We’ve all been there: you glance up from your salad at the Commons or from your study group at the B-school and lock eyes with the girl or guy you matched with on Tinder just yesterday afternoon. Now you have two options: acknowledge it or pretend you’ve never seen them before in your life.

In the case of my friend group, the latter is picked every single time. Or in the case of a recent run-in by one of my friends with a Tulane guy she’s talking to on Tinder, the hide-behind-your-friends-until-he-passes option is the most effective. He is persistently asking to take her to dinner via Snapchat (though they’ve never met in person), yet she wants to forgo the awkwardness of their first meeting for as long as possible. Talking through an app doesn’t equate to an instant connection, but it should at least open the door to eventually meeting up in person.

Being unprepared to see a potential love interest while walking down Broadway in the 95-degree heat is not ideal and isn’t made any better when you’ve been sending flirty messages for three days straight. So, you end up passing each other and intensely avoiding eye contact. Is Tinder broadening the already large gap we all experience in our social skills due to the presence of technology? Or is it actually making it easier to make connections? I’d say a little bit of both.

Because it is easier to swipe without consequences or fear of rejection, people do successfully find hookups or relationships through the app that might have never happened in person. We can’t all have that lucky find at the Boot or class crush that actually pans out into something more. Another fairly obvious advantage to using Tinder is that when you come across someone you actually know, you have the ability to express interest without actually doing anything besides swiping (and sending the subsequent message if you match).

It also opens up so many more possibilities if you go to college in a place with more colleges nearby. If you’re looking to expand your hookup pool beyond Tulane, you can easily do so in a couple of swipes. There could be someone you’ve yet to meet or someone you didn’t even think about getting with until you swiped on a whim and then matched with. Tinder is super popular for a reason. It’s more casual than other dating apps, and it almost feels like you’re playing a game on your phone. The instant gratification of matching with someone is a rush for sure, and comparing matches and conversations with your friends is extremely entertaining.

So the next time that you see someone that you recognize from your Tindering escapades, say hi! Don’t let the interaction only exist within the haven of your phone. Acknowledge that initial interest and be open to the possibility of interacting with someone IRL. The point of dating/hookup apps is to start the conversation but not to stop it at just that. In conclusion, use Tinder to explore your possibilities and have fun doing it. Happy swiping!

Cover Photo: De Zeen

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