Online dating can get a little lonely, right? Just you and your smartphone and a sore finger from all that swiping — and the likelihood of finding a date for the weekend looks increasingly unlikely with every naked torso that appears on your screen.
Well, that may be about to change with a new app from Tinder. Tinder Social lets you Tinder date en masse — or, at least, with a few of your mates. You create a group and swipe through other groups, choosing left or right as you would on regular Tinder, depending on whether you think there’s potential.
Sounds great in theory. No more awkward first dates when you have your mates there to bounce off. No need to slip off to the bathroom and request that “emergency call” for a friend to save you from certain dating death when they’re sitting right next to you. And if you collectively decide that the date is a total disaster, you can ditch the other group and carry on partying.
But we can’t ignore the disaster potential of Tinder Social. First of all, what are the chances of the group neatly pairing up? It could be like being back at school and squabbling over who saw the cute boy first. Yes, just when we thought Tinder couldn’t get any better, it’s giving us the chance to swipe right for jealousy and group politics.
Anything that makes that first Tinder date less excruciating is welcome, of course. But is an awkward group date preferable to an awkward one-to-one? We don’t all feel comfortable flirting in front of an audience — even our friends. Imagine meeting the person of your dreams on a Tinder group date, only to get all tongue-tied because your BFF is making faces at you across the table. It doesn’t exactly make the best first impression.
Tinder has been quick to stress that Tinder Social “is not group dating,” describing it “as a fun new way to meet new people out with your friends.” Hmm. Do any of us have friends who would be okay with us saying, “Yeah, you guys are fun, but let’s find some brand-new people that we’ve never met before to go out with tonight?” It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for existing friendships.
And, of course, Tinder still hasn’t quite managed to shake off its hook-up tag. So what does that mean for Tinder Social? Um… orgy, anyone?