- There are over 750 million monthly users on TikTok.
- While the popular social media app isn’t intended to be a dating app, some people are finding real love matches.
- It may be because the app lends itself to authenticity and encourages users to truly be themselves in front of the camera.
Despite the chaotic and entertaining nature of the app, TikTok has become an unlikely platform for dating.
Because the algorithm feeds highly personalized content to users, it can be the perfect way to be connected to like-minded people. Plus, TikTok encourages you to “be yourself,” and being messy is often celebrated on the app.
That’s why more and more people are finding connections — and authentic ones — in comments, live streams, and direct messages. It proves that as long as you’re on social media and engaging, there is an opportunity to find love.
Here’s how a few lucky TikTokers found their match, and why they’re convinced it’s a better platform for dating than dating apps themselves.
Getting an early glimpse of someone’s personality online can be helpful.
Corey Brooks, a creator with over 740,000 followers, met his fiancé Samantha Swanson on TikTok during the height of the pandemic in 2020. “I showed up on her For You Page,” Brooks said, who noticed that she had also followed him on Instagram. When he posted a series of Instagram stories about self-care, where he cheekily wrote “give me a kiss” on the last slide, Swanson replied with a kissing emoji.
Because they lived relatively close to one another in California, they decided to take it offline and meet in person. From their beach date forward, Brooks was smitten. And he’s not surprised that he found his partner on TikTok. It’s a social app, after all.
“You can find someone on social media,” he says. “That’s why people have followers and why you follow people — you find something interesting about them,” he says. “When you’re looking for a partner, [social media] makes it easy to see a lot of their life and find things you like about them that you might not otherwise be able to find out on a first date.”
He felt like he was able to get to know her before ever meeting face-to-face, and that she seemed authentic on her feed. The pair, who now make content together on each other’s channels, recently bought a house and are getting married in July 2023.
Niche interests make the app feel small, which can lead to connection.
Amanda Saks and her boyfriend Ben Thomson also met on TikTok. Their love story started in the dog community. “Neither of us had a following, but we would comment on each other’s videos. The dog community is really supportive of each other,” she said.
When Saks saw a video about how it’s a red flag when a single man has a dog, she stitched it, and made her own video, saying, “That’s wrong, it’s a green flag.” Thomson then commented on it, writing, “100,000% green flag, I’m a reliable source.” Saks wrote back, “Ohh thank you for telling us your relationship status.”
Feeling emboldened, Saks bombed a TikTok Live he hosted weeks later. When she finally got to talk to him in the Live, she was gobsmacked to hear his Scottish accent.
In real-time, viewers saw the two connect over their dogs and an immediate spark was formed. “We forgot people were watching us,” she said. “It was like we were FaceTiming.”
Even though Thomson lived in Scotland and Saks in Miami, the two were DMing and FaceTiming each other so consistently that they decided they should meet in 2022. The two then chronicled their journey of finally meeting each other IRL — that TikTok garnered over a million views.
Saks, who’s been to Scotland several times to see Thomson since, said the common interest in dogs helped them make an immediate connection. They’re now living out somewhat of a 21st-century fairytale. “I’m madly in love with Ben,” she said. “Our relationship is so incredibly unique because, well, we really took on a new meaning to what a long-distance relationship is. It’s built on strong communication, trust, and of course a common love of our dogs.” Ben is moving to the States in the coming months.
When we don’t appear as desperate to date on TikTok, it can make us more attractive.
Brooks and Saks all said that they were in a particular headspace before finding love on TikTok. They were, ironically, content being single.
“For the first time in my life, I didn’t have any [dating] plans and wasn’t looking,” Saks added. We were both independent people and were happy on our own.”
This all makes sense, said Jaime Mahler, a licensed psychotherapist who is active on TikTok herself. She explained that people who are confident to be themselves online come off as more attractive to potential suitors.
“It’s very ‘take me or leave me’,” she said. “I think people find it very refreshing psychologically, [like] ‘this is my authentic self.'”
In contrast, dating apps might unintentionally incentivize users to tell prospects what they think they want to hear in order to secure dates. “On TikTok, I think people are really willing to be themselves, rather than making themselves into whoever someone else wants them to be,” Mahler says.
Some are setting up specific “dating profiles” now — but with mixed results.
It’s not all love at first comment, though.
Noah Pilato put up a “dating profile” TikTok in October that got over 2.4 million views. Even though he received thousands of comments on both TikTok and Instagram, he still hasn’t set up any dates from it.
“I noticed [commenters] weren’t anyone from where I live,” he told Insider. He appreciated the attention he got — and new subsequent followers trying to catch his eye — but he thinks posting Instagram stories in tagged locations might be a more fruitful way to date with social media.
“It was too overwhelming,” he said. “I don’t want to set up some sort of narrative online and that expectation potentially not be met in person,” he says.
If you’re ready to use TikTok as a dating app, there could be challenges, like distance, as the odds of finding someone down the road from you are relatively low. Mahler advises people to go into it with the mindset of looking for a long-distance relationship.
“Many people that connect on TikTok are connecting in a long-distance way,” she said. “All the issues that come with long-distance relationships are now issues you could be facing.”
For some, though, the connection over specific interests or values could supersede any geographical barriers. For Saks, it was worth the headache of figuring out long-distance dating. “Our future looks so bright. We might be from different parts of the world, but our values are the same,” she said. “The love and support we have for one another is nothing short of amazing.”