Low Self-Esteem: Dating Apps Can Decrease One’s Self-Confidence

By: Lauren Zoneraich

With the advent and prolonged continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, many young adults have turned to dating apps as a way to connect with potential romantic partners, speak to new people, and entertain themselves. The most popular dating apps among young adults are Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Grindr, which are visually-based dating apps. Instead of text-heavy profiles, like those seen on Match.com, users swiftly accept or reject others based on their profile photographs, which dominate the page display. How does the visually-based nature of dating apps affect the self-esteem of dating app users?

One’s physical appearance and self-esteem are strongly linked. Self-esteem is defined as the self-evaluation a person holds regarding their worth, success, and capabilities. In a survey-based study of young adults, researchers determined that the visual nature of Tinder could raise or lower the self-esteem of users. Users who matched with a lot of attractive users and received many messages experienced an ego boost. Contrarily, many participants reported that the visual nature of the Tinder made them feel more self-conscious about their appearance. Users felt a decrease in self-esteem when they did not match with a lot of people or when they only received messages from unattractive matches. Many participants reported “swiping left on” (rejecting) users who they anticipated would not “swipe right on” (accept) them, or swiping left on users they liked to avoid the possibility of being rejected and experiencing a decrease in self-confidence. These reports highlight how Tinder can trigger negative assessments of the self even before a user is rejected, and of course, decrease a user’s self-confidence after rejection.

Online dating apps are not meant for everyone. If you find that apps such as Tinder are lowering your self-esteem, it may be best to delete these apps and meet partners through other avenues.

If you or someone you know is struggling with low self-esteem, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Kallis, R. (2021). Creating a future relationship or destroying my self-esteem? An exploratory study on dating app experiences and well-being. Journal of Communication Technology, 4(1), 78-100. https://doi.org/10.51548/joctec-2021-005

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