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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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'Fancy a ride?': People tell us why and how they use Tinder
Our readers talk hooking up, finding love and REALLY bad dates.

The following article contains some explicit language and content. 

IRELAND’S ATTITUDE TO dating and, in particular, online dating has changed.

Research compiled by Ipsos MRBI shows that, as of May, about 5% of Irish people aged 15+ have a Tinder account – that is about 180,000 people.

This figure has remained relatively static for the last year. Once a quarter, Ipsos MRBI contacts 1,000 people aged 15 and over by telephone to discuss their social networking habits.


Looking at Tinder in more detail using four waves of data from August 2014 to May 2015 – a sample of 4,000 interviews – the gender split in Irish people using Tinder is about 60:40 in favour of men.

The app is most popular with adults under the age of 25: 24% of 15 to 24-year-olds have an account, compared to 6% of 25 to 34-year-olds. Some 16% of those surveyed used the service daily.

As part of our Sex Week series, spoke to several people about how and why they use Tinder.

Most of them want relationships – or at least the chance of one developing. Some have found happiness via the app, while others have had more negative experiences. And some have been puked on.

Here’s what they shared – the good, the bad and the ugly.

‘I’m an emotional mess who will wreck your head’

Sharon (29) is Irish but now living in London. She started using Tinder about a year and a half ago.

“I was nursing a broken heart and had just moved to London so it seemed quite new and exciting. It was a way to date without having any pressure or hassle.”

tinder profile Tinder Tinder

She says she never uses the app for hook ups.

I’m too Irish to be casual, but unfortunately you can get quite duped on the app – especially in regards to what the other person is looking for.

“There’s also no mutual friend or connection so there are no responsibilities or consequences if someone acts like a complete asshole. It is based on a few filtered pictures and short dates so you can’t ever be really sure what you are getting yourself in for.

No guy is going to say in their tagline ‘I’m an emotional mess who will wreck your head as soon as you start to like me and take all the angst I have for my mother out on you (I’ll also cancel our fourth date ten minutes before by text)’.


Sharon tells us she is seeking  to “meet someone that I have chemistry with, have some nice dates and a good evening”.

“My workmates and flatmates were on it and London seems to have this dating scene where single people are all actively dating a few times a week. It’s not unusual to see a group of girls in a bar all on Tinder comparing matches.”

So, what’s the best Tinder date she’s had?

My first Tinder date was on a really rainy afternoon so we popped out to the beer garden when the sun came out and whatever way the wind caught the tarpaulin above us it emptied a bath load of water all over him. It was excellent.

And the worst?

“First dates are usually great as both parties are on their best behaviour, but it’s the second date you have to worry about.

Where to start? The guy that burped in a waitress’s face, the guy that was still living with his ex and told me every single detail of his break up – with dog pictures, the guy that made everything I said in to a sexual innuendo, the guy that kept trying to kiss me while I ate, the guy that got so drunk I had to carry him home while he shouted at people.


A lot of Sharon’s friends use the app and some have found “really lovely boyfriends”.

I would say that all single people here that I know has the app, but maybe half actually use it to date. Some people just use it to pass time.

“The only advice I would give is to use with caution. There are horror stories of guys running out on the bill, asking the girl to sleep with them on the first date then storming out when rejected, people getting dropped once they have done the deed. I think you have to be aware that not everyone will be using it for the same reasons as you be it serious or casual, so be cautious.”

‘Fancy a ride?’

John (36) started using Tinder about a year and a half ago and is looking for a relationship.

“The girls I’ve met have told me about different approaches they’ve received and things like ‘Fancy a ride?’ early in the conversation seem common enough with them, but it’s not an approach I’d ever go with.”

Shutterstock-265201163 Shutterstock Shutterstock

John says he’s lucky and none of his Tinder dates have been a “disaster”.

There are times where very quickly you realise it’s probably not going to go anywhere, but it’s fine. You chat for a few drinks and then call it night. I tend to message with them a bit beforehand on the Tinder app or Whatsapp so usually I know if it’s someone that is just going to be a disaster if I meet up.

“I’m not a big drinker, but would normally invite the girl out to a bar as I’m too unoriginal to think of anything else to do. One girl said she was off the booze though, so we went to the Tea Garden on the Quays one evening and had a very nice time chatting, drinking tea, smoking a shisha pipe.”

‘Back to basics’

John says only a few of his friends use the app, noting: “Most of them are using it jokingly, i.e. couples seeing who they can match with, with no intention of contacting them.”

As for recommending it? “Definitely”

This just brings it down to the basics: ‘Do I fancy you? Do you fancy me?’ and take it from there. Most relationships, casual or otherwise, start with a physical attraction, Tinder gives its users an easy option to people who aren’t into the pub or club scene to find people they might like to meet up with.

‘It’s ruined my opinion of men’

Lynn (26)  also started using Tinder after a break-up “as a way to make myself feel better”.

“It felt easier than interacting with real-life people. Nowadays I only use when I’m insanely bored or hungover and haven’t been on a date in about three months.


“I think at first, when I was naive to the ways of Tinder, I probably did use it in the hopes of actually finding someone or at least someone half alright to go on a few dates with. However, my patience has worn pretty thin with endless rude or explicit messages.”

tinder msg 1 Message sent to Lynn on Tinder

I would go as far as to say that Tinder has actually ruined my opinion of men or, should I say, boys my age. The thing that annoys me most about it is that I can’t understand why the internet turns men into a bunch of sex pests and borderline psychotics. I see my actual friends who are nice, polite, caring boys speaking to girls like shit on Tinder and I can’t see where this behaviour comes from.

tinder msg 2 Message sent to Lynn on Tinder

How have her dates been?

It’s hard to pinpoint either a particular best or worst date as they’re all kind of the same. They either go one way or the other:
1. You arrive, they look nothing like their pictures, you have a chat, you don’t like them, they’re a banker with a horrible ego, you leave thoroughly disappointed that you wasted your time and potentially your dignity on snapchat.
2. You arrive, they look like their pictures (I’m definitely not an angel in the ‘look like your pictures’ front but…), you get on quite well, you get horrendously drunk, you sleep together, you go to work in the same clothes, you never message each other again.Anyone who says this isn’t the two scenarios is lying. This is the Tinder I know and love (to hate).

“I have never been on more than two dates with anyone from Tinder.”

Lynn says most of the people she knows don’t ‘use’ Tinder, they ‘play’ it.

Boys play it as a game, a test of their lad-ness. A game to be won by shaming girls and duping girls into dates and notches on their bedposts they’ll later regret.

Lynn would recommend the app to a friend – but only on one condition: if they’re recently out of a relationship and want to boost their self-esteem.

If a friend of sane mind asked me about Tinder I would have four words: ‘Avoid like the plague’.

‘Complete weirdos or massive elephants’

James (35) has been using Tinder “on and off” for about 18 months, since he broke up with his girlfriend.

“I was using it in the hope of meeting someone long-term – or even just a bit of fun, but I got neither.”

Shutterstock-127123193 Shutterstock Too much make-up Shutterstock

“Despite swiping numerous girls, and I’m probably talking hundreds or over a thousand, I only actually got a very low number of matches, maybe 1% of the amount that I had swiped Yes to.”

Of the matches that I got, most of them looked like complete weirdos or massive elephants in their photos. I even swiped girls who were terrible looking, but very surprisingly didn’t get a match from them – I would have assumed they’d be desperate and swipe Yes for any fella on there.

What about his dates?

“I went on two dates in total. One was quite good looking, like in her photos … but it didn’t progress past a couple of drinks and I never saw her again. She was quite boring personality wise, kept going on about how she likes to play games on her Xbox all the time.”

The second date was absolutely bloody awful. She didn’t really have great photos on her profile, but I thought I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. When I met her I was appalled. She was horrible looking and stank of smoke and vomit-inducing perfume. Personality-wise I had nothing in common with her and she was quite annoying to talk to. We stayed for two drinks and then I made my excuses and left.
After that I never matched with anyone that looked normal, so haven’t been on any more dates.
Basically, I find the whole Tinder thing a bit of a waste of time and definitely not the shagfest that it’s made out to be – unless your shagging standards are in the gutter to begin with.

“I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I have one friend who uses it and has shagged a few girls from there, although I’ve not met any of them so can’t comment on what they were like.”

‘I use it for the craic’

Joanne (30) has been using the app for a few months, but hasn’t been that active, telling us: “You need to put in a bit of effort.”

I would be looking to possibly start a relationship, but also to just get out on a few dates for the craic. Meeting new people whether it works out or not is usually a good laugh.

She’s only been on one Tinder date, but it wasn’t entirely a success.

Shutterstock-248518969 Shutterstock Shutterstock

“It was fine, nothing to write home about. Nice guy, pretty shy – felt more like an interview really. Not much banter, but it was pleasant. Needless to say, there won’t be a second date.

I had arranged to meet one guy the following week, but I had to call it off after his behaviour. He kept texting me over the weekend and even when I did not reply he continued: ‘Are you out? Have a good night? What you up to? Are you ok? Morning, how was your night?’ I think I got 17 messages in all and then he asked if we were still on for the date on Tuesday. I said: ‘Eh, no.’

Joanne says a lot of her friends use it “although none have had any dates work out for them”.

She would recommend it, but adds: “I am in two minds about it. I haven’t heard many success stories come from it.”

‘We now live together’

One definite Tinder success story is Niamh and Eoin. The couple met via the app in February 2014. They now live together in Dublin.

Niamh (26) began using the app in January last year and struck relationship gold just a month later.

“I didn’t expect to meet anyone. I tried OkCupid when I was living in France and found that extremely nerve-racking and awkward. I didn’t really like online dating, but Tinder was different as it hooks up to your Facebook and it’s simple to use. I saw it as a game and an ego boost, plus everyone was on it so it didn’t seem naff.”

What did she make of her first date with Eoin?

It was a bit awkward at the start as I caught my hair in the button of my coat just as I was walking in the door and he had to help me untangle it. So that was quite stressful, but other than that it was lovely.

“We met in February 2014 and we’re living together now, so I guess it’s going okay!”

20150715_204328 Niamh and Eoin

This is Eoin’s version of their first meeting:

She was a bit late. I was a tad nervous. She arrived down the stairs to the basement of Cassidy’s bar on Westmoreland Street in a bit of a fluster. Her hair was caught in the button of her jacket. She was so embarrassed, but I thought it was hilarious. What an ice breaker. To this day, I’m convinced she did it on purpose. If she did, fair play. It was really stuck in there.
After that the date went amazing. We spoke for hours and went for a walk around the city.

“We met in real life on Valentine’s Day – yes, I know. Honestly, the reason for this was because it was really the only time I was free. I have a daughter from a previous relationship. My spare time is mostly spent with her.

“So when [Niamh] said she was free the Saturday evening, I jumped on the chance. I think we were both also quite eager to meet as our chat on Tinder was going so well.”

Needless to say, both said they would recommend the app. Eoin (28) has this advice for anyone considering downloading it:

“Keep an open mind. Not everyone is there to hook up nor are they all there for something serious. Have a chat and get to know each other for a bit. Unless you just want the ride.”

The date from hell

Colm Flynn (27) hosts The Feed on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

The show has covered Tinder before, including Olivia’s date from hell.

Being a good sport, Colm has agreed to share his own experiences with the app.

IMG_1122 Colm Flynn Colm and Olivia Colm Flynn

“Around a year ago my housemate was ranting and raving about it and convinced me to give it a go. I’ve had it on my phone since then.

“Because of the job I’m in I’m up early almost every day of the week and working long hours. Weekends are usually taken up with TV shoots and edits too. So going out to Coppers until six in the morning isn’t really a goer.

I don’t use it for hook ups and I’ve never met anyone on it who does, I think that’s a big misconception.

“I think for someone like myself, who works a lot and doesn’t get to go out to bars and clubs every weekend, it’s a great way to meet interesting people, go on a few dates, whatever.

“I think for a lot of people my age who are really career-focused, it can be one of the only ways to meet people without spending hours in a bar. Then if you hit it off and it leads to more dates, all the better.”

So, what about his best date?

I met a girl from the US who was working here and we had a really nice evening sitting in a restaurant by the canal chatting for hours. She was telling me all about what her life was like in Texas and comparing it with Ireland. We had loads to talk about, and being American she was well able to talk. The best part about it was that it was laid back and relaxed.

And the worst?

I remember going on one Tinder date and it turned out the girl was obsessed with ’90s TV shows. So for the entire duration of the date she would talk about nothing apart from shows like Saved By The Bell, Kenan & Kel and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Don’t get me wrong, good programmes – but not really good topics of conversation for a first date.

“I tried to shift the topic a few times but whenever we talked about something else she would eventually find a comparison to something similar that happened in some episode of Sister, Sister. I had ‘Go Home Roger’ in my head all weekend. It was a bit of a nightmare but I laugh when I think back on it.”


I do feel lucky though because when we talk about Tinder on the The Feed, we always get real horror stories sent in. I remember one girl emailed saying her Tinder date got sick all over their taxi home and then did a runner. He actually legged it from the taxi and left her to pay the soiling charge. So when you hear stories like that you count your lucky stars.

Colm says “almost everyone” he knows uses it.

“Whenever someone asks me about it I tell them to download it and give it a go. The thing I hear all the time is ‘It’s so shallow and superficial’, but I don’t agree.

You swipe people left and right, but if we’re being really honest we do that every time we walk into a bar or a club – consciously or subconsciously we do it in our head when we look around a room. If you’re looking for your life partner I wouldn’t rely on Tinder on its own, but in the mix with all the other ways you can meet people today, I think it’s pretty good.

All names bar Niamh, Eoin, Colm and Olivia’s have been changed to protect people’s identity.

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