I have a confession: I'm a Tinder-tease. I swipe, swipe, swipe, match, swipe, swipe, swipe, match, and then, when all the dust settles, I never even send a message. Sometimes one of the women will take the initiative and message me first. Sometimes I'll respond and sometimes, well, I won't. A woman once opened with, "Hey Jeff, you look sportytell me something clever to say at my Super Bowl party on Sunday please." This was a pretty great opening. Flirty, flattering, cheeky, and it gave a conversational hook.
My reaction? I ignored it. Ten days later she followed up with, "And the point of being on Tinder if you don't interact with girls you match with is...?"View more
Write back? Ain't got time for that.
I never wrote her back. And I've felt guilty about this for months. I understand the frustration: My behavior makes no sense. It's dumb. It's rude. I'm not intending to be a teaseI'm notbut it's the equivalent of making heavy eye contact at a bar, approaching the woman, standing next to her...and then just awkwardly standing in silence.
Women deserve an explanation. This is that explanation. The seven reasons guys don't message you after matching:
1. There's too much "expository dialogue."
Where are you from? How long have you lived in New York? What do you do? [SHOOTS SELF.] This is a structural problem with Tinder: Because there's no written profile, we're doomed to cover the basics again and again. This is tedious. It's easy to roll our eyes at the stodgier dating sites like OkCupid, but they do have one concrete benefit: economies of scale. You cover the backstory once, get it out of the way, then you never have to repeat yourself. Yes, it's certainly possible to elevate the banter, but that brings us to the next issue
2. The flirting is "on spec."
Men are ready to meet women right away, but most women need some back-and-forth. I can't blame them. Somewhere between 10 percent and 95 percent of all men are creepy and should be avoided. This means that the Tinder chitchat is an audition, of sorts, to see if men have wit. We're doing it on speculation, hoping that we'll pass the audition and meet in person. No one likes auditions.
3. It feels like a waste of time.
Once we start messaging, there are three possible scenarios: (1) We could meet and go out. (2) We fail that audition. (3) The woman never really wanted to go out in the first place but sort of messes around on Tinder for fun. (This last category is the female equivalent of what I'm doingwe should date.) Because No. 2 and No. 3 are a very real possibility, this introduces an element of risk: The whole enterprise could be a waste of time. Ironically, both genders are motivated by the same factornot wasting timebut we do it in reverse. To overgeneralize, women think: Why waste my time meeting in person if I'm not into his personality? (Then Tinder-messaging is used to help screen for personality.) And men think: *Why waste my time Tinder-messaging if I'm not going to meet her in person? *4. We lie.
So why do I swipe at all? Because I lie to myself. Subconsciously, every time I Swipe Right, I tell myself that soon, eventually, when I get around to it, of course I'll message this woman and see where it goes. But then I get lazy and forget. (It's easier to buy a pass to the gym than it is to go to the gym.) My intentions are solid. My follow-through is shit.
5. We have "Swipe Goggles."
Key clarification: This is not to say that I'm not attracted to most of my Matches. I am. But have you ever seen a guy use Tinder, I mean really use Tinder, when he lets his guard down/is drunk/just broke up with someone? Like! Like! Like! Like! Like! No looking at photo #2. No reading the short bio. Like! Like! Like! Like! Mistakes are made.
6. We fear mutual friends.
This is one by-product of Swipe Goggles. Because we're blasting through the queue, sometimes we'll Swipe Right before we realize, oh, wait, she's friends with our ex. Or friends with our roommate. Or friends with our boss. Or whatever. Women tend to be comforted by mutual friends (He's not a serial killer!), and men get scared away (I might lose my job!) This is why I find Hinge especially terrifying.
7. We choose one marshmallow now, not two marshmallows later.
In the early 1970s, in one of the most famous experiments in psychology, researchers rounded up a group of children and put them in a room. They gave the kids a choice:
They could eat one marshmallow immediately, or two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes. Some of the kids couldn't wait; they swallowed it right away. Some patiently waited and they were rewarded with two marshmallows. It's a test of our capacity for delayed gratification.
My point: Most men on Tinder are like the kids who immediately eat the marshmallow. It gives us a quick jolt of excitement (You have a match!), but if only we just had a little more patience, like a few rounds of messaging, we'd finally get that second marshmallow (an actual date).
*Jeff Wilser is the author of The Maxims of Manhood. On Twitter at @jeffwilser. *
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