Grindr gets a bad reputation from a lot of gay guys but I think a lot of good can come from Grindr. Today, let’s look at is there any good in Grindr and other gay hookup apps or is Grindr toxic? How you can use Grindr for friendship, and my own story of how a Grindr hookup turned into one of my best friends.
I recorded this video from a Grindr hook-up’s bed. But not one that I met last night…
Over the past few years, this particular drunken Grindr hookup as become one of my best friends. So today, I want to explore the good parts of Grindr and other gay hookup apps, and share some tips on how you can (hopefully) avoid some of the traps and toxicity of them.
Grindr sometimes gets this reputation that everyone on there is superficial, that people are looking for sex, that they aren’t looking for relationships, that it’s a bunch of flakes, and if that’s what you think, you’re not wrong. That is definitely a part of the Grindr experience, but I don’t think that’s the whole experience.
I’ve met some of my best friends on the apps.
I met my boyfriend of 10 years, Peter, on Connexion.org (with an X!), which no longer exists. I met my boyfriend Matt who I’ve been with for 2 and a half years on Grindr. I met other good friends on sites and apps like Adam4Adam, Scruff, and Recon… and of course I met this friend that I’m staying with on Grindr a few years ago.
I hear from some folks that if you meet someone on Grindr it’s just sex and it can’t be a relationship, or that if you have sex with someone right away, or if you have a one night stand with someone, or if you have a drunken hook-up with them, then that’s all it can ever be. That there’s is like no fluidity between hook-up and relationship, or hook-up and friend, or friend and a relationship. And that’s just not been my experience of how my relationships have worked.
For many years I had the idea that if a relationship was going to be meaningful and long lasting, if they were husband material, then it had to start and look a certain way.
I couldn’t sleep with them right away…
I had to be sexually conservative…
We had to go on “real dates”…
As queer people, we’ve been told that our sexuality is something bad, devious and something that we should keep hidden and that’s really easy to internalize that, and keep it, try and wall that off from other parts of our relationships, other types of relationships. But I think that sex can be a fun and fulfilling part of a friend relationship and it can also serve as the foundation of a solid long-term romantic relationship.
So here are some tips that have worked for me in navigating Grindr and other hook-up or dating apps, with a little bit more ease and a little bit less stress…
Get clear on what you want, and be clear about that with people you’re talking to.
If you know that you just wanna fuck, own that.
And if you know that you’re looking for dates and ultimately a long-term partnership, that’s okay too.
The first step is to know that within yourself and then the second step is to share that with the people that you’re talking to. And that might change from moment to moment.
Often times I’m open to a wide range of options and I get nervous that I’m gonna say the wrong thing. That I’m gonna come across as too needy, too aggressive, too eager, too horny, and I’m gonna turn off the person.
What I’ve been trying to practice recently is to trust that it’s okay to scare some people away by being direct with what I want and what I’m looking for. That way I don’t end up endlessly scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling…
If you’re willing to let the people who are never gonna meet up with you fall by the wayside, being direct will help you find out the ones that do wanna meet up, who do connect with you, who are clicking with you faster.
Let go of expectations about what this relationship will be.
I know that when I was single, every time that I met someone that I thought was cute, it was like, “I wanna hook-up with you so that I can be as close as possible with you, so that we can start dating as quickly as possible, so that we can get married and be together forever.” I was so desperate to find that “one and only” who would “be my other half” and “complete me” and lead me to eternal happiness.
For me is was helpful to loosen up my grip of exactly what I was looking for, exactly what that person was supposed to look like, exactly what that persons personality was supposed to be like, where I was supposed to meet them, the way that our relationship was supposed to progress. To be open to the people that were already in my life, paying attention to the energy that I was exchanging with people and being willing to follow that even if it didn’t follow this narrative of a Hollywood love story that I thought I was looking for.
Let relationships evolve
People that I started off hooking up with that I thought maybe were going to turn into dates, but actually we became just good friends. People that I’ve been friends with for years and years and years that I thought I would always be platonic with, to them finding a sexual connection with later.
And also remember to honor that sometime, the relationship isn’t right for you right now. You’re not gonna click, you’re gonna be good partners for each other, maybe you won’t even be good at being friends, maybe you won’t even hookup in the first place.I
I’ have for sure gotten my heart broken more times than I can count while dating… that’s just part of the game.
Grindr, Scruff, Recon, Adam4Adam, and all those other gay hookup and dating apps have brought so many amazing, wonderful people into my life that have become dear, dear, dear friends.
Some of whom are part of my chosen family. And I couldn’t have let that happen if I had relegated everyone that I met with or everyone that I ever had sex with to this category of, “oh you’re just a hook-up and you can be nothing more.”
By opening up my heart and making space for these people, I’m letting those relationships be what they want to be. And that has enriched my life in so many ways.
I know that there are a lot of shitty experiences out there on Grindr but there can also be so much goodness there and so I wanna offer this counter narrative. I know it’s like pretty popular to trash on the dating sites and to say that meeting a guy at a bar, or at a party, or through your friends, or at church, is “the better” way to do it and I’ve definitely met guys that way and I know people who have met their partners that way and those are great things as well, but the apps can be a really great way of connecting queer folks together.
So yeah, I’m really thankful for Grindr and all of the apps in my life. I would love to hear from you. What are some of your Grindr or hook-up app success stories? Share them in the comments over on YouTube.