Using Tinder abroad can be exciting and a great way to meet locals, but it’s important to use it safely especially if you want to meet up with people. I am going to give advice based on my experiences as a 20-year-old straight cis white woman and keep in mind that everyone’s circumstance is different.
I use Tinder as a way to meet people from an area, not for random hookups. When I first got to Dublin, I swiped on a lot of people and started talking to many of them. When I invest time talking to a person, I ensure they meet my safety criteria. First, I never talk to anyone who is an obvious catfish (when they have just a few model-esque photos and that’s it). I am also careful when it comes to age and don’t like to meet with people older than 24, although that is a personal preference. I generally look for guys with at least four different pictures of themselves doing various activities. Back in Boulder I climb and hike a fair bit, so I also look for outdoorsy or adventurous people. I also try to talk to whoever it is enough on the app that I can deduce if they seem normal.
When it comes to meeting up with people, I am adamant about two rules: ALWAYS meet in a public place, like a coffee shop, beer garden, or restaurant, and follow any instinct. If I have a weird gut feeling I always follow it and thanks to that I have never been caught in a weird situation. When I was in Dublin I met up with quite a few people from Tinder and ended up making some close friends. One of them was a climber who invited me to a climbing gym. We both had a friend join as well which is great if doing something casual because it makes for a friendly environment while also providing a backup if something goes wrong. This time, the three climbers we ended up hanging out with were very down-to-earth and we all got along instantly. My friend and I invited them to come to an awesome rock bar/beer garden (that I highly recommend if you are in Dublin, it has an excellent atmosphere!) called Fibber Magee’s and we played pool there until 2 a.m. The next week they invited me to come to climb outdoors with them in Dalkey, an old quarry with the only outdoor climbing near Dublin. I met a dozen Irish college students through the one initial encounter and am so thankful to have made lasting friendships with some of them.
That said, not every encounter goes that well. There were many people from all over that I met for a drink or coffee that I never saw again. None were rude or mean, but we didn’t have any connection and I didn’t feel the need to hang out again. If you are going to use Tinder abroad make sure you are going to be able to communicate with the person—language barriers are very real and contrary to popular belief not everyone speaks English! Also, be careful with yourself and always tell someone where you are headed and have a fail-safe in case you need to get out of a bad meet-up. In the end, I love using Tinder to meet locals abroad and better understand a place and its people and culture. If used cautiously it can be one of the best ways to discover an unknown side of a country!
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Stella is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Colorado Boulder, where her goal is to always have at least one foot out of her comfort zone. When she is not on the engineering grind, she is passionate about playing guitar, backpacking, climbing, dancing, or really anything that will get her outside and soaking up the sunshine. Being raised in a French/English bilingual household, she grew up with an appreciation for other cultures and traveling. As she continues on her journey toward adulthood, she hopes to keep experiencing the unfamiliar and become an increasingly global citizen.