So, you want to start online dating, but you aren’t 100% sold on the concept of the apps. We get it; we’ve all been there. Online dating can be a lot more complicated than many people make it out to be. It also comes with a whole new set of rules, expectations, and people that you can see and assess whether or not you want to date. It can get to be a lot very quickly.
Whether you’re worried about the stigma that often surrounds couples when they have to tell people they met on a dating app, or you’re concerned about what to do when you actually get on the app itself: do you actually have to talk to people? What if you hate everyone on the app and give up dating entirely because of this one bad experience? It can be a lot to think about if you’re debating trying dating apps.
Thankfully, even though online dating is different than the more old-fashioned method, it’s not as complicated or as taboo as many people might lead you to think. And you don’t need to stress out about it too much. But if you’re still on the fence about taking the plunge and downloading a dating app or two, we’re here to guide you through the process and talk through any and every question that you might want to think about when you’re deciding whether or not you want to try a dating app.
1. Make Sure You’re Ready
People download dating apps for a myriad of different reasons. Some may want to kill time, others may want to get over a breakup, and others still might just want to have a good time with a total stranger. There’s no universal reason why certain people decide to join dating apps.
Before downloading a dating app, consider whether you are ready for what you have in store. As we said, there’s no one reason to get on dating apps, and there’s no one outcome for anyone who uses them. Everyone is different, and if you’re just looking to get over someone, more power to you. But, if that’s the case, consider being honest about where you are and what you’re looking for.
Apps like Bumble and Match.com have a section you can fill in to talk about what you’re looking for in terms of a relationship. That’s very helpful for both the people looking at you and trying to assess if you’re a good fit for what they’re looking for and for you, so you don’t get tired of messaging people and telling them what you want constantly.
You may also start on the app looking for a casual and short rebound and delete it after finding something that lasts a lifetime. You never know the possibilities, and it’s good to be open and honest about where you are — and flexible and emotionally intelligent enough to know if your feelings have changed.
I think a lot of people believe that dating apps have become a stepping stone in the process of getting over someone or finding closure in a breakup. And while they can often help you, they won’t magically erase your sadness or feelings. If you’re debating whether or not you want to get on a dating app, and you start to have doubts or don’t feel that it’s the right time, that’s completely fine.
You don’t have to jump into the world of online dating at any time, especially not when you’re not comfortable or ready for all that dating apps have in store for you. They can be draining and are not just fun and games. We don’t want you to waste your time or deplete your energy doing something that isn’t good for you, and you don’t want to waste others’ time on the apps.
So before you do anything else, even before you download the dating app, make sure your head and heart are in the right space for what’s about to happen. And if they’re not, take a step back and wait a bit. Trust us; it will be so much easier to be on a dating app and explore all the fun and excitement it provides when you’re in a healthy place.
2. Don’t Worry about the Stigma
Many people want to avoid dating apps entirely because they don’t want to shoulder the burden that the stigma of meeting on dating apps creates. The biggest reason for people trying to skirt the truth or not talk about their meeting on an app is because, for the longest time, dating apps were synonymous with hookup apps. While some apps and websites are marketed for long-term relationships, apps like Tinder and Grindr were usually the ones nobody wanted to talk about.
But society is getting over that stigma and seeing dating apps as necessary for meeting people in the digital world. While we try not to thank the pandemic for much, we can credit the exploding popularity of dating apps to the time when everyone was in lockdown and we still craved basic human connection.
And even though we’re not still in lockdown, we’re all flocking to dating apps because they’re a brilliant and easy way to meet people when you don’t necessarily want to go out to functions or events. We’re past the point in our dating history where we had to wait to get set up with someone in order to meet them. Now we can just download an app and swipe with ease!
At the end of the day, you’re always more aware of the stigma or perceived judgment than anyone else. If someone really cares about your relationship so much that they want to make you feel bad or guilty about where or how you met, that sounds like a personal problem for them, and they might need to get a hobby that isn’t judging your personal life.
Here’s the truth, in life and in dating, things are only a big deal if you make them a big deal. We’re not promising you that there will never be a time when you say, “We met on a dating app!” And at least one person won’t roll their eyes, but if it’s your story and you’re happy about it, there’s nothing to be ashamed about.
I met my fiancé on a dating app, and he was only supposed to be a rebound. That’s the origin of our story, and it’s a fantastic one. I’m not ashamed about it, and the fact that we found success so quickly on the apps allows me to give hope and advice to others looking to do the same thing.
3. Don’t Write People off Based on Their Answers
Dating app profiles are tough to make. It’s a complex maze to navigate, and honestly, not many people do it well. You want to come across as your best and most authentic self, but you also want to present yourself as desirable, mysterious, and swipe-worthy.
If you’re getting hung up on some of your matches’ answers, you should take a step back and realize that they probably filled their profile out in less than five minutes and didn’t think too much about it after that. Now, if someone’s profile says something that is clearly a red flag or something that you know you don’t want in a partner, that’s different, and you need to swipe left as soon as possible.
But for the most part, people are not good at making dating app profiles, and it’s really hard for most people to accurately present themselves online. If you’re looking at their profile and you see that they like or do a few hobbies you hate, it’s okay to swipe right on them and see what happens. Who knows? You might gain a new interest or hobby from your time with them.
Some online dating websites will ask users to fill out a questionnaire and then match each person with others who answered similarly. While that’s amazing and a handy tool, it’s not gospel.
On the one hand, if users have a premium subscription to apps like Tinder or Bumble, they can make their profile pop up in the first few swipes. So while the people you’re presented with are usually somewhat similar, that’s not always the case.
On the other hand, while it’s nice to match with people you have a ton of things in common with, it’s also fun to explore new and different things and people when you’re on dating apps.
Yes, talk to some of the people the dating app or dating website matches you with due to your similarities but also try to branch outside of your comfort zone while you’re online dating. Dating apps and online dating, in general, are usually high-risk, low-reward platforms for you to comfortably explore the possibilities of dating people you might never have thought about dating before.
Our favorite piece of advice we like to give out when people are debating whether or not to try online dating is to keep an open mind and be up for anything and anyone. Dating apps have a way of surprising people, and you’re going to naturally be presented with more people than you’ve ever been able to date before, so take it slow but also have fun with it!
4. Make Sure Your Date Is a Real Person
I know, this shouldn’t have to be a point, but it is. While scammers and bots are less common on dating apps than on other social media, it still never hurts to take an extra measure of internet safety and precaution when approaching online dating.
We advise you to take advantage of the internet and do some light research on the person you’re talking to before you agree to go out on a date with them. You don’t need to know their mother’s maiden name or where they went to middle school, but check up on them.
Look on their Instagram or FaceBook to see if they have a TikTok and what they post about. If you want to go so far as to look them up on LinkedIn, do it, but also realize that platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn alert their users when people are viewing their profile, and the user can usually see who is viewing them, so know that.
A little light research never hurt anyone, and you’ll also have a lot to talk about when you go on a date with them if you know them a little better.
Another reason it might be good to look your match up online is that catfishing and white lies happen a lot on dating apps, and it might be good to confirm that the person you’re talking to is actually the person you’re talking to, if that makes sense. If you look their name up on Instagram or Facebook and the only profile that comes up does not look like them whatsoever, it might raise a little beige (not red) flag and proceed with caution.
There is also a chance your match might not have social media. While it’s rare, I know I’ve matched with — and even dated — people who don’t have social media. While this makes your research stage a little more complicated, this is when you can ask them to have a FaceTime call with you before the date, so you know everything’s above board.
You can also choose not to do any of these things and just meet the person and get to know them that way, that’s also a solid option, and we respect that completely. But please, always make sure that you feel safe and have safeguards in place when you’re meeting someone from a dating app… Or anyone, really.
5. Don’t Have Too Many Expectations
There’s no doubt that online dating comes with a particular list of expectations, and it’s hard to avoid them. Whether you’re expecting to get a thousand matches in two days or expecting your time on the apps to result in a long-term relationship, it’s hard to approach anything, especially something as hyped-up and held in high regard as online dating, with realistic expectations.
Ultimately, we want you to be hopeful and excited about your time on the dating apps and all of the opportunities that will be made available to you because of the apps. But we also want you to be realistic and not put too much hope or expectations on the dating apps you’re on and forget that they’re not these magical beings that will ensure you have a happily ever after.
In the end, they’re just apps. They’re a means to an end and a numbers game. You can ‘do’ dating apps correctly and get great results, or you can be at the wrong place at the wrong time and not find the success you want from a dating app.
There is really no way to ensure your success on dating apps, but there is a way to make sure you’re having a good and enjoyable time on them. And that way is really just being present, being open to any opportunity, and having fun with it.
If you approach your time on dating apps as a means to an end, you might find success with them, but you also might be disappointed when that success doesn’t come as easily or as quickly as you might have thought it would.
It’s also very hard not to compare ourselves and our results with other people when we’re on dating apps. But everyone is on a different path, and what worked for someone might not work for you, so don’t play the comparison game with anyone. Instead, keep an open mind and avail yourself of all the possibilities dating apps might bring.