Recently, young people have decided to leave dating apps

Recently, young people have decided to leave dating apps
Recently, young people have decided to leave dating apps

In his last essay, From soul mate to Tinder (Larousse), the novelist and professor of philosophy Eliette Abécassis wonders: “What about love in the age of social networks and the great market of feelings that develops according to algorithms? Around us, what amorous wanderings, despair and disgust. » If, at any age, some people have sometimes found love on a dating application, it seems that young people, more specifically, are turning away from it. “I had a burn-out of feeling, summarizes Juliette, 29 years old. I was “addicted”, I had tried everything: Tinder, Bumble, Fruitz, Happn, Once… By the way, I had the impression of being H24 in a job interview, recruiting or applying for a position . » Few of these love CVs led to a real meeting for Juliette and none made her want to continue the relationship. “Fed up with putting myself in the window, it’s a waste of time and we no longer see the “real people” around us. » Juliette would not be the only one of her generation to drop out… with a certain disgust.

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Health crisis and “binge dating”

Admittedly, the dating market remains the most profitable on the Net, representing today more than 2 billion euros with, in the lead, the essential Tinder, which “matches” hearts. Absolute record of these correspondences called “matches”: three billion in a single day, during the first confinement in 2020… and twice as many couples formed during the health crisis*. The apotheosis before the decline? Since then, 83% of users say they are dissatisfied because they are saturated. “For me, it was “binge dating”, a frenetic consumption of virtual meetings which created a kind of social bond, but above all a parade of anxiety and loneliness during the health crisis”testifies Victor, 27 years old.

The dropout of young people seems to be born of this difficult period. “It allowed me to question myself on what I really wanted”he explains, he who, like 58% of people registered on these platforms, was more looking for one or more virtual flirtations than a real meeting. “At the end of the confinement, nothing remained of all that. The only one of my Tinder relationships that I wanted to meet ended as soon as we saw each other. Suddenly, we had nothing more to say to each other. This is where I decided to stop to make way for the real encounter. »

A story without end

For Victor as for Juliette, it was then necessary to force themselves to go out, to smile at strangers rather than to “swipe” them (drag) on ​​a screen and to engage in conversation instead of liking. Not easy, especially since many still keep their heads bent to their screen, they say. “An app is an asset when you lack self-confidence”, recognizes Juliette. But that does not necessarily help to get out of his shyness. “We don’t take risks, because we can run away and disconnect at any time”says Victor, for whom the trigger was this question: “How did our parents do? If they made it, so can I! » In the meantime, the young man is patient, because the opportunities are rare. “Apps have the merit of encouraging encounters, admits Eliette Abecassis. What is problematic is the commercialization of feelings and the multitude. We choose from thousands of people, even tens of thousands, available per minute in a nearby area. This is love partnership”she analyzes.

What make you dizzy? The infinity of possibilities would constantly encourage us to look further… Marketing specialists have given a name to this process, the “Fobo”, or “Fear of Better Option”, the fear of missing out on a better option. In his book the end of love (Seuil), sociologist Eva Illouz points out: “We are looking for an adequacy of tastes which, far from facilitating relations, poisons them. The more people you meet, the more you become aware of what they lack. » We can therefore “zap” endlessly between Tinder suitors… while giving each person very little time: 67% of singles spend up to four hours a week on a dating app, but 60% take less than thirty seconds to decide if they like a profile or not**!

The example of grandmothers

For Léa, 24, it is time for this to end. “Among the couples that last, there must not be many who would have met on objective criteria”she believes, taking the example of her grandmother. “She has been married for fifty-five years to a hunter who loves game, everything she hates!says the young woman. It was she who opened my eyes by telling me: “On your Tinder, I would never have met the love of my life!” » Léa listened to her grandmother: “The time saved on the screens, I now spend it in a sports club. And no question of putting on my headphones, I engage in conversations and I met a monitor that I liked. »

Still others seem to want to take up the “challenge” that Eliette Abécassis speaks of: “Finding a path that brings us back to the human… What is to be feared, she says, it is the disappearance of presence with the virtualization of our lives. Sometimes, even when we see each other, we are somewhere else, consulting our cell phone. Are we still able to be present to ourselves? » The question speaks to young people, at least to those who delete their dating apps. But they also admit to being a little lost on the “method”.

“I decided to stop to make way for the real meeting”

The use of marriage agencies

For example, Victor looked for a community to foster connection in real life and found Meetup. This social networking platform allows those who gather there around common interests to provoke encounters… “Thanks to that, I go out once a week, and if I haven’t found love yet, I have at least made friends. It allows me to go ahead of others and it’s already a first step that gives me more self-confidence », he concludes. Others choose a more unexpected path, judging by the rejuvenation of the clientele… of marriage agencies. “For the past year, I have received an average of two or three young people per month. A real novelty, for twenty years that I exercise this profession »is surprised Valérie Bruat, director ofBetween Her and Himwhich deals in particular with 28-34 year olds, “an age when one begins to want seriousnessshe notes. The problem is that they no longer know how to approach the face-to-face relationship, they are uncomfortable with seduction”.

In love under algorithm (Goutte d’Or), Judith Duportail points to another discomfort: “The economic model of dating apps was built with the loneliness of young people”says the one who was the first to claim all her personal data from Tinder, which sent her a huge workbook from which she learned a lesson: “Everything is done to keep us in constant search. » For sociologist Marie Bergström, researcher at INED, the pre-selection of artificial intelligence would also threaten freedoms. She explains it: “Everything on a dating site is analyzed meticulously, from the content of the exchanges to the photos posted, which provide information, well beyond the physical appearance of the person, on their social class, their origin…” Something to divert hearts to take, who still have a good reason to now look for old-fashioned love. And, good news, Léa and her sports teacher, it “matches”!

*Ifop survey on online dating and the digitization of sex life in the time of Covid-19. **YouGov study for Once.

The article is in French

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