UPDATED 7/18, 5:10 p.m. ET: In an updated statement, Tinder has further asserted that the figures in the widely cited study “do not accurately represent our members.” See the Tinder rep’s new statement in full below:
“Based on Tinder’s data, the figures highlighted in this study are highly misleading and do not accurately represent our members. Study participants were only given three options to describe themselves -- 'celibate', 'in a relationship' or ‘widowed’ -- with no option for 'single.’ This likely resulted in a completely skewed depiction of who Tinder members are and what they seek.”
See original story below.
The study in question, per NBC News, found that 65.3 percent of Tinder users surveyed were already “in a relationship “ or (in some cases) in the throes of full-fledged marriage. Additionally, just 50.3 percent of respondents said they were using the app to meet someone in an IRL capacity.
“It can be overwhelming, and in some cases, it can lead people to this notion that the grass is always greener on the other side, like there’s always better options out there,” Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a Stanford Medicine professor and study co-author, told NBC News when speaking about the potential pitfalls of dating apps at large.
The study is the subject of the paper “Finding Intimacy Online: A Machine Learning Analysis of Predictors of Success” and was carried out, in part, “to assess the level of satisfaction with Tinder use and the level of satisfaction with Tinder offline dates.” All told, 1,387 Tinder users (aged 18-74) participated in the survey, which explored the impacts of age and “motives” when it comes to satisfaction with the app experience.
"Tinder has been downloaded over 530 million times and created more than 75 billion matches. Over half of Tinder members are aged 18-25," a Tinder spokesperson tells Complex in response to the study. "Tinder’s in-app ‘Relationship Goals’ feature enables members to signal their intent. Globally, 40 percent of Tinder members say that they are looking for a long term relationship, vs. 13 percent looking for a short term connection."
While some will spin this into some sort of existential quandary and/or as further proof that people are awful, etc.—perhaps the best way to look at it is that human beings, despite our best efforts to rein in our humanness, are simply incapable of permanently balancing atop the straight and narrow. This can cause a lot of grief, of course, but at least we as a species are never truly at risk of becoming boring.
Also left out of the bulk of coverage surrounding such dating apps-related stats is that there’s a plethora of relationship possibilities available to any given couple. In March of this year, Tinder itself acknowledged this by introducing a new Relationship Types feature. The options run the gamut and include monogamy, ethical non-monogamy, open relationship, polyamory, and “open to exploring.”
Of course, communication is always key; you don’t want one person enjoying the buffet with a mile-high plate while the other is frowning at the salad bar, so to speak.