6 Tinder Love Stories to Prove That Tinder Isn't Just For Sex
The Debrief: Tinder founder Justin Mateen claims Tinder was 'never meant to be a dating platform.' These six people may just prove him right...
Illustration by Marylou Faure
It has started to feel as though you’re never more than six feet away from a Tinder date. They’re out there filling bars, pubs and bowling alleys with laughing, snogging and fist pumps for the fortunate, and face melting awkwardness and deep regret for the not so.
The first thing that springs to mind when Tinder is mentioned isn’t soul-enhancing friendship, but more like potentially ill-advised bonking with murky prospects of any further contact. So it’s surprising to hear Tinder founder Justin Mateen say they ‘never intended it to be a dating platform’ but rather a tool for ‘social discovery’ along with estimations that only 6% of users see it as a hook-up app.
Slightly dubious figures aside, I spoke to some real-life Tinder friends to see how they (almost) seamlessly leapt from dates to pretty great mates.
Tinder love story: The friends
Cordelia, 26 and Eliot, 28 met on Tinder over a year ago and recently celebrated their friendship anniversary with a trip up The Shard.
Tell me about your first date, were you expecting to fancy each other?
C: No, you never expect to fully fancy someone from Tinder, that’s what makes it unnerving.
E: We made up a code word in case I was an axe murderer.
C: Oh yeah!
C: So we went to the pub and got pretty drunk. We weren’t immediately comfortable because we were still trying to figure each other out.
E: It became easy quickly though, we laughed loads.
Was there any snogging?
C: There was a hug and a linger, I maintain Elliot wanted to snog.
E: I maintain that I definitely didn’t.
C: Oh my god, you were repulsed!
E: No, but the vibe at the end was the most unromantic thing that’s ever happened.
When did it become obvious it was just friends?
C: I did a test where I went over to his house hungover and brought a pizza.
The age-old manufactured snog scenario, how did that go?
C: We literally just watched the film and ate the pizza.
E: Yeah, but on the one year mark of our first date, I thought we should do something. It’s funny that nothing has ever happened between us. So I took her up The Shard for a friend date – which is so much better.
C: A hamper featured and we talked about the glorious things we’ve done for each other.
E: Yeah, we did some quite deep mulling over of the whole situation.
What emerged during that reflection period?
C: We were lucky to meet through whatever means. It’s weird to meet someone and get on so well from nothing. Just from judging each other’s faces, we’ve got this great friendship.
E: I would say all of the above, she really integrated me into her social life. I’ve met a lot of great people through her, including my current housemate. My life would have been so different.
Hurrah for swiping right! Considering your success story, would you use an app that was made for finding friendship, like Wiith?
E: Yeah, maybe if it was an activities app, like someone to go to a museum or gig with. I wouldn’t just meet up with a guy hunting friends... in a bar.
C: Yeah, that’s some grindr shit.
Tinder Love Story: The housemates
Anna*, 22 and Ben*, 23 met on Tinder almost nine months ago and now live together in Barcelona.
What was your first date like?
A: We arranged to meet along with my brother and sister.
B: We had few friends in Barcelona, we’d just moved there, so it was always meant to be a friendship thing rather than a date.
Was there a romantic vibe?
A: Not on our first meet, there was on our second. He and my sister arrived in Barcelona within a week of each other and were both unemployed so met up to go sight-seeing.
B: In between our first and second meet there was some flirtatious messaging and we ended up hooking up.
Do you still have those messages?
A: No I deleted him, we had an extremely flirtatious conversation and it didn’t apply to us any more.
B: Yeah, we became friends, not just people who met on Tinder.
When did it become clear it was just friends?
A: Neither of us wanted a relationship, I was in break-up mode and he was in a new city wanting to have fun.
B: The priority was always friendship.
Was that mutual?
A: I think so. I sporadically came onto him when drunk. He was wise in preventing anything more happening or we wouldn’t be friends now.
How long did it take to go from date to housemate?
A: We met in October and moved in in May.
What are you to each other now?
A: He is one of my closest friends in Barcelona and I’m grateful to have met him.
B: And the story of how we met is pretty funny!
Tinder Love Story: The online friends
Eloise* 29 and Benji* 31 started speaking on Tinder in August 2013 and have yet to meet IRL.
How did you first start talking on Tinder?
E: I’d been on Tinder for a couple of months so was treating it like a game.
B: Yeah, by this point I saw it as a bit of fun, somewhere to say and be whatever you wanted.
Why have you never been on a date?
E: Well, we arranged to meet almost weekly for about four months with one of us bailing each time, mainly him. We’ve been at three of the same gigs, been on the same flight and sat next to each other in a restaurant, but always just texted about it after. We’ve spoken on the phone drunkenly at 3am, but I wasn’t really down for the booty call vibe.
Benji, what’s all that about?
B: I think I was just pretty scared. Our messages went from casual to seriously sexual quite quickly. I’d kind of built her up as this fantasy in my head and told myself I didn’t want to ruin that. I’d never been that graphic with anyone, not even a girlfriend.
Is the subtext of that actually that you’d presented yourself as a lothario with the key to nirvana and then when push came to shove you totally lost your nerve?
B: Haha yeah… I was scared, she thought I was this person, but I’m not necessarily that person all the time.
When did it become clear that you were just friends?
E: When I started seeing someone, the sexting stopped. We carried on texting, which initially felt odd, but I suppose after two years it had become habit. There was a ‘we missed the boat’ conversation, which was pretty laughable given that we’d had so long to go on a date. Becoming friends sort of happened without realising. I remember him asking me where he should take a girl on a date and thinking this is really bizarre now.
B: It isn’t that weird given the relationship is a pretty hard one to define – especially now.
How do you both feel about it now?
E: It’s a shame we didn’t meet. We get on well, we chat for hours, but I reckon meeting had become a big deal, there’d be so much to live up to.
B: It’s confusing because sometimes it feels like we are ‘proper’ mates, like we know everything about each other. I find myself thinking, ‘I wonder how she’s doing’ as you would with an old friend you haven’t seen in ages.
E: We make jokes about never having met – like this interview having to be over Facebook because I went ‘We’d have to be interviewed together’ and he went ‘Well, we can’t bloody have that can we?!’
Like this? Then you might also be interested:
Follow Ianthe on Twitter @iantheiolanthe
Illustration by Marylou Faure
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating