In defence of using dating apps to network rather than date

Being a single gal in ol' London town, I am obviously on a dating app. However, it's no secret that I hate dating. The awkward chatter between two complete strangers, both eyeing each other up and questioning each and every interaction - each little giggle, glance, or brush of the arm - within an inch of its life. Ew. It's weird.

So why the F am I on dating apps then, I hear you ask. Well, OBVIOUSLY, the end goal is to meet 'that guy', but in the meantime, I just like the idea of getting a snapshot into some random people's lives that I otherwise would not have met. Is that odd? Are you judging my intentions? WAIT, let me explain...

We're on dating apps because we haven't met that special someone in our daily lives, right? Colleagues, existing friends, friends of friends; they're all very similar or they have something we just do not want in a partner (or there is some unrequited love shit going on, but let's not get into that). On a dating app, there are thousands of people at your fingertips. No pressure, no expectations, no anything. You dip in, and you dip out. You chat, or you don't chat. You literally have no obligations to this person, and they have none to you. You get half an hour/45 minutes/a day's snippet of a total stranger's life and, with it, a totally different perspective. It's like a constant rolling documentary told through words. For someone who is inquisitive and intrigued by human psychology and sociology (read: really f-ing nosy), I relish it.

Obvs, you get the absolute weirdos who are straight in with their intentions (yes mate, OF COURSE I'm going to invite you to my flat within 15 minutes of talking to you  *rolls eyes*), the weirdest chat-up lines ("I once had a guy tell a riddle about a parrot and a bucket that went on for AN AGE," one of my friends told me) and the ones with absolutely ZERO chat, but every so often, you'll actually have some decent conversations.

With most of the guys I've chatted to, we had a really good conversation about homelessness/bread/music/the Kardashians. Some of them changed my perspective on things, others offered a peek into a daily life I know nothing about. Again, with most, I've never spoken to them again. No fizzling out; just the documentary had ended.

A friend told me how she once swiped right on a mannequin: "it was dressed as a British soldier and when I asked how his day was, he replied it was okay; he'd just been staring out the window all day, stuff like that." For the serious dater, this would be a waste of time, but personally, I think that's hilarious.

Of course, there is the question of leading people on. If I continue to chat, does that mean I'm giving false hope to men I have no intention of meeting? Maybe, maybe not. I think it depends on the guy. I won't be outrageously flirty if I know I'm not going to meet them, but then the fact we're chatting on a dating app could seem like a clear indicator. Personally, for me, if they have an issue, there's the block button, there's the unmatch button, and I'm okay with that. 

There are actual 'swipe to make new friends' apps, and Bumble actually has a Bumble BFF section, too, but it really isn't that well-known. At the end of the day, there are less interesting people to chose from on those. Don't get me wrong; I love my friends and my life is filled with an array of stimulating people, but isn't it nice to just chat to a stranger sometimes, without an agenda or forward plan? It's just a bonus if you continue talking to them after day one, if they slide into your WhatsApp, into your calendar, and into your life.