Unless you have been living on Mars, you’ll know that dating apps have completely revolutionised the way in which we try to meet our significant other. The global pandemic thrown upon us in 2020, saw a serious boom in their usage. The most downloadable app in the world, Tinder, managed to tally up 3 billion swipes in just a single day during March 2020, and it has continued to break that record over 100 times since.
But as helpful as these apps can be at helping us connect with others, they come with some fairly serious downfalls, some more obvious than others, and I’m talking from experience here.
Recently, I met somebody through the dating app Hinge, who unfortunately was not the person they made out to be, and the way in how he mis-represented himself was quite bone-chillingly well put together. Now, I’m a 31-year-old single female who lives on my own and I look after myself, by myself. I live life on my own terms, and I choose who I let into my world. I took all the right precautions when I decided to get to know this individual and did everything by the book, yet he still managed to fool me and everyone else around me with it. But it seems I’m not alone in this experience. It has been known to happen to thousands of women across the world. A 2015 survey states that out of 1,282 active Tinder users, nearly 30% of users were married, while another 12% were in a relationship. Unsurprisingly, it is the anonymity of online dating/apps that has been beneficial to many married men who find the lure of adultery exciting.
Unfortunately, in the arena of online dating, we cannot afford to be naïve anymore. To be able to enjoy dating we need to be smarter and more open minded in how we go about things. We owe it to ourselves here. Which is why signing up to a professional and more personal dating agency is a far safer and more reassuring way to go about finding the one. Initially, the virtual dating world was created for the purpose of young professionals who were too busy to go out and find the one in social situations. Dating apps were marketed towards these individuals who were looking for long-term relationships. But as time has moved on, instead of offering real human connection with a single swipe, some, will argue that dating apps are simply turning up the dial on hook-up culture, and hetero women and men are once again left to work out the mental gymnastics to convince themselves that this is good.
The dating app world also makes it easier for people to lie or give false impressions of themselves. Furthermore, the algorithms used to determine matches are not always based on good data as the input, and by that is the ‘real’ person. People do not always have a good insight into themselves and some intentionally mis-portray themselves, which brings me back to the wonderful world of agencies and the advantages they hold over the likes of Hinge, Tinder and Bumble.
I only really knew how dating agencies work once I applied to work for one. I joined Project 143 (a matchmaking agency catering to Asian professionals). One of the biggest differences between a dating agency and a dating app is that agencies actively headhunt every member, with all individuals undergoing consultations and a proper vetting process before they are even taken on to join the membership. Singles have the reassurance that people are who they say they are, and are really looking for genuine, long-term relationships. Not only that, but some agencies, like Project 143, have a team of experts with a list of accolades to help singles on a very personal level, guiding and supporting them along the way. This includes services such as check ins, dating tips, styling advice, photoshoots, coaching sessions as well as date concierge – setting them up on safe and secure dates, in well-established locations.
So when it comes to finding the one, if you are serious and genuine about applying yourself to the process, take the time to really think about the platforms you use in order to find yourself that person, as not only do the stats state the facts, but my personal experience of falling victim to a very well-played fraud, show how wrong it really can go when putting your trust and your future into the hands of the algorithms and game playing of a stranger. I know for sure Project 143 mean what they say with their very own motto ‘no algorithms, no games’.
By Frances B Shillito