Beware The Tinder Tourist


Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Madison
Comment: I met a man on tinder who lives two hours drive away from me around 3-4 months ago. He happened to be in my vicinity because he travels to my town for business occasionally. After a series of failed dates with other people over long distance (I live in a small town, not known for its high quality selection of men), I was sceptical about dating an out of Towner, but when he asked me to have a drink one day, I said yes. I wasn’t hugely optimistic about the date; in fact, I rather thought he was out of my league. But I went anyway.

So the date happened and I actually thought it went rather poorly. He ticked all the right boxes (genuinely, he wasn’t talking himself up at all), but I felt like we didn’t click. So I was surprised when he kissed me at the end of the date! I went home very confused as I’ve been in situations where I’ve thought the date had gone so well only for the guy to think otherwise, so this was the total opposite. In any case, after a few texts to establish that I had a good night, I hardly heard from him again. Maybe the odd snapchat or text, but nothing to suggest he was interested in seeing me again. So I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. When he was local again, he did message me and ask me out (first time I wasn’t available, second time I met for another drink for an hour and that was it), but it was 3-4 months between these two dates, I genuinely believed he wasn’t going to follow through and wonder what his motives are.

I know a few things: one) he lives far away and isn’t often in town, two) he was overseas for a month and three); he’s been moving into a new house. But I can’t believe that a person exists who would bother a girl for a date or two and not text in between or at least try to get to know her?! Should I approach him and ask his intentions? Or scramble like I did after the first date and turn down future offers for drinks? I don’t want to waste me time or get too invested.
Age: 26
City: Chicago
State: Illinois

But I can’t believe that a person exists who would bother a girl for a date or two and not text in between or at least try to get to know her?!

I think you’ve answered your own question.  You’re right. A person who was sincerely interested in dating you would attempt to get to know you. He’s not doing that. Instead, he’s investing the lowest amount of effort required to maintain a connection so that, when he’s back in town, he can hit you up. Maybe he’ll get laid. Maybe he won’t. He’s not devoting enough attention or money or time to care all that much either way.

The beauty (and the curse) of Tinder and similar apps is that they offer the illusion that someone is nearby or local when they aren’t. You match with them and then they eventually  tell you they aren’t close by. But by then, you’re just glad to be actually messaging with someone so you go with it. That’s what they’re hoping for. And that’s exactly what you did, despite having numerous experiences to reflect upon that suggest dates with guys like this rarely go well.

Here’s what he’s doing: He travels a lot, probably for work, and so he’s got a few women in various cities he keeps minimal contact with and sees when he’s in their vicinity. That’s it. That’s what most of the Tinder Tourists do.

As for whether or not he was out of your league, my guess is he was. I only say that because a very high percentage of my Tinder matches are with out of towners that I know – I KNOW – probably wouldn’t look twice at me if they lived local. Those guys know that they have to lower the bar a bit because they are from out of town and that many women will pass them right by once they learn that fact. Go to your Tinder profile and type the line “Tourists, please swipe left” at the bottom of your bio. Problem (mostly) solved.




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26 Responses to “Beware The Tinder Tourist”

  1. fuzzilla Says:

    **The beauty (and the curse) of Tinder and similar apps is that they offer the illusion that someone is nearby or local when they aren’t.**

    OK, so I’ve never used Tinder, but doesn’t it filter by location like every other dating site? Or you only see location after the picture?

    **Should I approach him and ask his intentions? Or scramble like I did after the first date and turn down future offers for drinks? I don’t want to waste me time or get too invested.**

    I’m not really sure what “scramble like I did and turn down future offers” means. Blow off this dude? Turn down offers from other guys because you’re so into this dude? If you’re looking for a relationship, move on, but you could keep in touch while playing his game and keep a posse of casual hookups for yourself.

    • Donnie K Says:

      Tinder filters based on location. We’re both Tinder users.
      You live and work in NYC.
      I live in LA but travel to NYC regularly for business.
      When I travel to NYC for business I may come up as a potential match for you and despite living 3000 miles away, I’ll come up as being within a few miles. Unless I list in my profile that I’m from LA, you would never know unless I told you. This is one of Tinder’s many flaws. For the record, consider yourself lucky that you’ve never used Tinder. It’s format encourages flaky behavior.

  2. uesider Says:

    If someone is visiting then Tinder shows them as local, but sometimes it says “swiping in xxxxcity” to distinguish from residents. The match radius is computed from the smartphone location finder, not where the user claims to be.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Ah. So it’s the GPS location you’re at right that second, not where you live. Yeah, that must happen a lot in NYC. I live in the middle of nowhere, so it didn’t even occur to me. ;o)

  3. Nia Says:

    I am rarely the one to draw a hard line or make generalizations, but it’s so, so unlikely that you’re going to meet your soulmate on Tinder. The app is set up to facilitate attraction-based hookups for casual encounters (and almost everyone on there understands that). Of course, you could find an exception to that rule, but I think it’s best to just go on that understanding and then be pleasantly surprised if a Tinder Guy turns into a Long Term Guy.

    • Dave Says:

      I agree. You never know what could happen…I know several couples who met on CL (and are by far the exception). But my online dating experiences have gotten much better since I stopped wasting my time on Tinder. It seems to be one big freak show.

    • SS Says:

      I agree. I wouldn’t use Tinder if you paid me a million dollars.

      IMO the desire to make a value judgement about a potential partner in 5 seconds flat is mutually exclusive with the desire for a long term relationship built on substantive compatibility.

      • UESider Says:

        Ironically, given the truth of your post, about 70% of the profiles for women say “no hookups.”

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          Exactly. Even more ironically, 90% of the women who claim Tinder is just a “hook up” site have profiles on there with just such a disclaimer. It’s because they’re not like “other girls” as they are unique in looking for something other than sex.

          A lot people like pissing into the wind too. Breaking news, I guess.

          • SS Says:

            “90% of the women who claim Tinder is just a “hook up” site have profiles on there with just such a disclaimer.”


          • Dave Says:

            Yep…I see lots of those “no hook ups!!!” disclaimers on OKC and Match as well. It’s especially fascinating when all of their pictures are close up cleavage/boob shots…along with those stylish lying on the bed upside down blowing kissies shots. In lingerie, of course. ;)

            • SS Says:

              LOL. Exactly.

              I also love the ones that put “No Drama” and then launch into a tirade about what they hate about their ex or the opposite sex in general.


          • Isambard Says:

            Now I can’t piss into the wind too?

            This list of things I need to do to be successful at dating is getting too long, I mean:

            Be polite,
            Don’t stalk,
            Don’t piss into the wind,

            Good thing I’m strong on perseverance!

          • Nia Says:

            I think one reason women post “no hookups!” is that the perception of a woman who has casual sex easily is so negative, that they feel they must put a disclaimer if they’re on a site known for its casual sex vibe. That way men won’t be like “if she does it with me, how many other men has she done it with?” (a sentiment I DO NOT agree with, btw!)
            Of course, some women could be cluelessly putting it there thinking that it will weed out creeps (totally won’t), but I think most who put ‘no hookups’ are just covering their bases, so to speak.

      • bbdawg Says:

        I agree in principle that Tinder can and does invite the casuals BUT what it does brilliantly is facilitate meeting people. I mean you NEVER know, no matter how detailed someone’s profile is, what they are like in person.

        And yes I am one of the women who had “no hook ups” sign on there…it works though. Met some great people on there, fell in love with someone I would not have cared about if I had based it on some profile text. Tinder can be great if you are in the mood to meet people without having a lot of expectations. As long as you are open-minded, it can be interesting.

        “No hookups” just meant you can unmatch instantly when you get the sex pest type dudes. Or you can walk out from some “date” if the guy says “he’s not looking for anything serious right now”.

        The problem of Tinder isn’t necessarily “casual sex” pests, it’s the low investment/shrugged shoulder model. You just stop caring after a while. The person I ended up liking from there happened to have invited me for dinner and I always wonder if that is what made the difference. When meeting people becomes too easy a bit more effort makes a huge difference.

        If I were to go back to dating now, I’d probably go on Match. I sometimes browse through Tinder but it can be a waste of time if you’re not in the mood for LOTS of quick coffee or drink meetings.

        • Dave Says:

          I think we’re talking about different apps, but age and location definitely seems to be a factor. Tinder in my opinion took the oft seen shallowness of OKC and magnified it by a factor of 10. Again, if it works for you, great, but not my cup of tea.

          I’m not on dating sites for casual hookups…but when I see the no hookups banner and the myriad of other disclaimers that follow, I stop reading, hit the back button and focus my attention elsewhere. There are better ways to demonstrate your personal preferences other than blunt disclaimers.

  4. Maurlina Says:

    I’ve had a 4 month relationship from tinder and now have been with my new bf for 4 months also from tinder. It might be an age and expectation thing. My expectation was to meet a good guy that could turn into a meaningful relationship but I’m not looking for marriage right now. My guys were looking for the same. Our ages were 24/27 and 25/28.

  5. Maurlina Says:

    I think the way people choose to present themselves online is very telling. We all make judgements and assumptions when we meet someone. And we all have a type whether we admit or not. Tinder is not perfect but no method is. I made judgements based on whether I thought my matches seemed like they live happy and active lifestyles based on their pictures and bios. That method was successful for me.

    • Dave Says:

      Sorry, but I call hogwash on the type thing. I had a discussion a few days ago with a married friend about online dating (something she tried without success and then met married someone she met offline). I was telling her that many women in my age range (mid 30s to early 40s) come across as extremely picky and entitled in their profiles and she said “oh, they’re not being picky, they just don’t want to settle! Especially when they hit their late 30s. Everyone has a type you know!”

      I had to disengage (she’s in her early 30s, btw) since I don’t quite understand how spending an hour with someone over drinks who may not meet your laundry list of requirements is “settling”. To me settling would be staying in a relationship with someone who is clearly bad for us and creates friction and drama (BTDT – last time was in my 20s, never again).

      However, pulling ones head of ones ass and seeing people for who they really are (vs what type they are or what you want them to be) seems to be a better mindset to be in. At least for me.

      • SS Says:

        Can’t like this comment enough.

        I see the red flags when someone says they are picky OR they don’t want to settle. Women AND men do it.

        Surely by that age one would have learned that superficialities don’t keep you warm in bed and they *definitely* don’t make a great relationship.

        I am picky and unwilling to settle, but my “laundry list” consists of: compatible, kind, tolerant, intelligent. The rest is BS IMHO.

      • Maurlina Says:

        When I say type I don’t mean I must date 6′ or taller blonde man who plays guitar and makes $100,000+. I mean that think it is both normal and reasonable that I gravitate towards men with a similar activity levels as me, polical and religious leanings, and are generally positive/optimistic.

        My last bf was a short, lean Indian guy who came from a wealth my current is a Latino giant that came from the hood but the “type” they both satisfied for me is: kind, hardworking, liberal, nonreligious, very passionate about their respective athletic activities, intellectual, and outgoing/happy.

        I truly believe there are types we gravitate to whether concious ly or not. In general I’m not compatible with a moody artist type or investment banker frat star type. I’d rather focus efforts with the “type” I’ll most likely have a compatible lifestyle with.

  6. Bree Says:

    Those “visiting” Sex Tourist guys are on all the dating sites, not just Tinder. On OkCupid they’re the headless-torso creeps “in town for the next few days” and can’t show their face because they’re soooo important at work, who want to grab a drink to see if there’s any “chemistry.” Barf.

    There’s just a whole lot of men like this who join dating sites in the hopes of scoring free escort/webcam/naked photos/cybersex/phone sex and nothing more.

    They’re probably the ones who get the most outraged about “scammers” on dating sites; the cam-girls and prostitutes whose services are EXACTLY what they are looking for, but just don’t want to pay for it.

  7. Brita Long Says:

    I had to laugh simply because my younger brother (22) uses Tinder when he travels. He even had a few dates with a girl while in San Antonio for my wedding! (Our family is from South Carolina). So if you want to have fun, a Tinder tourist can be that. But they’re definitely not looking for a relationship.

  8. YankeeRoyal Says:

    I’ve dated several good guys off tinder (4-8 dates or so) and I’ve gotten very good at screening out the douches. Maybe it’s my area (I’m in the UK, but am American) or my age group, but once I filter them, most of the hookup only guys and weirdos fall through and there have been plenty of good ones left.

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