Dating…With Friends?

Dating has significantly changed over the decades, and certainly within recent years. Being students at a university that’s close to other colleges makes dating life interesting. Other factors like dating apps have also made dating more accessible. However, this change in dating has also required a change in the way people approach dating.


There is a growing number of apps that are used today and are tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Apptweak listed Tinder as the most downloaded dating app across America and Europe with Bumble and Badoo closely following. Some, like Tinder, are more generic, while student MiRonda Swepson, ‘24, described others like “Bumble or Christian Mingle” as being “tailored to those looking for something more specific.” She also recommends “doing research…or even going on [Instagram, Snapchat, etc.] to find people.”


Modern online dating has created a growing concern about the initial phases of the dating process, particularly for women. YouGovAmerica recorded that approximately 21% of women in America say they either “always or often feel unsafe when going on a first date,” compared to the 9% of men who feel the same way. There have been many instances where a first date does not go as expected. Often for women, this can be dangerous. Bumble’s website labels catfishing—“presenting a false version of yourself online, either with fake or heavily doctored photos or false profile information, in order to lure someone into dating you”—as a contributing factor to unsafe first date situations.


In addition to growing fears regarding safety, there are also concerns about being the “perfect girl.” Both Swepson and Hannah Taib, ‘22, said they are concerned about sharing too personal information with someone they do not know.


One increasingly popular idea to help alleviate that concern, is to go on a “group date.” A group date refers to a friend sitting or watching a date from afar, without the date’s knowledge, to ensure their friend feels comfortable and safe.


Both Swepson and Taib agreed that group dating is something they either have done or would do on a date. Swepson said that the “world is cruel, and anything can happen, especially from meeting through a dating app.” Taib also acknowledged the benefit of this idea, noting that group dating with friends provides a great support system, which can help lessen the anxiety of first dates, making them more fun and more safe.


Taib also gave The Herald a few useful tips about staying safe on first dates such as “hav[ing] [your] location turned on” as well as giving “[your] friends some basic information about the person [you are] going out with.”


Modern dating is a fast growing industry, with downloads for dating apps growing 32% in January alone. There are a large number of platforms to meet potential partners, but along with this comes growing concerns for safety. These are merely a few ways to stay safe and have fun with friends while navigating the modern dating world.


By Shae-Lynn Henderson, Staff Writer

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