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From Tinder to Bumble and Beyond: What I Learned From Dabbling in Dating Algorithms and the App World

From Tinder to Bumble and Beyond: What I Learned From Dabbling in Dating Algorithms and the App World

  • I was curious about entrusting a life-changing decision to algorithms and clicks to find the best matrimonial match.

“Did you know he’s already married with two kids?”

“What? No way!”

“Yeah, he’s a distant relative of mine. His profile is real, but he pretends to be single.”

This conversation was a distraction, a smoking break of sorts, after a brainstorming session for an advertisement campaign. And what followed was a barrage of scam stories about looking for a partner on a dating apps and matrimonial groups.

The Pandora’s box of Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Muzz App, Dil ka Rishta App, the Facebook group Two Rings, and everything that was good and bad about them.

Let’s get down to them one at a time. But first, this pressure of finding a partner so bad that you’ve handed the decision to an app? Man, this app generation!

One would wonder that the parents know the BEST of and for their children. Wrong, those decisions have proved to be wrong time and again. So, it wasn’t until nearly 15 years back when children began to take lives into their own hands, hoping that they know themselves much better. Wrong, those decisions have also proved to be wrong many a time.

Since, everything is being taken care of by the AI, let’s allow the algorithms to make this dodgy, akin-to-gamble decision. It really is a gamble.

Now, coming to the apps. For those like me who have been clueless about how an app can be trusted enough to make a life-changing decision for you, let’s dive further.

The App World

Is it the Gen-Z only? One would think so. Wrong. The app generation is a whole lot of people who have become dependent on the apps for everything – for their entertainment, partner-finding, medicine reminders, note taking, and every minute task of their daily lives.

In today’s app-driven world, you can be reminded to take your vitamins, all without leaving your couch. Forgot to water your plants? Forgot to take a glass of water? There’s an app to remind you to stay hydrated. Don’t worry, there’s an app to nag you about that too. Need a new show to binge-watch? Your streaming service knows you better than your own mother and has already lined up ten series based on your questionable late-night choices.

The app generation has outsourced every aspect of their lives to digital taskmasters, ensuring that even their bathroom breaks are optimized and scheduled. Who needs personal responsibility when your phone can do it for you? Why bother remembering your anniversary when an app will send flowers with a pre-written heartfelt message? Can true love blossom if an algorithm writes your wedding vows? And when was the last time anyone did something spontaneous without consulting their phone first?

Has the digital world made us more spontaneous with every click, or more calculated with algorithms? Something to ponder.

On one hand, the instant access to information and opportunities encourages us to make quick decisions and embrace new experiences. On the other hand, the algorithms behind our screens meticulously curate our choices, steering us towards predetermined paths and predictable behaviors.

Are we truly living in the moment, or simply following a digital script?

Delving into the Dating Algorithm

While I don’t have a problem with the mundane, mechanical tasks of lives being delegated, I was curious about entrusting a life-changing decision to algorithms and clicks to find the best matrimonial match.

Just talking about it is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. In the quest for the perfect matrimonial match for Pakistanis and Muslims, I decided to dive into the digital dating pool, exploring everything from Tinder and Bumble to Muzz App, Dil ka Rishta App, and even the Facebook group Two Rings. Spoiler alert: it’s been a mix of hilarity and headaches.

Tinder and Bumble, the usual suspects, offer an endless stream of profiles where the art of swiping left and right has been perfected to a T. Sure, the instant gratification of a match feels great, but the fleeting conversations often leave you wondering if there’s more to life than witty one-liners and emojis.

The Muzz App, catering specifically to Muslims across the world, especially with their recent digital campaign, promises a more tailored approach. Yet, it’s hard not to laugh at the irony when you find profiles of people you already know from your local gym, complete with their best “I’m-a-serious-contender-for-marriage” photos. Talk about a small world!

Dil ka Rishta App and Two Rings bring a different flavor to the mix. Dil ka Rishta App, with its earnest attempts at matchmaking, feels like having your overly enthusiastic aunt trying to set you up, but with less guilt and more glitches. Meanwhile, Two Rings on Facebook offers a community-driven approach, where the blend of heartwarming success stories and cringe-worthy introductions is enough to keep anyone entertained.

Not just an App, Though

It is important to note that I am not here for app-bashing. One might actually find someone who shares your grandmother’s obsession with chai. However, your entire social circle might be privy to your dating escapades. So, are these algorithms the answer to finding true love, or just another digital distraction? The jury’s still out, and I’m swiping with cautious optimism.

Sumaiya Shafi, a work colleague, 34, tried to dive into the dating pool, hoping these apps would be an answer to the pressure of getting married. Exploring left and right, she gave up. Not because she wasn’t interested. But because she had major doubts about the authenticity people brought with themselves. “A lot of men come across as extremely eligible digitally, however once you meet them at a public place, I feel like it is such a futile effort to go through this whole thing. Yes, there are no interfering aunties involved in this process and the method of finding a partner is more acceptable, but I believe it isn’t working for me.”

Another girl, who wishes to remain anonymous, 30, added to the conversation, “I once met a guy on Bumble, who seemed like a decent boy through his profile. We decided to go for a drive. You can call it a first date. This soon turned into an indecent request, a sexual escapade of sorts, which I clearly refused. The date ended on a somewhat questionable note, and I felt extremely lost. Because I actually thought that these apps would be a much better way of finding a genuine partner. Especially when I was absolutely frustrated with the traditional way.”

A girl from Lahore, who also wishes to remain anonymous, in her early thirties, was absolutely traumatized. “I met this guy on Muzz App, and we did actually get along and began talking. However, I realized that he was a red flag. Sometimes, he would ask for pre-wedding gifts. I felt let down. However, I felt like these were petty things to break a relationship over. Anyway, the engagement date was fixed between our families. On the day of the engagement, he turned off his phone and never turned up. So, it is not just the men who are scamming. Entire families are part of this nightmare-ish process.”

However, it is all about one’s unique experiences. Maria and Hunain, a couple who met through Muzz App, began speaking once they matched. After speaking for nearly two months, they liked each other and decided to get married. Just like that. And this was it for them. “I realize it sounds too good to be true, but it really did happen. I did find my soul mate through Muzz App, and I can safely say that it did work for us. While it may not be the same case for us, and this may sound like it was a quick decision but it has been two years to the marriage now. And we are really happy together.”

Women are Part of the Problem

“I met this really decent guy who had broken up a few years back. Educated, learned, decent-looking match. However, something just didn’t click. I am not sure if I was looking for fireworks and sparks. But just because I like 3 qualities in a person, I cannot base my life-changing decision on them, knowing I will have to deal with the whole package.”

Bilal, 34, from Karachi, who has a good job and a fairly good-looking boy signed up for the same after futile efforts of finding the right partner through aunts and the social circle. “I was hoping this would genuinely work, you know. But honestly, I haven’t really found a girl who is serious enough to get to the marriage decision. While I realize these aren’t supposed to be hasty decisions, but I am genuinely out there to invest emotionally in a relationship. But it seems like women aren’t ready to commit. Perhaps, it is their previous experiences, perhaps it is this generation’s problem facing serious commitment issues. But I tell you, women are also part of the problem.”

Is This the Right Direction?

See Also

In contemporary society, many refrain from committing to relationships, citing a lack of purpose. The notion that there are plenty to choose from has been reinforced by the accessibility of such dating apps. This ease of choice has led to the commodification of human connections, akin to ordering a dish of Pad Thai. Consequently, social media has reshaped perceptions of relationships, with the concept of “greatness” being interchangeable and the pursuit of perfection seeming futile. Intimacy is often reduced to the exchange of emojis, while minimal gestures like sending a “good morning” text are deemed as sufficient effort. The prevailing sentiment is that romance has become obsolete, overshadowed by digital distractions. Yet, perhaps romance in today’s world lies in moments of genuine connection, such as sharing meaningful eye contact during a meal or choosing to delete dating apps after a promising encounter. Romance may still exist; it simply manifests differently in the modern era.

When we make choices, do we truly commit, or do we keep one eye wandering at the options? It’s like wanting a juicy filet mignon but being distracted by the lackluster buffet. Are our choices suffocating us? We’re led to believe that having more options is better, but does it leave us feeling empty? We’re always seeking more, but do we truly appreciate what’s right in front of us, longing for something we’re not even sure exists? We’re chasing thrills and instant gratification, running on a treadmill in search of purpose. But happiness isn’t a destination; it’s a journey. It’s about consistent growth and handling life’s challenges with maturity. Happiness isn’t found in external factors; it’s a mindset cultivated from within.

So, here’s the thing: we’re experts at finding distractions. I mean, why confront those inner demons when we can just scroll through Instagram or binge-watch Netflix, right? It’s easier to bail than to stick it out, especially when things get tough. And let’s be real, we’ve got options galore. Want to jet off to France? Sure, just open a new tab, swipe your Visa, and boom, you’re there (well, in theory at least). But hey, even if we can’t afford it, we still know it’s an option. And don’t even get me started on Instagram – it’s like a highlight reel of everyone else’s seemingly perfect lives, making ours feel downright mundane. No wonder we’re left feeling miserable and dissatisfied, constantly bombarded with images of what we’re not doing, where we’re not going, and who we’re not dating. It’s like a never-ending cycle of FOMO-induced despair. But maybe, just maybe, if we learned to appreciate what we have instead of fixating on what we don’t, we might find a little slice of happiness in this crazy, chaotic world.

Having said that, my question still stands tall and proud: are we really looking for PERFECT match? Are these apps going to help us find perfection? Isn’t this, again, all about dealing with 8 goods and 2 bads, whether it is via through the apps or the traditional method of finding partners (through parents, social circle, and genuinely knowing each other)?

Then why must we rely on them? When the output is still the same, regardless of how authentic, and genuine your input (profile) is.

Is this merely a vicious circle?

Or just an internal satisfaction of rejecting or accepting someone that is not a decision of the parents?

Or can we just call marriage what it really is: a gamble.


Well, grab a seat and let’s chat about this whole ‘not being single’ thing. You see, it’s not just about sitting pretty and waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to come knocking on your door. No, you must put in some elbow grease, my friend. Take the plunge, be the brave soul who initiates that text or call. And for heaven’s sake, let’s leave those silly mind games back in the playground, shall we?

Now, here’s a novel idea: ask that person out! Crazy, right? Compromise a bit, be patient, and hey, maybe get to know them beyond just the surface. But hold up, I sense some hesitation. Could it be that you’re holding out for some flawless fantasy, refusing to accept that imperfections are part of the package deal? Ah, expectations of grandeur without breaking a sweat, classic move!

Let me drop a truth bomb: opportunities with the right person don’t exactly grow on trees. So, make each encounter count! Leave them pondering “what if?” and “should I?” long after you’ve left the room. And when lightning strikes, don’t mess it up! Life’s too short for missed chances and regretful what-ifs.

Now, let’s get real here. Life’s a rollercoaster, and it’s more fun with a partner in crime. Find someone who’ll laugh at your jokes, hold your hand through the tough stuff, and never judge your questionable dance moves. Make them your ride-or-die, your rock, your confidant. And remember, when you find that special someone, don’t mess it up! It’s #AllOrNothing, baby!

(Courtesy photo by Tiny Tribes on Unsplash)

Sara Danial is the Head of Content at a communications agency.

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The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
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