Talk Tinder to me

A friend of mine turned 21 two years ago. She invited a large swath of her friends to a local restaurant for dinner and drinks.

One of her friends comes in 20 minutes late, says hello and sits down next to me.

Not another word was spoken from him for the rest of the dinner.

Why? Because he was running three conversations with three different men on Grindr, one of which was in the same restaurant.

For the uninformed, Grindr is the self-proclaimed “world’s largest gay social networking app.” Tinder will pinpoint someone within a mile’s radius. Grindr can tell if the guy four tables over is single and ready to mingle.

Online dating is, well, different. To anyone who’s considering entering into the world of online dating: I advise you to proceed with utmost caution.

Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Grindr, they’re all incredibly weird and addictive places that can override the natural progression of a human relationship.

That’s not to say dating apps are inherently bad tools.

As a socially-stunted homeschooled person, it’s not easy breaking into the dating scene. Having the ability to lay groundwork and/or catch red flags before the first date is incredibly helpful.

Digitized dating can be fun, but never make the mistake of letting online flirtatiousness override reality. This might sound like an old fart shouting, “Kids and their phones are the downfall of society,” but there is a smidge of truth to that cliche.

Therein lies the biggest pitfall of online dating: when it’s going well, it’s hard to stop.

Finding a cutie who’s mutually interested in your patootie is fun. But in my experience, it leads to skipping several important steps.

Three nights of conversations on Tinder can equate to several weeks worth of face-to-face conversations. By fast-tracking past those initial awkward meetings, the online attraction can give a false sense of security.

Sure, they said they dig that book series you like over OkCupid, but in-person conversations can reveal red flags far more efficiently than online.

Verbal communication comes without the ability to delete a risky text message.

One moment you could be discussing “Game of Thrones,” the next you discover they have a fundamental problem with Peter Dinklage because he has dwarfism.

Swipe away if you enjoy the process. Just remember, there’s a world outside the flirty emojis and awkward sexting.