Do We Even Need Dating Apps Anymore?

Do We Even Need Dating Apps Anymore?

On the Bumble redesign and redefining our relationships with dating apps
triptych of images of the bumble dating app pulled up on a mobile phone

By Team SG | Last Updated: May 3 2024 | 6 min read

Team SG’s Taylor Davies and Megan Collins dive into Bumble’s recent redesign and discuss how to have a healthier relationship with the modern tools of social engagement.

TD: l want to talk about the Bumble redesign.

MC: Oh I saw something about that. Go onnnnn.

triptych of images of the bumble dating app pulled up on a mobile phone
image: Bumble

TD: …And a re-do of their algorithm. I think you can literally send a pre-fab message with your matches. Zero effort. Autopilot vibes.

MC: Is this, to you, a good thing?

TD: I think absolutely not.

MC: Say more.

TD: To me, it’s further proof that the tool is broken. Like, I really understand that sending yet another personalized message to some bozo who will never respond and just delete the match is soul-crushing after a point. BUT. I don’t think that robo-messaging is the solution! Because the person receiving the auto-send message is going to know really soon that it was a message sent with zero thought. And who wants that??? But let me read a bit more.

MC: I hear what you’re saying. It’s very “The bar is in hell.”

TD: I keep thinking of that meme that’s like, “The people who got into a relationship two years ago got the last chopper out of ‘Nam,” or whatever. You know what I’m talking about.

dating meme
image: @lolennui on X / Style Girlfriend

MC: lol I do not, but I’m picking up what you’re putting down.

TD: Ahhh okay so I was a little off. The woman writes her little opening messages herself and then can auto-send them to her matches. OR she can choose a pre-written one.

So let me revise my thesis to say, dating apps are doing everything they can to keep us addicted and it’s not working anymore because we don’t need them. Like, all of these updates are not REALLY in service of the users. They are in service of keeping the users on the app to keep the money coming in, and daters would do well to always remember that. A helpful tool, yes, at times, but you are a data point to them, not a person.

MC: Why is it you think there’s just now this growing backlash? Is it a post-covid thing? Are folks itching to get back ‘out there?’ Or is it that we sort of see through the lie that we need to rely on technology for lo-o-o-v-e the same way we rely on it to have takeout delivered to our front door?

TD: I think it’s all of that plus the “dating app fatigue” of it all. Like, the bloom has come off the rose. Everyone knows that we are all, to put it inelegantly but accurately, swiping from the bathroom, the same way we are mindlessly on Instagram and Tiktok. I feel that the tide is turning, and people are coming back around to being more vulnerable in public, like we had to be before apps existed.

MC: But are we too far gone? Are our irl socializing muscles irreparably weakened?

TD: Approaching someone at a bar or a concert, etc.

MC: Right. Is this a temporary break or a breakup?

TD: Hmm. I think dating apps are like social media. A fundamental addition to how we interact with other humans that will probably never go away entirely.

MC: Addition or addiction?

TD: Oh snap. Silent… or silenced?! Lol it’s both!! I am for sure in a forever push and pull between optimism and pessimism about these “tools.”

MC: Exactly.

TD: Not to sound smug, but I feel like I have a great relationship with Instagram. I treat it like a scrapbook, and I find it deeply enjoyable to see what other people are up to, even if I’m jealous. The voyeurism outweighs the threat of feeling like I’m not doing the coolest or best thing at that time.

MC: You actually post, which I don’t really do, but you don’t let it take you out of the moment.

TD: #blessed

MC: I’m always amazed when I see you snap a picture when we’re out and then y’know, seven hours later you post it and it’s this charming shot of a basket of fries or a tree or whatever. It seems very healthy.

TD: hahahaha yeah! I love to remember what I’ve done and where I’ve been, and my actual memory is… terrible. BUT I say all this to say, after using dating apps pretty much non-stop for a decade, I don’t feel that way about Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, The League, Grouper, Thursdays, et al. I have used them all!! And I felt the toll of their functionality so acutely.

So, I think from a business perspective, it’s smart for Bumble to evolve, they need to!

MC: Engage in self-disruption before someone comes along to disrupt you.

TD: But the fundamental act of looking for love on your phone is still, I think, feeling really bleak to most people, and near-impossible. And while as a woman I feel inclined to say WE feel this much more, I really do think it’s affecting men in a huge way, too.

MC: Men take a little longer to get in touch with their feelings. Not to reference another meme, but it’s like that guy looking at the butterfly.

TD: hahahhaaha yes.

MC: “Is this…existential dread?”

TD: “Is this….crippling loneliness?”

MC: “Is this… ennui brought on by lack of companionship?

TD: I suppose the best mindset for daters is: Use the tools, but try not to let them use you. Plus, it’s shoot your shot season! Warm weather, concerts, events, rooftop parties, picnics, trips. Do the things where you meet people. This is my best advice from someone who is currently very smug having met a nice man at a rooftop party last summer, but who was chronically single for 13.5 years in New York City and therefore can speak on this until the end of time due to blood/sweat/tears of sacrifice offered.

MC: I like that you’ve called yourself smug twice now. We stan a self-aware queen.

TD: LOL I am afraid of being unsmug at any moment. I don’t want to get back in the dating pool ever again, but if I have to, I WILL need you to show me this conversation.

More Dating + Relationship Stories from SG HQ:

How to Have a Great First Date

How Not to Raise “Beige Flags” in a Relationship

5 Tips for Dating with Confidence

Dating Sober? Here’s How to Navigate It

From the collective hive mind of the team at Style Girlfriend.