Dating apps are more popular than ever during the days of the COVID pandemic. Yet, they are just as confusing as they have always been. It’s not the app itself that causes the confusion, it’s the behaviors of people using them.
Just like dating in person, there are all types and styles of singles. But for those looking for the straightforward dating experience, this helpful guideline can’t save you from all the confusion, but it can provide some tips on having a better experience with dating sites.
Do put more than one picture on your profile. Many singles will bypass your profile if you’re only posting one picture.
Do put more than one sentence about yourself. If you’re serious about dating, you’ll need to let browsers know a little about you. If you’re only on the site to look for sex, make that clear if you’re only going to use one sentence, (and there’s no need to read further). Otherwise, start off right with open communication.
Do fill in characteristics and preferences. People who are truly looking for a match will want to know if important preferences match. Some nonsmokers do not want to date smokers, for example. It saves everyone a lot of time to give as much information as possible about who your are and what you’re looking for.
Do try making the first move. You’re on a dating site because you want to meet someone. It’s easier to virtually show interest and possibly face a blip of rejection if the other person doesn’t respond, than to show interest in person to a stranger and how to feel the awkwardness of their response. Get yourself used to being brave enough to put yourself out there.
Do state what you are looking for upfront, and ask the other what they are looking for. Even if you’re profile already says you don’t know what you’re looking for, make that clear and find out what the other person wants out of the interaction. This eliminates misunderstandings. Or if you’re looking for casual dating and maybe some benefits, and you don’t know the other person is wanting to get married, it could get messy and dramatic. If you just want a penpal, for example, it’s better to let the person you’re talking know that you’re not planning on meeting in person.
Do get verification the person is who they say they are before you meet in person. Video calls can be a great way to see if the person’s pictures match what they really look like. This can also be done using Snapchat or by simply asking for an on the spot selfie from time to time. Some apps have facial verification, so you can ask the person to become verified on the app before messaging begins. This can save you a lot of time and awkwardness if you meet in person and they are not at all what you were expecting.
Do be honest about what you want and who you are. Most importantly, be honest with yourself about this. All too often someone we meet on a site seems like a dream come true based on the details of their profile, but when we really start talking to them, red flags start popping up. We tend to ignore these and go back to the daydream. Stay in reality.
Do write down a list of deal makers and deal breakers. Before you post a profile, write out all of your most important wants in a partner, and a list if deal breakers. You will want to keep this list handy and refer back to it as you meet potential partners. It’s also valuable to write out where you would be willing to compromise, and what you need to change about yourself to be a healthy, mature partner for someone else.
Do stay the course. Getting swept away in something before we really know what we are getting into is a temptation that is nearly irresistible. We all love the feeling of falling in love. It’s also easy to fall right back out of love and into confusion and anxiety when things aren’t going as expected. It’s important to keep your own lifestyle intact, your own hobbies intact, and your priorities intact. All too often we start trying to change to fit another because it looks like this is “the one,” and we end up spending time beating ourselves up because we knew better.
Do realize most courtships fail to become long term partnerships. It’s best to go in knowing you’re going to see hundreds to thousands of profiles, and you may have the opportunity to go on many dates. Most of which are going to lead to disappointment or lack of any spark. Knowing this helps us sustain, so that we really can keep looking for the real deal. We can’t afford to give up after a few disappointing experiences.
Do remember, there are other ways to meet a potential partner. Dating apps aren’t for everyone. Even with having insights into how to navigate through all the muck to find a jewel, it can be challenging to date virtually. It may seem like the only choice if you practice social distancing. However, there are other ways to look. Putting the word out to friends and coworkers, and keeping a lookout when you are in the grocery store, or any other place you frequent that may not seem like a singles scene.
Don’t misrepresent yourself. It’s important to be who you are in the present moment. You may have been an athlete in high school, but if those days are gone, you have to be where you’re at and show that on your profile. Don’t put pictures of you from more than one year ago unless you post the year. Include 3 or more pictures of you taken within the past 9 months. Fill in the traits and preferences based on who you are now, not who you were or want to be in the future. You’ll have more success with finding a match and having good dates if you are yourself.
Don’t send nude pictures. If you’re past the point of stating preferences and you’ve both agreed pictures of private parts are wanted, by all means, proceed. Yet, in the beginning, before anything like that is concerned, understand it makes you look unstable, desperate and creepy to most people. It’s perfectly ok to say “no” of the other person asks you for a nude photo.
Don’t ghost after you’ve met up in person. The best way to handle this subject is to ask right upfront when you start talking, if the person you’re interacting would rather be ghosted or told why you’re moving on. This way you can find out which is less hurtful. Without knowing, ghosting is cruel. The other person is left with no closure and is left guessing if they did something wrong. There are very nice ways to let a person down, or letting them know you don’t have the time to keep up communications.
Don’t rush in. Online dating is just that. It’s an impersonal way to window shop and date from a distance. It’s also a way to basically speed date. The too much too soon approach can overwhelm the other person, and it’s not good for your emotional health. Whether it’s getting carried away in your day dreams, or expecting monogamy without discussing it, if the person you’re seeing has not deleted their dating profile, they are still playing the field. Emotions are better kept in check until you are to the point where you’ve discussed getting serious.
Don’t keep trying after they’ve moved on. Whether you were ghosted, simply unliked, or told someone of interest isn’t interested, don’t continue to try to get the person’s attention or communicate. Unwanted attention or communication on dating apps is likely to get you blocked and possibly reported. If your main crush has moved on, it looks completely desperate and stalkerish for you to keep trying, and it most likely will not result in getting the person to change their mind.
Don’t post blurry or dark photos. Bad photos are a sure way to get passed up. Many people on dating apps don’t regularly take selfies. So getting used to taking pictures of yourself that show what you look like may take a minute, but it’s best to take a bunch and choose from them. Throw out anything blurry or dark. And be aware, there are people on dating apps that will pass you up if you have a toilet in the background. There are also people who think taking a picture in a mirror is a wrong move. Just an FYI.
Don’t post more than two group photos. This is another reason taking the time to get some good, recent selfies is worth it. Have more self photos than group photos posted. Dating profiles where you’re in a group photo, especially is it’s almost all of your photos, is confusing for a lot of people. Even having one other person in every picture can get confusing. People may wonder which person is you, and may be suspicious as to why you don’t have some selfies posted, and may suspect you’re posting old pictures.
Don’t have expectations. With respect to every aspect of dating, it is best to avoid having any expectations, good or bad, about a potential partner. It takes a long time to get to know a person. Expectations are different from standards. Definitely have standards, but don’t expect the other person to live up to them just because you’ve stated what they are. And don’t expect people to live up to their own stated standards. It takes time, and being the observer instead of the expector will help you stay balanced.
Dating apps are fun but can get old fast. After going through hundreds of profiles in the first week or two, and managing a few in person encounters, you may be left feeling like “there’s just nothing out there for me.” Try taking a break for 2 to 3 weeks every time you think you’ve seen everyone you’re going to see on the app. New people do come on, and it’s nice to see fresh profiles when you’re not burnt out from all the usuals.
Whether you meet a potential match or not, you’ll know when it’s time to delete your profile.
Good luck out there. And remember, it’s all about love.