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“I kinda use it now just for entertainment when I’m bored or standing in lines. I noticed a huge shift in my intentions.”Lawal remembers the exact moment it switched for him.At the end of 2014, he took a road trip with his friend from Birmingham, Alabama to St. “On the way down there, I spent a lot of time on Tinder,” he says.But in the past year or so, I’ve felt the gears slowly winding down, like a toy on the dregs of its batteries.I feel less motivated to message people, I get fewer messages from others than I used to, and the exchanges I do have tend to fizzle out before they become dates.
Larry Lawal, a 27-year-old straight male software developer in Atlanta, says he used to meet up with women from the apps for dinner or drinks several times a month, but now, “I don’t know, something happened [since] the earlier days,” he says.Is Twitter terrible, or is it just a platform terrible people have taken advantage of?Are dating apps exhausting because of some fundamental problem with the apps, or just because dating is always frustrating and disappointing?In 2016, dating apps are old news, just an increasingly normal way to look for love and sex. Of course, results can vary depending on what it is people want—to hook up or have casual sex, to date casually, or to date as a way of actively looking for a relationship.“I have had lots of luck hooking up, so if that’s the criteria I would say it’s certainly served its purpose,” says Brian, a 44-year-old gay man who works in fashion retail in New York City.The question is not if they work, because they obviously can, but how well do they work? “I have not had luck with dating or finding relationships.”“I think the way I’ve used it has made it a pretty good experience for the most part,” says Will Owen, a 24-year-old gay man who works at a marketing agency in New York City.