This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Kritti Bhalla. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Being On Tinder Made Me Stronger And Boosted My Self-Esteem. Here’s How

More from Kritti Bhalla

As technology takes over and becomes a major part of our life, it affects everything we are surrounded by. Everything is becoming technologically advance, from grocery shopping, to travelling, to even maintaining friendships. In this complex and constantly changing world, we tend to look for connections wherever we can find them.

With Taylor Swift singing in the background, hiding under a blanket to avoid the eyes of my roommate, I would cry my heart out. Things were not so great around this time a year ago. One of my low points, life was no less than a teenage drama series. Maybe it was the sadness of losing on a love interest, or the fact that I lost almost everyone I was close to. Every day, I would put my happy face on and repeat the same routine. I was scared to talk about all the things that had gone wrong. I wanted to distract myself. I wanted someone to pour out my heart to, but with losing out on people I considered my friends, there was not much.

For a person who was always on her toes, always running away from all the emotions by being under the umbrella of social gatherings, coming face to face with all those emotions standing like a gigantic rock right in front of my eyes was a huge distress. So, I packed all my insecurities, heartache and awkwardness in a baggage and found another medium to run away from it all. I decided to download Tinder, a dating app. I had always judged people for being on Tinder to “make friends”. For God sakes, it is a dating app! I never thought that I would be one of those people someday. NEVER.

I had my reservations about this app. I had seen my friends using it and their judgments about people as they swiped them left made me very resistant to make an account. I did not want to be another “Sushmita- The pastry chef” with a big nose and a weird smile. In spite of my initial hesitations, I setup a Tinder account.

I gave a lot of thought on deciding which pictures to upload, the order to align them in, so, they whisper a story. Trying to come up with the perfect bio to describe myself was the real task. A bio that talked about me yet did not make me come off as if I was trying too hard. Ending it with a “Not for hookups”, I was ready. Ready to explore.

For a person who had been in an all-girls educational institution all her life, seeing these many dishes on the platter was pretty amusing. I never thought I, this ugly little baked potato, would get this much attention. I was living Tina Belcher’s Fantasy without all the butt touching, of course, like I said “No hookups”. From being the person guys would hardly ever notice to the one who could choose people to talk to with a swipe was a big promotion. I was liking all the attention I was getting.

It did not take long to realize how entertaining Tinder really was. Hiding behind a black mirror, talking to people about the most random of things. To my surprise, most people I met through Tinder were incredibly interesting and did not seem to be affected by the fact that the meeting was initiated virtually. Once the relationship became less virtual and more “real”, it was eventually forgotten that we met on Tinder.

Everyone was a book, sharing stories of their triumphs and failures. From talking about the time I stuck an eraser up my nose to the time I ate an entire packet of snickers for lunch, every tiny detail was a door to another trip down the memory lane. Sharing of random yet silly incidents made the meet up much more interesting. It was like going through someone’s Instagram of memories, except it wasn’t open to all.

Tinder was both good and bad for me. Well, mostly good. It was a deeply positive experience for me. It helped me round up my personality and made me realize how much I looked down upon myself. I always saw myself as the one who did not matter much. Suddenly, the exposure to this arena of virtual reality, talking to new people every other day, made me much more confident in the person I was.

Through Tinder, I came across numerous people – some good, some bad, some who really did not make any difference. But all of them had a role to play in boosting my self-esteem. I never thought that I could be comfortable in being an ugly not-so-little baked potato that I am. I was happy with who I was. I wore my qualities like a tiara and took pride in my flaws. I was comfortable with my physical flaws because I genuinely felt I had the personality to make up for it. It helped me grow, become a better person. Tinder helped me become more intellectual. Coming from a small city, everything that seemed like a taboo, or “too much” turned out to be just simple day-to-day things.

It was all going great, like we display on our social media timeline. I wasn’t the Kritti, who “made a mess” out of herself over minor inconveniences; I was the constantly chirpy one again. People wanted to talk to me, hang out with me, suddenly I found myself with an abundance of friends. I never realized how much I had to share, I had this Pandora box full of silliest, embarrassing and deep memories. Even the time I fell off the stairs seemed interesting. Never in my life had I realized how obsessed I was with storytelling.

By sharing parts of my emotional baggage with various profiles, nobody really had the power to make me feel sad about myself. Indirectly, I became the in charge of my own happiness. Or, I just decided to hide behind a wall around my heart to keep negative emotions out. It was all working out almost perfectly, going out for dates or meetups, making friends and making memories. Life was suddenly brighter.

I never realized how easily replaceable people were. Every time someone left, with a few swipes I would replace them with someone else. It took me a while to realize how scary that really was. It takes years and numerous memories to make a bond what it really is. Then there was something that was helping me replace those people who once held the most important position in my life. I know, I was hurt, I tried my best to maintain the relationships I had lost. I chose to be the person who would not be stuck up on someone, so, I decided to not pay much heed to it.

I carried on swiping until I was surrounded by those Tinder profiles that had seeped into various other social network handles. People I shared memes with, replaced the ones I could share all my feelings with. It all started getting back to me, I was empty and hollow again. No one really meant much to me. I might share a great conversation with them, but not enough memories. Not enough feelings.

As the year ended, so did some of the new “genuine” friendships. As some of the new ones left, some of the old ones started coming back. Things were still fine, I was stronger. Emptier, but stronger.

You must be to comment.
  1. Deep Jagdeep Singh

    Inspiring as well as thought provoking. Love your free flow of words.

    1. Kritti Bhalla

      Thank you so much! 🙂

More from Kritti Bhalla

Similar Posts

By Preal Grover

By Rachana Priyadarshini

By Sachin Tiwari

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below