you & me

Toying with Tinder: Is ‘out There’ Really Where I’ll Find My Flame?


I can’t bring myself to go on Tinder or even post a profile of myself on an online dating site.

Now that I’m back home in Toronto, Canada, after a year of teaching and traveling in South America, my friends and family are encouraging me to “get online,” “put myself out there,” “find him,” and “settle down.” 

“You are in your 30s now… time’s a-ticking!”

But honestly, I’d much rather stay at home with a cup of tea and a good book, blog in a quiet café, or go for dinner with a close girlfriend, than spend my time and energy into scrolling through guys online like I’m rummaging a sales rack for a new pair of jeans.

“You gotta change your attitude. It’s a numbers game,” my friends tell me, “the app’s just a tool for meeting other people who are looking.”

That’s my problem.

The “looking.” The “searching.” 

My resistance to downloading Tinder or uploading a profile of myself on another online dating site is not because I have a problem with the apps or dating sites themselves. I totally get the benefits of exposing myself to other singles to increase the odds of meeting people I’m compatible with.

Many of my friends have had success with Tinder and other online dating sites. One close friend met her husband on her first online date. Others are in meaningful, long-term relationships from Tinder matches. A few friends use Tinder as a way to meet new people, have fun, test out some of Toronto’s trendy bars or restaurants, or even connect with people when they’re traveling.

I don’t want to give the impression that I think that there’s anything wrong with online dating sites or that I’m judgmental towards the people who use them. I know that they’ve proved to yield positive results for many of my friends, especially busy professionals who don’t cross paths with many new people very often.

It just doesn’t feel authentically ‘me’.

I guess the idea of “looking” and “searching” for someone is at odds with my philosophy of love and relationships. While this goes against our fast-paced North American lifestyle, and our obsession with having all of the answers right now, I believe that the only person I can invest time and energy into “finding” is myself.

And, if it doesn’t feel authentic for me to seek love online, am I really going to meet someone who is an authentic love for me online?

Besides, as a wild, wandering, creative and passionate woman, I’m not interested in being with a man just because we’re compatible, or just because we have common friends and interests.

I want someone who admires my courage and passion, and who is willing to fight for me. Someone who inspires me. Someone whom I’m drawn to like a magnet. Someone who lifts me higher than I can lift myself. Someone who gives me strength through his own greatness.

Are such men spending their time scrolling through Tinder? Or do these men have faith, like me, that they’ll stumble upon great love somewhere along their journey when the timing’s right? Wouldn’t said warriors be roaming the jungle, climbing mountains, following their hearts, and living out their dreams? Or do the men I aspire for even exist in the digital age?

It’s not easy to resist the pressure to get online, and I don’t want to give the impression that I think it’s a bad thing. It simply just isn’t me.

I think travel has helped me realize that every now and then, I do stumble upon hidden gems, magic moments, and special connections when I least expect them. It’s helped me to appreciate my own company, cultivate self-love, and learn to be patient with myself.

I’ve been lucky to have stumbled upon great love in the past, and believe it will happen again. And I would rather spend my time living my life, following my passions, being authentically me, cultivating my own inner warrior, than going on dates, and convincing myself that someone who isn’t right for me deserves another chance.

This may mean that my friends and family will have to handle the fact that I might be single for a bit longer than they’re comfortable with. But I’m okay with it, and that’s what matters.

So instead of devoting time and energy to finding and searching for him online or scrolling through Tinder, I’m going to continue to invest as much love into myself and my passions so that I can inspire the love I believe I deserve.

It may take time, but I have faith that somewhere on my journey, having a great love for myself will attract great love from someone else.


Shannon Mullen is a high school teacher and writer based in Toronto, Canada. She has previously taught in London, UK, the Canadian Arctic, and Colombia. On weekends and holidays, she makes every effort to get outside, and explore new places on foot or on her bike. These experiences have allowed her to meet interesting people, travel to various corners of the globe, and gain wisdom on life that she hopes she can share with others through writing. Her first novel, See What Flowers, a contemporary fiction about love and mental illness, was published in May 2017. You can find more of her writing at her website.


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