realm of the workplace, the term describes a state where employees continue to fulfil their duties without investing emotional energy or enthusiasm in their roles. This phenomenon, born from burnout and disillusionment, is increasingly finding parallels in the world of dating apps.

Digital daters are finding themselves emotionally disengaging from these platforms, quietly quitting their fervent pursuit of love through constant swiping and matching. Despite still being present on these apps, their emotional investment and hope are gradually diminishing. This shift is largely driven by a common narrative of frustration over the superficial nature of these platforms – the endless carousel of faces, the prevalence of ghosting, the alarming frequency of misrepresentation, and the glaring absence of deep, meaningful connections.

The implications of ‘quiet quitting’ are profound. As more and more people grow disillusioned with the hollow promises of dating apps, they are beginning to ask: “If not here, then where?” and “If not this, then what?” Are there more effective, more fulfilling ways to seek love in the digital age? The answer to this might surprise you, as it harks back to more traditional methods of connection and courtship.

The Deceptive Mirage of Misrepresentation

One of the most pervasive issues in the digital dating landscape is misrepresentation. The act of portraying oneself in an untruthful manner, often in a more favourable light, is not a novel concept, especially in the realm of dating. However, with the advent of dating apps, it seems to have reached an entirely new level of prevalence and sophistication.

In our conversation for The Age Newspaper, we touched on the worrying trajectory this problem is taking. With the burgeoning advances in artificial intelligence (AI), we’re soon to encounter a time where AI-generated profiles and fake conversations blur the line between reality and fiction. How will you be able to distinguish genuine human interaction from algorithmically generated chit-chat? The reality of this situation is as concerning as it is surreal.

But it’s not just the technological advancements that contribute to the misrepresentation epidemic. Both men and women have been found to mislead potential matches about their intentions, age, appearance, and more. It seems, in the world of swiping and matching, honesty is becoming a rare commodity.

So, where does that leave serious relationship seekers? Are they destined to sift through a sea of half-truths and full-on deception? Is it even possible to find authenticity within these platforms? As we delve into the next section, we’ll examine viable alternatives that could pave the way towards genuine, sincere connections.

The Ultimate Swipe: A Call to Change

As we pull back the curtain on the modern dating app culture, it becomes clear that swiping and matching may not be the golden path to love that it’s often portrayed as. Misrepresentation, addictive design, a culture fostering poor behaviour, and a disheartening disillusionment are all intrinsically woven into the fabric of these platforms.

For those seeking something meaningful, enduring, and genuine, perhaps it’s time to swipe left on dating apps once and for all.

Instead, it might be time to embrace a more personalised, privacy-centric, and quality-focused alternative – matchmaking. Matchmakers and dating agencies offer a refreshing contrast to the chaos and noise of dating apps. Here, the emphasis is on quality over quantity, sincerity over illusion, and connections over algorithms.

The beauty of matchmaking lies in its inherent respect for privacy and personalization. Rather than expose your romantic pursuits to the world, you engage in a confidential, bespoke process tailored to your specific needs and aspirations.

Furthermore, matchmaking provides a curated environment, inhabited by individuals who share a common goal – seeking serious relationships. Unlike dating apps, matchmakers don’t benefit from endless, fruitless swiping. Their aim aligns with yours – helping you find a compatible, meaningful connection.

Engaging with a matchmaker also implies an investment of time, effort, and resources. This means the pool of potential partners consists of individuals who are genuinely committed to finding love, thereby fostering a far more respectful and genuine culture than what we often find on dating apps.

In terms of demographics, matchmakers strive to understand your specific needs and preferences, aligning you with potential partners who are truly compatible. This offers a stark contrast to the random, demographically diverse, and often mismatched selection on dating apps.

In conclusion, if you’ve found yourself disillusioned with the superficiality and inauthenticity of dating apps, remember that there are other avenues to explore. Matchmaking, with its emphasis on quality, sincerity, and genuine connections, may just be the missing piece in your quest for love.

If you’re interested in turning the page on your love story, perhaps it’s time to consider matchmaking. After all, your journey to love should be as genuine and unique as you are.

Swipe left on dating apps. Swipe right for a matchmaker. Love awaits.

Below is the full interview of questions from the journo and my responses.


Here is the Link to the article in The Sydney Morning Herald

Dating App Interview- Yvonne Aoll- The Age Newspaper

Questions:

1) So many people on dating apps complain of how frustrating the experience can be (dealing with flakes, ghosts, idlers, penpals). Are there any ways to prevent the frustration and discouragement of being on dating apps from taking over?

Trudy: Well the biggest problem with dating apps is the culture. The poor behaviour occurs because you can get away with it. There’s no accountability in the way you would have if you met through your community. If you thought that everyone that mattered to you discovered you were acting horribly you probably wouldn’t do it. The culture around apps and the lack of accountability generates horrendous behaviour. That will never stop. 

2) There’s also the element of addiction, with so many suddenly finding themselves needing to swipe constantly (when commuting, at work, shopping) – what causes the addiction? Is there a way for people to regulate their use of dating apps?

Trudy: Yeah it’s true that being matched provides a dopamine hit that can be addictive. Don’t forget, while your objective is to get off the dating app and start a relationship, the objective of the app company is to keep you on the app indefinitely. They don’t make money from people leaving. Most people are swiping away just to dull the pain of loneliness. 

You need to really assess why you’re there. If it’s for the buzz of matches or to make you feel like you’re actually doing something to find love then go ahead and waste time. But if you’re really seeking a serious relationship then my advice would be to delete the apps. 

3) With “Quiet-Quitting” becoming such a phenomenon in the workplace (i.e do your work, stay productive, but don’t let work take over your life and don’t get burnt out), there are now suggestions for people to “quiet-quit” dating as well. Would you have any tips and strategies for quiet quitting dating apps? Any ways to use them productively, but cautiously, and not allow yourself to be overly consumed by them?

Trudy: Well Pew Research in The US found that people are quitting dating altogether. It’s because they’re disillusioned with the app experience and don’t know where else to turn. It’s the loss of hope. I strongly recommend that singles spend time in their community. Friends, work social groups or around their sport and other interests. That’s where they’ll find aligned people. Then their hope will return. Put the bloody phone down and go actually connect with people. 

4) When it comes to standards, many complain that they experience a lot of misrepresentation. Particularly women, who find that a lot of men would proclaim one thing on the apps, e.g “want a long-term relationship” only to engage and in real life find out the guys just wanted “hook-ups” – is this just what comes with dating apps? Or are there ways to avoid this/deal with it? 

Trudy: Misrepresentation on dating apps hasn’t even begun. See where AI generated profiles and fake conversations are in a year and then come talk to me about misrepresentation. You won’t even know who is human.  

As far as men are concerned, men saying what they need to in order to get into a girl’s pants is not exactly a new phenomenon. But it’s not just men. Women are being just as dishonest as men on apps. Most lie about their age, they doctor old photos, and many hide their true intentions no matter their gender. 

Apps began with Grindr and they’ll never shake the ‘hookup-for-sex’ culture. If you want to get to know someone you’ll need to go to a matchmaker or dating agency or involve yourself in social circles where that behaviour is not accepted, where people are invested in getting to know you. 

If you’re a woman and you insist on staying on the apps, which I think is total lunacy, then put on your profile that you refuse to have sex till the 5th date. Watch how fast your matches dry up. Sadly if you’re a man and you say that, your app will probably melt down. 

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