I thought my generation was incorporating technology into dating in new and exciting ways. I was a freshman when Facebook was unleashed on universities across the country. Suddenly posting on someone’s wall was a valid form of flirting. Google made Gmail addresses available to everyone, then Gchat, where most of my conversations with crushes and boyfriends took place. We texted and posted on each other’s Myspace pages, and at the time I truly believed dating tech could not get any more advanced.

But most of the people with whom I went on actual dates were people I had met offline.

I had heard a few tales of people who had met their significant others on dating websites, like eHarmony or the ill-fated HotSaints.com (Chase and be chaste!), but most of those people were older and certainly outliers.

I met my husband through my social circle and married him in 2010. A couple of years later, I started hearing tales of something called “Tinder” from my single friends and family.

I had so many questions and fashioned myself into what I now recognize as a very annoying amateur dating anthropologist. From my vantage point, meeting someone online had gone from being kind of weird to being the norm, seemingly overnight, and I was fascinated by this evolution.

I witnessed a number of successful matches made on Tinder, and attended many weddings between two users. It was great, I thought, that my peers had access to this new and exciting way of meeting people.

But the more I heard about the app interactions, the more exhausted I felt on behalf of the users.

With time, Tinder bred a number of other apps like Hinge, Bumble, Mutual (if you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Raya (if you’re famous), each with their own unique rules and styles.

“I’m getting off the apps,” I’d hear friends say because there was no longer just one app to manage, but many, making finding a mate a technological slog.

But it wasn’t just app management that was wearing them down. It was often the behavior of other app-havers.

A friend was stood up three times in one week by men she had met on apps. Others were encountering constant red flags in profiles and matches. Some found success in long-term relationships and even eventual marriage, but many became too burned out and abandoned the apps entirely.

Now, more than 10 years after the rise of Tinder, I was interested to know how the apps and their users have evolved. So I spoke with some younger millennials who are currently fighting the good(?) fight.

They told me it feels impossible to meet people in real life. “Everyone I would want to date is also sitting at home,” says Kensie, age 28. “I don’t want to go out clubbing, and don’t want to date anyone who does.”

They feel dating apps are a necessary evil and essentially the only option for meeting new people. And because it’s the only option, the process can feel doomed from the start, or at least extremely monotonous.

Kensie compared it to job searching. There’s initial excitement, lots of work to get a profile and bio up and running, and then an inevitable doldrum from the work of swiping, matching, messaging and even meeting in real life.

Holly, age 29, tells me all the men’s profiles started to look the same. Profiles with “The Office” references (Looking for the Pam to my Jim!), photos of cars or motorcycles, an opinion about pineapple on pizza, and trite statements like “looking for someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.”

These bios are far less jarring than some of the explicit and even threatening verbiage they encounter. That seems to be the most significant difference in user experience between men and women. While Kensie and Holly research every match for signs of danger, their friend Jake (26) never worries about his physical safety. “Men are afraid a woman won’t look like the photos in their profile, women are afraid they will be murdered,” Kensie explains.

But between the bios rife with cliches and the ones written by potential murderers lives a different genre of bio. The headscratchers. The ones that make you wonder if the internet was a bad idea and realize most people’s thoughts are best left in their own heads.

Like all the following bios, sent to me via screenshots:

The guy who wants his wife to have experienced nothing but heartache and misery.

And this one, who seems to think finding a mate works like meeting a quarterly sales goal:

Or this one, from a guy who has no problem going out with you but will not be spending over 10 dollars, thank you very much:

And this one that needs no explanation:

But every once in a while, a profile is not cliche, not written by a likely murderer, or just really weird, and so a match is made. And sometimes, that turns into a date. And those dates are where life’s best stories are born.

I asked for the best dating app tales on social media and received an embarrassment of riches in return.

“I accidentally went on a date with my cousin. We didn’t know we were cousins until halfway through our date,” a Twitter user shared. And he wasn’t the only person to share stories of accidentally dating a relative.

Others went on multiple dates with someone before learning the other person was married. Many discovered their match had lied about their height. Some went out with dates for a second time before remembering they had already matched with and dated the person on a different app.

And still others experienced what humanity has experienced since the beginning of time — people being total weirdos on dates. A few of my favorite anecdotes include:

“We went to the mortuary his family owned. He tried to give me a tour.”

“Guy bragged that he spoke Elvin from ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Then only spoke Elvin the rest of the date.”

“Guy took me to a frozen yogurt shop and then criticized the toppings I chose.”

“Guy took off his boots in the movie theater. Then, after the movie, he walked out of the theater in his socks, holding his boots.”

“A guy took me to his apartment to play ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trivial Pursuit. When I told him I didn’t know enough to play, he said he could play for me when I got stuck. I watched him play for a bit and he ‘won’ before I went home.”

So are online dating services a net positive or negative for those looking for love? The answer seems to be just as murky and confusing as the dating process itself.

The American Survey Center reports “Among the roughly one in four Americans who have ever used an online dating platform, experiences are mixed. Roughly as many users report a positive experience as a negative one.”

Which feels on par with the way dating has always been.

But I, given the inundation of horrifying stories and hilarious images, was assuming online dating must be a total wash. Until I received a text from a friend, who met her husband online.

Alisa Allred Mercer met her husband, Lonnie, on the now-defunct LDSPromise website in 2004. “Lonnie and I didn’t have a lot of hobbies in common when were were ‘set up’ by the dating website so we might have never met otherwise,” Alisa told me. “But despite the fact that we didn’t have similar hobbies, we are a good match.”

“I don’t think falling in love with someone you meet online is usually a good idea,” she says. “But it’s not a bad way to meet someone and then later fall in love.”