Looking for love on a dating app? You might be falling for a ghost.
Consider the moments you have fallen in love. If you unpick the threads, you will quickly find much of the falling occurred in the mind. Many artefacts that go towards creating intimacy are imagined. We can’t fully understand or know someone else, but we can construct a persona around them and a shared view of the future.
Yes, there were likely tangible and physical components that went towards constructing the intimacy. You would have seen that person, had a discussion with them, a date (or several dates even), but realistically a lot of it happened in your mind.
In our connected world, this imagination is fostered from the very start of the interaction. It happens from the moment we pick up our phones, tap on an app and consider swiping right. And we’re doing a lot of swiping: 5 million matches a day on Tinder alone. Dating apps and dating have become virtually synonymous.
Dating apps provide users with the ability to dream, to fantasise, to construct a person and an imagined story based on limited information. We open the app with a series of beliefs about who might make for our perfect match. Athletic, committed, creative, respectful, passionate, educated, age-appropriate (or inappropriate) … and then we interpret.
Consider what you are supplied with: a few profile pictures and a brief description. Information is limited; gaps need to be filled.
A photo taken with an adorable chocolate Labrador. Is he an animal lover – and therefore dependable? Holding a cocktail in a party dress with a friend. Does she enjoy her social life – and so is she fun to be around? On the beach: they must love the outdoors.