Tinder, online dating or friend zone?

Written and Illustrated by Fiona Lai

It is quite a shame how technology has taken over our generation, even when it comes to dating. What ever happened to the old days, when a person had the courage to approach you and start up a conversation, building a connection that could see you end up as friends, or maybe even something a little more?

In this generation’s evolution of technology and social media, Tinder is the new way to meet people. It has become a number one trending app globally and now, it is even suggested as one of the best apps to download before travelling. I always had my doubts about Tinder, from all the horror stories, uncertainties and the “what-ifs”. Nevertheless, I have finally realised Tinder is the new way of getting yourself out there and is a great tool to use, especially when travelling.

Many online bloggers, including INSIDER travel, recommended Tinder as an app to download before travelling. Some of you may think Tinder is just for ‘hook ups’, or dating, or whatever you want to label it. That’s what I used to think. But I have found this may be the best new way to meet new people and make friends while you exploring exotic countries.

Not too long ago, my friends and I travelled to Sydney. After reading some travel blogs, I decided to ignore the horror stories, labels and negative connotations and actually put Tinder to the test. I wanted to see if the travel articles were right about using Tinder as a way to make friends while travelling. I was happily surprised, it definitely proved to be useful. Even though it feels judgemental to “like” based on pictures, I realised the words in your bio could stand out. I found being clear and honest in your bio — that you are just looking to be friends — could actually work.

So, I jumped on Tinder in Sydney and matched with a few locals. It was really handy, those I ‘matched’ with suggested the best places to dine, drink and sight-see while on a budget. Then I matched with  someone who was brave, bold and very helpful. He took initiative to suggest actually meeting up in a public place, with both our friends, together. So we met up at a local bar. Normally this is where my goody-good morals would kick in and I would start freaking out, imagining the possibility of a crazy horror story. Perhaps this guy could flake out? Even worse, maybe he was a fake guy with fake friends and something terrible could happen?

Luckily, my fears weren’t realised. Both our groups of friends clicked and it couldn’t have gone any better. While I didn’t expect to see him again, the next day, he and two of his friends stopped by at our hostel for brunch! Later they played tour guides, before driving my friends and I to the airport. I did not expect that at all. I mean like wow, score!? Free ride to the airport! Just kidding… I did shout him coffee on the way to the airport.

Honestly, despite my research I never expected this whole ‘Tinder-friending’ thing to work so well, especially when almost everyone labels Tinder as and app for ‘online dating’, or ‘convenient sex’. It just goes to show plain, clear honesty is important and appreciated. I would recommend everyone give Tinder a go while travelling. Just make sure to stay safe and stick with your friends.

Overall top tips with using Tinder for travelling:

  1. Liberate a sense of IDGAF. Remember it doesn’t matter what others think.
  2. Be honest. Friendship is possible if you are honest. Be honest about your intentions.
  3. I believe in minimal photos posted so the other person doesn’t get to judge as quickly.
  4. Meet in a public place – obviously!


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