10 Tips for Online Dating
If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably spent some time in coffee shops over the last few years. I’d also venture to guess you’ve witnessed some awkward millennial ‘events’ that look something like this:
Guy walks in to coffee shop, sits down, nervously checks phone.
Girl walks in to coffee shop, awkwardly stares at every guys face until she finds him.
Girl and guy hug and say "It's nice to meet you" and play 20 questions for the next hour.
I cannot tell you how many Tinder dates I’ve witnessed. And as a single millennial, I’ve used my fair share of dating apps and been on my fair share of coffee dates. For three years I’ve been swiping on and off, knowing it’s probably futile, but feeling the need to “put myself out there” and live the romantic comedy I’m destined to live (though it’s been more like A Series of Unfortunate Events, if I’m being honest).
The world of swipes and texting and endless first dates can be pretty bleak when you’re one of the few souls looking for a "real connection." Hookup culture could be blamed for some of this, but I find so many people, myself included, want an instant connection, because putting in the work of actually getting to know someone (in real life, not on a phone) is arduous and requires sacrifice and vulnerability that we aren’t ready to give.
But all that said, maybe you want to give a go, so here’s some advice from a dating app veteran (I hate that I just typed that).
Disclaimer: I’m writing this from the perspective of someone wanting a more serious relationship.
1. Don’t settle.
Decide what you want, and don’t settle. Just because you can swipe right on every guy and just because he says nice things and asks you out does not mean you should give everyone your time.
Everyone has their thing, you know, the thing that is a total non-starter. Do not start something that is never going to last. Swipe left and move on. Don’t settle for the person who is just okay. You deserve more than just okay. Be picky. If you’re looking for a real relationship be prepared to be disappointed when it comes to dating apps.
2. Which app is best?
I’d say it’s 50% up to you and 50% based on where you live. If you live in a big city, most likely any of the apps out there will have big pool of people to pick from. But if you’re in less populated areas, I’d just stick to more popular apps like Tinder or Bumble.
3. Dates After 8pm
If you are serious about someone, a date before 8pm is the standard etiquette. I’d be extremely wary of anything else.
4. The Text/Snap Relationship
You will without-a-doubt meet people who only want to text you and Snapchat you. I really don’t understand these people who just want to be pen pals. I texted a guy once for a month, but when it came to meeting up, he was super dodgy and put in no effort (see #6). Personally, I have no interest in wasting my time talking to someone who has no intention to ever take me out or getting to know me in person.
5. The Non-Relationship Relationship
Most people put in their bio what kind of relationship they are looking for, but if they don’t, feel free to ask them. Humans aren’t great at commitment, and some people on apps like Tinder and Bumble have a tendency to be commitment-phobes. You will end up playing girlfriend-boyfriend without the label, wanting more, but never getting it, getting attached, but knowing you shouldn’t and ultimately getting very hurt. I speak from experience, you probably don’t want this.
6. The No Effort Guy
I gave a guy my number and asked him out. At no point, though, did he put in any effort to move us forward other than texting me everyday. I felt like I was dragging deadweight, but he was too nice to just let go. It was a waste of my time and I found it really off-putting. Rule of thumb: If someone has been texting/messaging/snapping you nonstop for several days and hasn’t asked you out… either you need ask them out or move on.
7. Don’t just say hey.
In real life, saying "hi" might be scary, but on the internet it requires no effort.
You really don’t even have to get that creative. My go-to is: “Hey _____, hows you’re day/weekend going?” And I usually say something about their dog if they have one. I would say this gets a reply like 90% of the time, because that gives them something to respond to.
8. Profile Pictures
Choose profile pictures that really capture who you are. If you have a dog, show the dog. Post pictures with friends, pictures of you doing something you love, etc. If you look like a normal, down-to-earth person then you will (usually) attract normal, down-to-earth people. Also, avoid sharing only selfies.
9. The Right Person
First dates often aren’t spectacular for me and it can start to feel a little hopeless. I was venting this to my wise friend one day and she said something so true and so important and we all need to hear it:
“I know it’s stupid and cliche, but the right guy for you will make you feel comfortable like any of your other best friends. It’ll feel natural and good and nothing about it should feel forced, and that’s what you deserve.”
I believe that.
10. Know when to quit.
Don’t let yourselves go down a deep, dark hole of swiping. It’s addictive and unhealthy. If it’s all you’re doing in your free time, or you just do it to entertain yourself or boost your confidence... you need to quit.
Put the phone down, go outside and do things you love, try new things, meet new people the old-fashioned way, love your family, love your friends… you catch my drift. The internet is a great tool and you could meet "the one," or you could also meet "the one" on the street or at a store or at church or wherever. Your love story is going to be amazing, but maybe you have to be patient and live your life and stop trying to force it.
With all that said, go and swipe and date and be merry (or get married?), or don’t. Either way, do yourself a favor and don’t settle.
11. DON’T GHOST PEOPLE.
BONUS RULE: (THIS IS IMPORTANT.)
This is so rude! Be an adult, and give people the closure they deserve and the closure you would want too.
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