Facebook Dating App: What Fresh New Hell Is This? (Here’s the Skinny on What to Expect)
Single? Debating giving the new Facebook dating app a try? I did, and I’ve got the skinny on the pros and the cons of this new addition to the Facebook “empire.”
Why Can’t I Just Meet Someone Organically?
There is one character flaw that makes someone completely undateable. Unfortunately, my second husband lacked this particular flaw or I never would have ended up in a disastrous six month marriage. But lessons were most definitely learned in that scenario. And as a result, I was able to tackle some of my own issues so I didn’t repeat the mistakes I made that landed me there in the first place.
Of course, the end of a relationship generally means there’s eventually the beginning of another one. And I dated, quite exclusively, someone else over the course of a year and a half. That (now ex) boyfriend also lacked this fatal character flaw. Though near the end he’d harp that I liked to talk to hear myself talk. As we were living together at the time and had zero in common – how does that happen anyway? – I spent the second half of that relationship quite depressed. By the end of it I felt like my whole life was on hold.
So I moved out and moved on. And I tried online dating again. The typical go to’s. Bumble and OKCupid as they tend to be less scary than some of the other dating apps out there. But I actually met someone in person less than a week in. And for a blissful few weeks I truly thought he was the perfect person for me.
It began as a whirlwind of an affair that lasted five short weeks. Then we took a break. And okay. So maybe we did move really fast. At this point however, he thought what I feel is my greatest strength was my own character flaw.
I ALWAYS stand up for the underdog. Sometimes to a fault I suppose. And admittedly it can get me in trouble. But standing up for others is the right thing to do. Right?
Some months back I actually found myself flat on my ass bleeding on the pavement. I had demanded some guy apologize for making inappropriate slurs to a transgender woman on the street. But this guy reallllllllly didn’t want to apologize. So he shoved me instead. Hard. I went down immediately and actually slid backwards. Two inches of skin from my elbow down my arm came off in the process.
So, of course, you know if I’m going to defend someone I just met at a punk show, I’m going to defend the guy I’m dating when he’s being bullied by his family. Granted, it’s his family and it likely wasn’t my place. But that’s who I am. I’m the person who’s going to call you out for being mean to someone for no particular reason. And I’m the person that’s going after an active shooter if there are lives on the line.
The kicker though, is that I actually had a discussion with this guy about that very topic. Wanna know what he’d do?
Hide behind everyone else.
Still, that wasn’t the be all to end all character flaw that nipped things to a quick halt. Nor was the fact he kept introducing himself to my friends as a lead singer in a rock and roll band. (It’s a fricking cover band, dude. No one cares.)
As it turned out, he’s actually a racist. And no matter how you try to defend using the N word, it doesn’t change facts. Nor does it discount that you’re hoping a nice white family will move in down the street instead of more people of color. It’s not okay. It’s never been okay. And for me, it’s completely unforgivable.
And that is how I ended up on a test run of the new Facebook dating app.
Enter The Facebook Dating App
Truth be told, I’ve long believed that Facebook should definitely NOT be used as a dating app. Having had my share of stalkers over the years, it’s always creepy when some random friend of a friend hits you up at 1am drunk AF. So I’ve spent ages actually slicing and dicing my friends list into absentia. With under 50 friends left on my list, I was finally able to nip that in the bud.
But then Facebook decides to actually develop a dating app. WTF. Accessible only through the mobile Facebook app, the biggest advantage is that it’s 100% completely free. (At least for now.) I’m sure, like all other things that start out free, they’ll find a way to monetize it down the line.
By no means am I an unattractive person. Except maybe when I’m angry. Because it takes a lot to get me angry. So when I finally get pissed off there’s zero question as to whether I’m mad or not. That aside, if I use a dating app, I am actually getting likes and what not. Therefore I feel like I have a clear understanding of whether it’s a decent app or one that’s quickly going to be circling the drain.
Of course, there’s more to consider than just the dating app itself. Obviously dating outside your area can vary drastically from dating in it.
It’s All About Who You Know (Not Who You Don’t)
Having lived in Southwestern Virginia my entire life, I have a very clear picture of what our area is and isn’t. Virginia did, after all, have a sterilization program in place at one point (which I’m told Hitler used for inspiration and may or may not be true.) Final restitution to the remaining survivors of that atrocity, however, were only paid out in the past decade. While my own hometown specifically, also has a rather sordid history with racism (from the official Roanoke.gov website) even into the early 2000’s. One in which those in positions of power worked to devalue property from black owned businesses and drive down property values. There’s also a lot of civil war history here in Virginia. So I have to mentally prepare myself going in to practice those hard swipes left.
The people I saw on the Facebook dating app were a mix of men I’ve seen on every other dating app out there. However they were randomly mixed in among a slew of new faces. The majority of whom did not look particularly “put together.” I guess if it’s free you have to expect to scrape the bottom of the barrel at some point. (Choose your profile photo wisely!) There were also photos of a lot of dudes with confederate flags in their profile pics. And while around here they say they are simply celebrating their Southern heritage, it’s more apt to say they’re “in the closet.” I mean, seriously dude. You’re celebrating a history of slavery. And, like the guy I wasted five weeks on, it’s racism no matter how you slice it or try to defend it.
What was most troubling however (judging by the fact that facebook is a social sharing platform first and a dating app second) was that many if not all of these men are friends of a friend or a friend of a friend of a friend. (I can’t even.) Flags aside, this may make it seem safer to dip your toes into the dating pool because it tells you who each person is friends with. However, this can also make it hard to find someone new if you’re trying to escape a friend circle that was once comprised of both you and an ex.
If, like me, you’ve taken a hatchet to your friends list, or simply don’t have many friends on social media to speak of, you’ll likely find yourself with fewer matches than you’d hope.
Finding More Matches Using the Facebook Dating App
Agree to expand the range out from 20 miles from your location (or whatever your go to max mileage is) and the Facebook dating app will start showing you potential matches up to 245 miles away. (Or at least that was the experience in my case.) And no matter whether you adjust that mileage cap back or not, you’re stuck with an influx of people who live hours away (that realistically you’re never going to meet) for the next 24 hours.
Additionally, the largest demographic of facebook users are men between the ages of 25 and 34, according to the most recent statistics. Therefore, depending on your age and sex, the facebook dating app may or may not work in your favor. But then again, it also depends who’s actually signing up and using the facebook dating app.
Unlike some dating apps, the Facebook dating app doesn’t allow you to send photos to someone you’ve matched with. Which is both good and bad. Having the ability to send photos allows you to vet people more thoroughly. Or at least in my case. For example, the guy who sent me a photo of himself fresh out of the shower. Hard pass. Block. Delete. OMG. F no.
Let’s Talk About It (And Other Things That Suck)
On the other hand, you can send gifs and there’s also the option to use an “icebreaker.” Basically random questions (are these always lame?) to send to start a conversation. Examples of actual icebreaker questions from the Facebook dating app are:
- What was the worst job you ever had?
- Have you ever been told you look like someone famous? Who was it?
- What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
- What’s your favorite quote from any movie?
- If you could be any animal for a day, what would it be?
I mean, seriously?
(This is where I’m reminded of a meme that states: Dating after 40 is like trying to find the least damaged thing in a thrift store that doesn’t smell.)
Another con – and this is a big one – is that no one using the app seems to be very intent on following up on matches. If you match with someone, you’d expect some sort of communication. But for the most part, there seemed to be crickets. Personally, if you can’t engage me, or at least start a meaningful (or hilarious) conversation, then you’re just wasting my time. This lack of contact may be due to new users who aren’t sure how to navigate the app or they may have simply abandoned it after the fact. Either way, I also found that the notifications don’t work unless you have notifications for Facebook on as a whole. And as much as I’m on social media for the blog, there’s no way I’m immersing myself even further into day to day Facebook drama.
In addition, I found the settings for describing your ideal match particularly limiting. No, you cannot specifically ban all rednecks. (Someone could totally market that.) Your only options for the basics are distance, gender identity (limited by men, women or everyone), age range, height range, children and religious beliefs. The Facebook dating app is also only accessible through the Facebook mobile app.
The Pros to the Facebook Dating App
So, there are quite a few cons I found with the Facebook dating app. That’s not to say the kinks won’t be worked out as these issues are by far minor compared to some of the other disastrous dating sites I’ve tried. (Enter Coffee Meets Bagel.) However, there are actually quite a few pluses.
One, the Facebook dating app, as previously mentioned, is completely free (for now) with zero restrictions.
There’s no swiping left or right so there’s no confusion for new users. Simply tap the X if you’re not interested or tap the heart to like a person.
You can see everyone who likes you on the Facebook dating app. You then have the option of liking them back and matching or sending them off into oblivion.
And of course, the conversations are free as well. While you can only start a conversation with someone you match with, I actually find that’s a plus. Otherwise, and girls you know, men will bombard and hound you to the end of cyberland. Additionally, you can also report a conversation or block a user (from the conversations tab.)
If suggestions from friends isn’t working for you, the Facebook app does offer a unique feature in which you can get match suggestions from your events. You can also get suggestions from groups you are in. Or add someone you’re interested in as a secret crush. (A little grade school, but okay. Still, it’s totally unique and kind of cute.)
Overall I thought, compared to other dating apps, that the Facebook dating app was rather lacking. I’m looking for more features and a better pool of people to choose from. On the other hand, Facebook does a pretty decent job at deleting fake profiles and preventing bots. So you’re less likely (as a man) to end up with matches who are looking for a pay for sex kind of deal. Or worse a porn site. While I didn’t have luck with the Facebook dating app this time, I do plan to reevaluate it down the road once it’s become more popular.
It is important to note, that unlike the disastrous attempt at online dating after my second (ever so brief) marriage, I went wading into this adventure like a champ. I have my shit together, the perimenopause is properly supplemented, and more importantly, I don’t get freaked out meeting someone stone cold sober. #forthewin