Dating app Bumble is trying to put an end to ghosting

And ‘racking up’ matches you don’t reply to


Much of ‘dating’ is dispiriting. It’s probably always been that way, but modernity – specifically the intrusion of apps and smartphones – exaggerates the dispiriting elements (uncertainty, rejection, feelings).

Furthermore, the modern approach enables the persistence of a certain type of misogyny. The relative anonymity of dating apps mean some men feel able to behave in ways they likely wouldn’t in real life. Women complain of aggressive or unpleasant approaches on apps (mainly Tinder; usually unrequested dick pics). On the other hand, according to Fortune Magazine, 80 per cent of ‘millennials’ (that term overused to designate us) have been ‘ghosted’ at some point. Both boys and girls, gay and straight, have something to do with the discomfiting dating landscape.

‘Innovators’ keep at it, though. Last summer, Whitney Wolfe, a former employee at Tinder, launched Bumble. It purports to be a feminist dating app: when women get a match, they have to message first, and within a 24-hour window. Now, Wolfe claims she has introduced a feature that will ‘prevent’ ghosting.

In an interview with Mashable, she says she has changed the messaging feature. While women had to message their match within 24 hours, or it would disappear, men then had as long as they wanted to reply to her initial message. Now, men also have to reply to that first contact within 24 hours.

Bumble infographic

Infographic: Bumble

It could help preclude the dating ‘limbo’ of protracted correspondence: girls will know that if a guy hasn’t got back to them in 24 hours, they’re not going to. But Wolfe argues it’s also about making correspondence more meaningful and discerning, pointing out that the limitation means neither side can “rack up” their number of matches anymore. “It’s helping [to] objectify women less”.

Perhaps it’ll work, or perhaps we’ll find new ways to ignore each other.