"Female students talk partners, hook-ups and friendships through Tinder"

"It's a match!"

To some Tinder users, those simple words mean sex will soon follow.

To others, the statement could lead to a variety of things - awkward conversation, a source of entertainment for the next few hours, a friendship or even a serious relationship.

A growing number of UB students and smartphone users around the nation are using Tinder, a free app for iPhone and Android that finds men or women in the user's proximity who are also registered for the app. If two people express interest in each other, by each user clicking on the screen to signify "yes" on the other person's photo, the app connects them. It's the fastest-growing mobile dating service in the country, according to GQ Magazine.

The dating application creates 6 million matches a day, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen told USA Today. He and his partner, Sean Rad, originally marketed the app to college students; 50 percent of Tinder users are 18 to 24 years old, according to USA Today.

Betsy Bianco, a licensed clinical social worker and outreach coordinator for UB Counseling Services, said her office sees a lot of people who are using dating apps and seem to like it. At the same time, though, she believes the app "has its cons, like any other form of finding someone does."

For Claudine Strong*, a senior communication major, the app allowed her to rekindle an old friendship, though it didn't work out in the end.

Tinder notified her that she had been matched with an old friend. The two started talking, and her match asked her if she wanted to catch up over drinks. Strong agreed to meet up and engage in her first official "Tinder date."

"I slept with him, but I didn't technically meet him on the app," Strong said. "I think the app is a helpful tool under certain circumstances, but I wouldn't recommend meeting up with someone that you have never met before or have no mutual friends with because that could possibly turn into a dangerous situation."

Strong gives Tinder full credit for reuniting her with an old fling. But she is currently in a relationship with someone she met in person - which is the more ideal way to meet someone, she said.

Amber Rijos, a junior speech and hearing sciences major, uses the app approximately once a week with her friends to browse potential men. She likes how the app connects her with people on campus but not in her same "friend group." She has yet to date anyone through the app. She said guys have sent her "cheesy" and "creepy" pick-up lines.

Some college students use Tinder as a source of entertainment.

Dani Guglielmo, a sophomore communication major, said she and her friends send random song lyrics to their matches, just to be funny.

"If you're shy and don't like to approach people in person, it could be a good way to meet someone," Guglielmo said. "But it's just so easy to mess with people on the app. So it's hard to find a successful relationship when you don't actually know who's on the other side of the phone."

Chrissie Han*, a sophomore intended medical technology major, joined Tinder because she was bored during December break. But in her case, she met some potential matches. In just one month, she met six men in person.

"There are two guys that I'm still talking to ... I plan on seeing them again when I go back home for breaks," Han said. "There have been two others that I enjoyed being around, so we continue to text on and off. And then two more guys that I never spoke to again after the first date because there wasn't anything that really kept me interested."

Han had sex with the two Tinder matches whom she still talks to regularly.

"I didn't think I would enjoy [Tinder] as much as I did," Han said. "I just joined out of curiosity and boredom."

She said Tinder is helpful for college students if they want to have fun and potentially get serious in the future. She said, however, she comes across "creeps" and guys "only looking for a quickie." Han encourages Tinder users to be careful.

*These names have been changed to protect the sources' anonymity.

email: features@ubspectrum.com