But, given the myriad ways we connect and know one another, online dating isn't so anonymous after all. And, it seems, people are getting used to that. The remark was facetious, but 25 years later, where social media allows you to connect—in any number of above-board and illicit ways—with people quite literally across the globe in the remote corners, you really are bound to run into your ex in the web of online dating and apps in a region as relatively miniscule as New York City.
A few months ago, I was swiping through my batch of potential matches on various dating apps. All was good as I swiped through until I recognized one of the faces popping up on my phone was a colleague standing merely feet away.
My phone suddenly felt like a grenade that was about to explode. Before even fully processing all of the potential implications —Had he already seen me? Was this somehow an HR issue? Should I tell him his first photo kind of makes him look like a d-bag? I quickly cast away my phone, screen downward. A year-old gay man in my building said he was going through Grindr when he recognized another guy who worked for his company.
Still, he appears to have handled it with more aplomb than I did. Grindr shows your range of potential matches in a geographical region, which the user sets, and you can also bar users from seeing you, explained a Grindr press representative.
Cheat Sheet A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know and nothing you don't. You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason. Asking someone out via Tinder or OkCupid or JDate may still carry lower embarrassment risks than asking someone out in person, but anonymity in online dating is dead, or at least dying. With dating apps, swiping right is almost universally the way to approve of a potential match that flashes across your phone.
You swipe left to reject the potential match. OkCupid agreed that this is a potential problem. The second will give the user an option of using a connected Facebook account to block any of their friends that are also on OkCupid. The interviews for this article reveal an evolving set of social norms and protocol for seeing familiar faces on Tinder, Grindr, and the like—even if everyone has his or her own regulations and rationale.
He has been relatively unperturbed by encountering professional contacts on his dating apps of choice. The night took a questionably unprofessional turn, though it would be hard to blame Tinder for that. Old classmates are their own category of potential awkwardness or delights. Wudan, a year-old in New York, said she tends to swipe left on Tinder when she sees someone she knows. This rule has not spared her from uncomfortable encounters. I swiped right pretty fast.
Did you swipe on me, too? Her experience has been that people swipe right if they know each other. Miriam, a year-old in New York, said she used to always swipe right on people she knew to see if they liked her back until she realized her curiosity had consequence. She said these familial faces are by no means the most painful. For her, running into exes or people she is currently dating, but not yet exclusive with, on these sites has been the most emotionally fraught.
Seeing them is proof that they are not living a life of self-imposed mournful chastity—as I assume all of us hope our exes do. However, on the plus side, if you match on one of the location-based apps, you suddenly have a primitive GPS on his or her whereabouts. I have witnessed this tracking feature in action via a JSwipe match. It is, perhaps, one of the more extreme examples of how much we can keep tabs on our fellow lonely hearts. It is also evidence of how online dating apps and sites have made our private lives quite public and easy to monitor.
With not only so many users, but so many people willing to admit they use these dating tools, the safe privacy bought by contact via computer and phone, rather than in-person interactions, has also faded. The Big Apple dating scene gets a lot smaller when you start setting parameters. There are the obvious geographic ones, but you can also set for age or height.
If you and your female friends all like guys ages 27 to 35 who are over 5' 10," you just narrowed the pool. Now, you and your friends are splashing around in it and coming across the same potential of matches.
I matched with him first on OkCupid. A few months later, she matched with him on Hinge, and I recognized him. But is the end of dating anonymity something to fret about? Without anonymity, we are more vulnerable, but it may not be bad to be more open.
He is completely unperturbed by these encounters and shrugs off any concerns about the death of online dating anonymity.