29/08/2014 09:54 BST | Updated 28/10/2014 05:59 GMT


In a phenomenon now affectionately referred to as the Tinderella syndrome, psychologists claim we're damaging our love lives and ability to flirt by spending too much time communicating on screen.

We should've known it was too good to be true. Just as we thought we'd cracked the code to finding what, throughout history, guys and girls have given much air-time to: finding a mate/person you fancy, we're told to have a serious re-think by the powers that be in science land. It turns out we're supposedly getting worse at the ol' game of love with matchmaking sites and apps to blame. Great news.

Apparently, we're now staying single for longer because we've lost our natural charms when approaching love interests in real life. We're also becoming incredibly picky; when you've got so many potential matches to swipe through online, why invest time in meeting people offline? We're in constant touch with all the major players in our lives and so the need to psychically meet up is massively lessened. We're all at it. And romance is heading that way too. Don't blame Tinder, I say - blame the general cultural shift.

It makes sense when you think about it, it's pretty difficult now to conceive of a life without an online profile, in whatever shape that may be. We almost doubly existent now, firstly as human beings (with hair, voices and hearts - both literal and metaphorical) but also as a twitter handle, Facebook profile, Instagram feed... the list goes on. This lifestyle works when our profiles' purpose is to connect with friends, family, colleagues, yada yada who already know us, but we're bound to run into problems when we're using this cyber model to create new relationships (cue Tinder et al).

So why is this? Well, we simply aren't profiles. No profile, (whether an image-only or witty-140-character-soundbite affair) is ever going to convey an actual person. This is where the Tinderella syndrome kicks in. (The profile stuff is just my personal bugbear - I do like an overshare). What psychologists are warning us about is the communication that goes on via Tinder etc. and by association the lack of communication that then goes on in, what I like to call, The Real World.

But let's face it, dating is simpler online. If it get's awkward - drag to trash, if stalling for your next witty line - phone a friend, if it's over - click next. With its endless stream of romantic options there's just no need to get stuck with Mr./Miss Dullsville. Another killer advantage is the opportunity to get clued up on all said person's important info after a good stalk of their profile. We can then make an educated guess as to whether a date with them would be one to remember for all the wrong, or right, reasons. With all this to offer, Tinder and pals are the clear winners. Soz, chance/fate/meeting through friend-of-friend etc.

But do psychologists like Emma Kenny, who brought the Tinderella syndrome to my attention, have a point? To some extent, yes! The thought of people stuck behind their screens scared to go old-school and chat someone up in person is a little sad and let's face it - not cool. But that's an extreme scenario, hamming up our new online dating habits. As long as we're using Tinder as the tool that it is, rather than as a part of our romantic furniture, I think we're getting the best of both worlds. Moral of the story? Engage in the real world and be more than a profile so you can reap the organised-fun rewards of Tinder and Co.