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Only 20 percent of the 200 students surveyed by campus jobs start-up Way Up said they used the app for casual sex, and less than a third said they were looking for a significant other. At least a few people are indeed looking for friends on Tinder, Paul said, which she knows because she’s met some of them, but they weren’t college students.
Students are already surrounded by loads of people their own age with similar interests and plenty of opportunity to interact, she explained -- a near-perfect petri dish for incubating friendships.“It’s easier than going out to a party, especially if you’re someone who doesn't like partying that much or just wants to study …but at the same time, the way it is marketed is detrimental to finding friends.” In other words, it’s a dating app. Tinder itself has, in the past, insisted its users aren’t only in search of hollow, loveless encounters. Studies from the University of Michigan will gladly ‘prove’ it.” In her article, Dewey rounds up a number of studies and papers with differing conclusions including one that looked at the same data set Paul did for her research but found a far rosier outcome (namely that relationship quality and strength is similar online and off). But is it possible students are also using Tinder not for sex but to find friends? There’s certainly reason to be skeptical, experts say, but there might be a kernel of truth there.More than half of college students in a recent survey said they were using Tinder and other dating apps (but mostly Tinder) to find friends, not hookups. “That seems a little bit of a stretch,” said Aditi Paul, a Ph. candidate at Michigan State University whose research has found online daters tend to break up faster and more often and are less likely to end up married than their off-line counterparts.
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It’s not impossible that casual romantic encounters might morph into friendships, Paul said, but for students “to look at these apps through just those friendships seems like a little bit of a stretch.” Also, Paul noted, it’s entirely possible that students weren’t entirely forthcoming with their answers.