How do young people meet in Haliburton County?
Although online dating has been around for a while, apps are a relatively new trend in the Highlands
By Vanessa Balintec
According to the 2016 Census, about a third of Haliburton is single. For those aged 15 or older, 10,725 are married or living common law. About 5,615 are single, separated, divorced, or widowed. For those who are dating, how are they meeting people?
With a population that leans 40 and older, it’s especially hard for young people to meet those around their age. For those new to the area, other than going to community events, using dating and meeting apps helps people make connections.
Although online dating platforms such as Match, eHarmony and POF (PlentyOfFish) have been around since the early ’90s and 2000s, phone dating apps came about more recently and have become a popular method of meeting new people.
According to Haliburton resident and Tindr user Jesse, 18, although the online experience can be good, sometimes using it within a small dating pool poses awkward encounters.
“Being in a small town makes it a little bit weird ‘cause even if you don’t know the person that well and you want to start talking, they may know things about you without you even telling them,” he said.
Apps such as Tindr, Bumble, and Hily are online platforms designed to connect people in a given area by “liking,” swiping on, and sending a message after viewing one’s profile. Users can chat with one another to determine compatibility and decide if they want to take their new relationship offline and meet in person.
A quick inspection of those using the dating apps Tindr, Bumble, and Hily turned up several of the same users – it seems those who use one app tend to use similar ones.
Sarah, 20, works in Dorset and has been using dating apps such as Tindr and Bumble on and off for close to two years. According to Sarah, using dating apps has led to crazy stories and experiences, a few friendships here and there, a long string of disappointments for relationships, and many unwanted messages.
“I wouldn’t say it’s good for meeting people my age,” said Sarah. “Using the apps up north isn’t really worth it. There aren’t a whole lot of young people who live up here. Mostly they tend to be people who aren’t as fun or smart as they made themselves seem.”
Dating apps provide numerous advantages that real-life dating doesn’t. At the swipe of your thumb, you have access to dozens of people as long as they swipe back. It also allows you to meet people outside of your immediate area – since Haliburton County is big and sparsely populated, it helps connect people from different corners of the county, and gives the opportunity to meet people outside the area, for those willing to travel.
Dating apps, although having romantic implications, often end up in friendships. And for people who are naturally shy in person, such as Haliburton resident James, this method of dating and meeting new people goes around the regular hurdles of social interaction.
James, who asked that his name be changed, says he’s lived in the area his entire life. His friends have found success using apps, especially as cottage season rolls around with the influx of new people. But through personal experience, James says some people get more attention than others, and not everyone is who they seem.
“Most accounts are fake or people pretending they’re someone else,” said James. “Pretty people get all the consideration.”
Another man, who asked that his name not be used, has worked in Dorset. Almost all of his friends have met someone off Tindr one way or another. He’s met a few people off the app, but nothing special arose from the encounters. Through his experience, he thinks girls may have an easier time on the app.
“Guys are expected to work harder and approach them with clever pickup lines,” he said. “Not once in my year on Tindr have I had a girl message me first.”
He thinks sometimes Tindr isn’t used as purely a dating app. “Just like any social media, there is that underlying toxic behaviour where you use it as a means of gratification and to give self-worth through likes and matches.”
Dating apps, while giving a new dimension to dating, comes with its pros and cons. Although Haliburton is far from the city and is filled with an older, married demographic, dating apps have found their way in and aren’t leaving any time soon.