BY HANNAH

After 5 weeks traversing the topography of a pretty decent portion of Europe, I came home with one solid decision: I didn’t want a relationship before I was off to uni at the end of the summer. Flings? Welcomed. Flirting? Always. But something that required investment and heaviness for a fixed term? Nope. I’m eighteen, young and restless after catching the travel bug big time. After 35 days I hadn’t been so happy in my life that I was single. After getting out of a sort-of relationship that was unhealthy, I was breathing those massive lung fulls of opportunity again. Of course, I’m a girl who wants something with meaning, and when it comes to a hook up and a stranger, that’s not always a surefire way to float the boat. But summer and its casual feel was tempting, and as someone who invests like it’s an addiction, I took to Tinder for an absolute laugh. My friends were doing it, so why not see how far I could get without any dependence on it whatsoever? One month on, and I’ve deleted it.

I had a few matches, a few good chats, and an assurance there are many more fish in the pool of shallow millennials (haha) out there to boot. A tad ironic, but I’d made a friend too. The deletion of Tinder came with the new wave; a bit of right person wrong time occurred, and the joint decision to focus on being best mates rather than a “something that’ll end in tears once the suitcases come out two months down the line” was made. What I learned from that? Never underestimate the value of friendships. You can love and care for someone without it being romantic, and perhaps that is the best relationship of all. And with that, I realised Tinder had to go.

For the first time since I’d come back, I was fully focusing on myself. A clarity of mind settled over me, and I finally relaxed into what I really wanted: to focus on the relationships already in my life. I like reality, I like the face-to-face, I don’t like the swipe, the shallowness of choice, and the complete lack of star alignment and fate believing in the both of you meeting. And yes, a boy up North flirting with me in a bar made me realise it, but I don’t want to be that girl with the Tinder account trying to fill a void.

And hey, I don’t regret a thing because I finally got to see it for myself. I don’t think the people I’m looking for will be found on an app. I’m not looking for love, I’m looking for life. With life, love will follow I am sure. I’m slowly de-cluttering my life, simplifying and delegating my energies by focusing on what’s real. A flaky messenger is now out of date. Thanks Tinder, you opened my eyes to a whole new ball game. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, but one less social app on my phone is a blessing. You never know what you’ll miss if you don’t look up from the screen.

This story was submitted for The Common Room, a place for all young people to share their views. Got something to say? Everyone’s welcome – click here to contribute!

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