My best friend Abigail here in Taiwan was busy for a few days so I needed to find something to do to fill the time. Since I have arrived she has filled my afternoons with amazing places to see, but I wanted to find another person here in town to show me around.
Tinder is a superficial dating/meetup/hookup app that you pick people based off of a swipe right if you think they are attractive, or a swipe left if you think they are unattractive. In the US I found that this app is ineffective because women are harassed so much by men that it is very difficult to have a real conversation or find a connection. Unfortunately, there isn’t a version of this focused on making friends(At least none that I know of, maybe I should write one!)
In Taiwan, things are a bit different. It is very unusual for you to approach a stranger and speak with them, so the amount of street harassment towards women is very low(it seems to me, I am a man).
What this means is that using Tinder here in Taiwan is a completely different experience. Within 30 minutes of using the app, I had 20 matches who all wanted to talk to me. I had 4-5 women(I wish there was a simple way for me to find men to talk to as well) who all wanted to meet me at a coffee shop, practice their English, and learn about my culture. It was great because out of this I was able to get a few new friends to fill my time and continue to learn about Taiwan.
One person, Yvonne who is a student here in Taipei, stood out and was very interested in showing me around. She actually planned out a bunch of places for us to explore and took me up and down the main river here in Taipei to see some of the natural sights here.
I have been hesitant to continue my travels without Abigail or a different friend. I want to go to Seoul, South Korea and stay in Japan for a while. Since it is unusual to just walk up to strangers in Asia, I wasn’t going to walk up to people and ask if they wanted to hang out with me. The idea of being in Seoul alone didn’t appeal to me either, especially since I don’t speak any Korean. Tinder at least will allow me to find someone who is interested in spending time with me in every country and city I go to!
For now I will continue to use Tinder in my travels to meet people nearby. It is handy, and location based so the people you are matched with are normally less than 10 minutes away from you. If you know of another app that is similar to find someone for conversation, please let me know in the comments.