Illustration by Trịnh Lập
By An Phương
Looking for love can become addictive, especially with the introduction of multiple dating apps in recent years such as Tinder, Bumble or Grindr.
Lately, after discussions with some of my friends aged between 24 and 32, I've gained various interesting insights on this topic.
I still remember four years ago when I first downloaded the app, I was so fascinated with how simple and interactive Tinder was. A user only needs to upload his or her best photos, along with basic information such as age, gender and interests to start the “journey”. These days, Tinder has incorporated more functions to make it easier for users to find potential partners.
“I actually paid for the premium service,” Tuấn Anh, 24, said. “It offers features such as unlimited swiping, unlimited likes, and one boost per month, among other fun stuff."
Tuấn Anh has been on Tinder for a year now and has had several dates so far. Even though they were memorable encounters, he has yet to find his soulmate.
“That being said, I honestly enjoy the feeling of excitement when being able to communicate with other people at ease. It would be harder if it was a face-to-face conversation, considering I’m quite shy as a person,” he said, emphasising that he is able to practise small talk for more meaningful offline settings in the future.
Thảo Trang, 29, another friend of mine, admitted that dating apps enhance her feelings of validation or self-worth.
“I only posted three photos on my profile page, which are not many compared to others. I know it might sound superficial but I felt quite content after receiving a notification of a match on Tinder. It means that someone 'likes' me!” she said.
“Don’t get me wrong! Improving self-esteem is just one of the few reasons that made me appreciate this mobile app. What I love most was being able to find the love of my life here!” she added.
Similar to Thảo Trang, I actually found my soulmate on dating apps. This was very surprising to me as well as refreshing after days of being told that people tend to look for casual sex or one-night stands via these apps.
“To be honest, I have more than once been looking for a casual fling or one-night stand via Tinder and know many male friends that are only in it for the fun,” Tuấn Anh said.
“I used to judge them but considering how these casual meetings can actually lead to something bigger and especially when they come from two consenting users, I found it unnecessary to do so,” he added.
“Tuấn Anh has a point, and to be honest, I don’t judge these apps for changing how we go about our dates and openly view the topic of one-night stands these days. Real experiences, good or bad, are more important as we can take those as lessons to be a better version of ourselves,” Thanh Danh, Tuấn Anh’s friend, said.
Thanh Danh is an optimist, he admitted. However, as he has been able to secure meaningful relationships, similar to mine and Thảo Trang’s, we are confident that trying out these dating apps at least once is a good idea.
I met my current boyfriend on Tinder about four years ago and after chatting on the app for two days straight, we decided to go on a date. Since our hobbies were listed on the profile, it was easy to get to know each other in the first place. And being comfortable talking with each other encouraged us to arrange an offline meet-up.
Meanwhile, Thảo Trang met her boyfriend at a social event before matching with him on Tinder. The dating app created a platform for them to talk to each other with ease.
“I know this might sound cliche, but I felt like what happened between us was destiny. Who would have thought out of some dozen strangers that matched me, I would be able to find the one that I had actually had an eye on,” Thảo Trang said, adding that she doesn’t typically initiate or reply to every message sent to her on dating apps.
Initial encounters on dating apps are generally fun. Nonetheless, it takes a lot of effort from both sides to form a meaningful relationship afterwards.
“We didn’t date right away,” Thanh Danh said. “We were friends from dating apps and spending more time with each other, we decided to become something bigger.”
My friends and I all agreed that having an attractive or sexy look represented via online photos, in spite of how important it may seem, is just a small part of building a long-lasting, intimate relationship in an offline world.
“I swiped right because of how bright she looked, but I have stayed because of how thoughtful and charming she is, even though I have sometimes let her down,” ThanhDanh said, adding that he is trying to be better every day for their “happy ending”.
All of us view dating apps merely as channels to seek love opportunities and agree that there is so much more beyond the idea.
All couples fight to understand each other and to be together. Some may fall out of love during the journey, but at least they created the chance to meet up and create wonderful memories together. VNS