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When it comes to dating in college, it isn’t as easy or attainable as most would initially think. In my experience, a loaded schedule with work and classes, being picky, and a sprinkle of social anxiety make a great recipe for not being able to find one fish here at a school like NYU, in a sea of 55,000+ fish… or in this case, peers.
Luckily, dating sites and apps exist to make the search for the “one” a tad bit easier. Not only has online dating become a dating norm, but to some, like myself, it is a necessity. We’ve all heard of sites like Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Match, Eharmony, etc—but the users of these sites usually belong to an older demographic. Amongst younger adults, particularly college students, Tinder seems to be where it’s at. I am here to tell you guys why Tinder isn’t only the only option.
I’ve been in a very happy and successful relationship for almost a year now. One of the first questions my boyfriend and I encounter from other people frequently is, “Where did you guys meet?” We have always been very honest with our answer, which always seems to elicit a surprising response depending on the person. “We met on OkCupid” I always confidentially respond. A puzzled face often accompanies friends’ responses along the lines of “Isn’t that site super sketchy…I heard it’s just crawling with creeps”. Suffice it to say; no exclamations of encouragement are uttered. So what makes OkCupid any more “sketchy” than Tinder? This is a question I’ve given lots of thought to.
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OkCupid (abbreviated OkC) was founded in 2004, and was initially launched as a dating site. To generate matches, OkC applies data generated by users’ activities on the site, as well as their answers to questions ranging from “Do you want your partner to be kinkier than you?” to “Which superpower would you rather have?” When answering a question, a user indicates their own answer, the answers he or she would accept from partners, and the level of importance he or she places on the question. The answers to these questions can be made public by the user’s discretion—which makes the compatibility percentage and personality traits they formulate for each match more believable and reliable. I’ve found that if a person answers a question with a response that catches me off guard, but otherwise displays compatibility, asking them to elaborate on their answer is great conversation starter.
I’ve found that millennials are so apprehensive when it comes to letting anyone know that we crave anything deeper than the ephemeral. Why is it frowned upon to casually mention to your peers that you’ve been talking to a really nice guy or gal you met on OkC, and are currently in the process of planning a meet up for a bite to eat later on in the week? Yet it seems cooler or easier to say something like, “I’m talking to a dude on Tinder that asked me what my favorite sex position is. What a creep, right?” I have seen time and time again that people are less likely to throw shade at the latter. Apparently being a social and sexual deviant is the normal thing.
What it really comes down to is that OkC is more geared towards committed and long term dating in comparison to Tinder, which warrants quicker hookups. People aren’t baffled by the concept of OkC, but rather by the fact that OkC can lead to a serious relationship. And you know what that means… you’ll become one of those people who are on the receiving end of the puzzled looks.
But for those of you sticking to your guns that still believe OkC is nothing but an online pit compiled of creeps, catfish, and doubt, here are some tips I’ve gathered from my experience, and from commentary of fellow users (both men and women). Hopefully, these tips, along with persistence and a little trial and error, can help one navigate through the unfamiliar, less “acceptable”, terrain of OkCupid.