Why Have People Stopped Talking To Their Dating App Matches?
I’m someone who romanticises the past. “Take me back to the good old days?”, I’ll muse to no one in particular, most often my disinterested cat. I tend to look backwards with rose-tinted glasses, but in all seriousness: did Tinder, Bumble and other date apps used to be better… maybe even good?
Lately, it is bleak out there. Obviously, most of the country being in lockdown for nearly two years isn’t helping, but even before the dreaded year that was 2020, I noticed that dating apps had lacked the activity. It’s always the same back and forth messages, or they might just ask if you “have Snap?” then unmatch. Conversations just don’t go anywhere, or they don’t even get started to begin with.
If I wanted to be ignored and rejected, I’d just play with my cat. People are still matching, but they’re not talking — almost as if collecting matches is now the aim, rather than actually interacting with them, or even dare I say, forming a genuine connection with someone new.
Have other people noticed that dating apps have fallen silent?
“People definitely don’t talk as much on apps anymore,” on-and-off dating app user, Tahlia, told me. “But I notice particularly on Tinder conversation has died. There seems to be slightly more success with Hinge or Bumble but even then the conversations seem to die off pretty fast (i.e. not lasting longer than a weekend).”
According to triple J’s Hack, a whopping 15% of the Australian population use Tinder — which is the most per capita of any country in the world — so why have millions of singletons collectively stopped talking? Even on Bumble, I’ve noticed that only about half my matches actually reply to my first message, which means that the conversation expires for half the people I match with. This all just seems like a waste of time.
Why did they bother swiping right in the first place, if they weren’t keen enough to actually message back?
reinstalling dating apps to find love the old fashioned way (saying hi to each other then never speaking again)
— Dr. Sanjana Curtis! 🦦 (@sanjanacurtis) August 22, 2021
It’s not just women who are facing this problem, it’s the same story for men. “It would happen with probably happen 70% of matches,” past dating app user, James, told me. “They either wouldn’t reply, or the convo wouldn’t go past four messages, and I wasn’t scaring them off either, just normal convos.”
Gender fluid dating app user, Davey, has frequented apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Scruff, and Taimi for years, but has recently found that their matches rarely reply to messages anymore. “Lately it seems like these apps are more about collecting ego points, rather than actually making connections — it can be pretty off-putting! I can’t count the number of matches or taps that I get on these apps only to be met with silence.”
As a result, Davey reckons they’ve “lost the motivation to be on these apps at all”. They continued, “I mean, everybody loves that buzz of getting a hit on Grindr or a match on Tinder, it just seems that people are doing it for the catharsis of stroking their egos rather than anything genuine.”
Open dating app
Respond “I’m good you” to 15 “hi how are you?” messages
Close dating app
— Erika W. Smith (@erikawynn) March 3, 2020
What’s shifted on dating apps in recent years?
Dating app users not intending to find a connection — instead seeking validation or just occupying some free time — could be a consequence of dating app lethargy. Dating apps as a means to meet a romantic interest have now been the norm for almost a decade. Tinder first launched in 2012, with Bumble following in 2014, and since then dozens of other dating apps have popped up for every niche imaginable.
Dating apps used to be exciting, with the idea of meeting a potential partner by simply swiping once a revolutionary concept. But now they’re just one of many apps on rotation on people’s phones.
“Apps now feel like another social media checklist in our phone – better check Instagram, better reply to my friend on Messenger, better swipe aimlessly on an app,” Tahlia said.
“They’ve lost some excitement and feel more like a game with no stakes. You can have good banter from time to time, but it feels more fleeting and rare in a sea of endless matches to find someone with who you could form a genuine connection. Whether it’s general questions about your weekend or overuse of the pineapple on pizza debate, I honestly now just think we’re all bored of the apps but are on them just to feel like we’re still trying.”
deleted all my dating apps again. if u want me ur gonna have to court me the old fashioned way (like all my posts n never talk to me)
— suicide girl hopeful (@KILLHALLIEDEAD) July 7, 2021
What can we do to overcome people not bothering messaging back?
According to Lucille McCart, APAC Communications Director Bumble, it’s important not to take someone not responding too much to heart. “When someone doesn’t reply to a message, it is easy to take that as a rejection — and our brains are wired to turn rejection into emotional pain. It hurts our self-esteem and makes us feel like giving up,” she said.
“However, as hard as it may be, it is really important not to take a non-reply personally. Remember that you don’t know this person and have no idea what is going on for them on their side of the equation. Maybe they are tired, maybe the lockdown has exhausted them, maybe they are busy, maybe they have just been through a breakup and realised they aren’t ready to date. Maybe they just didn’t see your message.
“The reason doesn’t matter as you will likely never know it, so instead of letting it get you down or obsessing over it, or analysing what you did wrong, try and channel your energy into the people or conversations that are rewarding you.”
maybe in 2018 i’ll actually message my tinder matches instead of collecting them like pokemon cards
— ivan (@Ivanibr) January 2, 2018
If you’re still getting down about non-repliers to the point where you become hesitant to even start new conversations, it could be worth changing up the way you message your matches to keep them more engaged. “In my personal experience, the most effective opening lines strike a balance between an easy response and something that feels personal and interesting. Just saying ‘hi’ will almost never cut it. That said, going straight into heavy questions about what kind of relationship they are looking for might feel a bit too ‘big’ for them to get into right away,” McCart said.
“I always start by looking at the person’s profile and trying to pull out something that we have in common that can start an engaging conversation — for example if they mentioned a TV show that I love, or if we have similar music taste, or if one of their photos is in a location I have travelled to, I’ll ask a question about that. Remember this goes both ways, so it is a great reason to keep your profile fresh and to fill out all of the prompts!”
It’s Back On The Apps week at Punkee! We’re digging into the good, the bad, and the highly questionable when it comes to using dating apps. Find more of our content here.