The five stages of explaining your Tinder S/O to your parents

In the early stages it’s best to prepare for the worst.

I’d first like to say that congratulations are in order, you’ve done the unthinkable! You’ve successfully converted a right swipe on Tinder into a steady boyfriend or girlfriend. How about a round of applause?

Yes, building and maintaining a brand new relationship is hard but you know what’s going to present even more of a challenge? Explaining to your parents how you met.

I’ve never had to introduce my parents to a Tinder match because none of my Tinder matches have resulted in long-term commitment (read: more than three dates). But when I imagine that scenario I first spiral into complete panic and then I see the following stages unfold.


Stage One: Confusion

This will vary depending on how close your parents keep up with technology. My dad only discovered YouTube this past year and has never owned a cell phone, so you can only imagine his thoughts on dating apps. On the other hand, you parents might be fully invested in social media and paragraph-long Facebook statuses. That said, let’s meet somewhere in the middle

You’ll most likely get questions like, “Wait, you met online? It wasn’t through an ad, was it?” No mother, it wasn’t through an ad because it’s not 1993 and I’m not an escort.

It’s important to be patient at this step and not come across too defensive. Even if it seem like your mom HAS to be pretending to not understand what you’re telling her just to mess with you because there is no way she’s this slow. Breathe, answer the question, breathe, repeat as much as necessary.

Stage Two: Disapproval

In the early stages it’s best to prepare for the worst. Assume your parents saw some morning talk show segment that discussed this salacious hook-up app and how it’s all about sex and clearly ruining western civilization as we know it.

If this is the case, give your parents a lesson in false stigma. You are after all their son or daughter and they should trust your judgment. Be prepared to sit through a minimum of three “Well when I was young…” stories. Just smile, nod and keep reminding them that dating has changed.

Stage Three: More Confusion

The confusion stage will never end. Should I have mentioned this before? Be prepared to answer the same questions over and over, and then a few more times if you plan to bring Tinder Jane or John to any other family get-togethers.

Wait, what’s the deal with the swipes? Will you be notified each time someone rejects you?

Ok fine, that last one was my question when I first downloaded the app.

Stage Four: Curiosity

Once the initial confusion and disapproval wear off and your parents start getting more curious about your experiences with the app you know you’re near the finish line. You’ll get questions like,

“So can I see it?” “Who have you met using the app?” “How do you go from messaging to actual dates?” “What constitutes a right from a left swipe?”

These are all valid questions and show that mom and dad are really trying to better understand the ~mystery~ of Tinder.

Stage Five: Approval

You survived! Approval is the last stage and this is when your parents will see and acknowledge how happy you are with Tinder Jane or John. And it won’t matter how you met.

That’s the good news, now the bad.

Depending on the length of your relationship, you will have to repeat this process when introducing him or her to the rest of your immediate and extended family. Let’s see, there’s aunt Jackie and Denny, your two older brothers, your weird cousin Keaton, a step grandma you only see once a year and a distant second cousin who always forwards you chain letters. So you have two options, suck it up and just do it, or, you know, break up to save yourself the hassle. One of those options is better (read: more sane/responsible/humane) than the other.