dating apps

Image: Unsplash

‘Chemistry check’: Swipe right for dating app romance in the era of Gen Z

The South African talks messages, matches and meetups in SA with Gen Z dating app users.

dating apps

Image: Unsplash

Whether you are looking for a fun time, someone to grab a cup of coffee with or are in search of your significant other, dating apps have paved the way for interpersonal connection.

There’s a lot of options when it comes to navigating the dating app pool, so here is everything you need to know about the scene through Gen Z eyes.

Reasons for using dating apps

While many of us still associate dating apps as a space for hook-up culture, The South African spoke to a few Gen Z users have offered to set the story straight. 

“You need to know that the same rules that apply in real life, apply on dating apps. Nothing big changes just because you’re on the phone” said Ali Tyhilana (21).

“Aside from boredom, as a student I was looking to make new connections in a new city” said Tee Landry (20).

In contrast, for Sharna Stemmet (21) and Nekita van Wyk (21) the decision to “jump on the bandwagon” was influenced by close friends.

Other reasons for downloading the apps, include stepping out of one’s comfort zone and wanting to find love.

“I downloaded the app for the sole purpose of meeting new people with the possibility of finding love in the process,” said Reginald Visagie (19).

“I started using these apps when I realised I was highly attracted to guys who are rare to find at parties,” said Nana Bulabula (21).

Which dating apps are the best?

Online dating can be a bit of a minefield, especially with various apps offering unique features. 

For Bulabula this meant finding an app that brings a different experience compared to the intricacies of meeting people outside.

“Tinder is a quicker way of engaging with people all over the country and surpasses borders, races, and clicks” 

Many Gen Z app users shared Bulabula’s feeling and noted that the app was safer than most due to the many verification processes.

While Tinder may be the most popular dating app among Gen Z, mentions of other useful platforms include Grindr (for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people) and Badoo.

Gen Z dating app meet-ups

Today many people are sharing their successful dating app meet-up-turned-relationship stories on social media with #tinderella – a pun on the fairytale Cinderella. 

For Busisiwe Banda (23) the online dating experience had been nothing short of successful:

“I was single at the time and decided to set up a profile. The next thing I know I’m conversating so easily with this one guy and surprise! We meet up and two years later we’re still dating.”

According to Keith Bergstedt (20), despite the many positives, one of the biggest disadvantages of using the apps is the possibility of getting cat-fished.

“But on the other hand, the medium allows people to trust you easily which is great for comfortability purposes when you finally setup a date to meet…This way you avoid awkwardness.”

Gen Z dating app advice 

Although dating apps are supposed to take the headache out of trying to meet someone, below lies some bitter-sweet advice from Gen Z dating app users who have been there and done that! 

“Firstly, you have to make sure that this is something you really want to do. Secondly you need to ensure that you’re not getting cat-fished, so ask for multiple pictures, voice notes and to video call,” said Blessing Zwane (20).

“Take the chance to go after people you actually want and don’t be afraid or insecure,” said Mbali Matrose (21).

According to Torrel Mashabane (20), being clear and direct about why you are on the app is important as there are a lot of people on that app for “other things”.

Likewise, Banda urged users to always be open-minded, but slightly guarded and not pour their heart out to everyone they engage with.

Hacks for more matches

Nailing the perfect online dating profile can be frustrating, especially when you put time in and do not receive enough right swipes. Luckily, there are ways to play the system to get more matches. 

Here are a few tricks to get more eyes on your profile instantly.

  • Don’t wear sunglasses. It’s good to make eye contact in your main profile photo;
  • Use recent photos that show off your personality;
  • Fill out your entire profile and proofread it before you post; and
  • Update your profile on a regular basis.