Online dating is becoming one of the most common ways to connect with people searching for intimate relationships. There are so many dating apps and websites available to use, and each has a way of catering to a person’s unique preferences. There’s Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Coffee Meets Bagel, Match, Grindr, and more. It’s seems so easy, right? Wrong! Quantity doesn’t always equal quality when it comes to online dating. Yes, you can now meet more people than ever before; accessibility isn’t the problem. The problem is when you’re out to coffee at Café Aroma on Elmwood Avenue, and you’re Tinder date is talking about his ex, eyes glued to his own phone, and asks you to come back to his place. This is the kind of mess that happens all the time nowadays. It’s like you have to eat hundreds of sour grapes before finding that perfect glass of wine. How can online dating be easier? How can you weed out the time wasters and find someone special? Here are ten tips for online dating:
Explore What’s Next Presents – Ten Tips for Online Dating
1) Set up a profile that represents you. There are so many profiles that have the most generic descriptions about people. Like, okay Jennifer, you like iced coffee and pizza and your mom—who doesn’t?! Some profiles have no information at all! You want your profile to represent who you are as a person. Trust me, the people who are serious about making connections will read it. Think about what you want to say about you, and strive for authenticity. If you look at your profile and feel like it doesn’t personify the real you, then it’s time to switch it up.
2) Stick to one online dating app at a time. I know this tip sounds crazy, but hear me out. If you’re using three or four different dating apps or sites at a time, then you might get overwhelmed. The panic can set in, “Why am I not meeting anyone?!” The time you put in doesn’t always reflect what you get back. Take things slow. If you have too many negative experiences in a short span of time, it can lead to cynicism, disappointment, and a lot of trips to Mighty Taco.
3) Limit the number of people you’re talking to. This goes right along with sticking to one online dating app. If you’re talking to five people at once, it’s going to be hard to actually feel invested in one of those people. The sheer quantity of those interactions is fueling disconnection and half-hearted interactions. Get to know yourself, and how many people you can be talking to while still having a meaningful experience.
4) Know your red flags. It’s so important to be aware of the early indicators that something might not go well. If you see some warning signs, then it’s probably better to not waste your time going out with the person. One of the hardest things about online dating can be having one negative experience after another. Protect yourself with a screening process. You know yourself best, and you can figure out what your personal red flags are. How do they talk to you, and how do they talk about themselves? Do they have a job? Maybe your potential love interest doesn’t drive—it’s okay to ask why. Is she environmentally friendly, or does she have three prior DWI’s? Have basic conversations to get to know people before you first meet them.
5) Evaluate the other person’s interest. Don’t waste your time going out with someone who doesn’t seem interested in you. Some people use online dating like an extreme sport, meeting one person after the other, just to get a “thrill,” instead of a good connection with another person. How can you tell if they’re interested? Do they ask you about yourself? Do they remember the things you tell them? Do they pay attention when you’re talking? Do they make time for you? There should be a healthy balance of interest in each other from the beginning.
6) Set clear expectations. Do you want someone to date casually, or do you want a committed relationship? Either one is okay, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you’re online dating. Let people know what you’re looking for fairly early, like within a couple weeks of knowing them, and they will probably respect you for it. Setting expectations and sticking to them also shows that you respect yourself.
7) Go out somewhere! Say no to the “Netflix and Chill.” You’re going to get to know someone best by having a real conversation over dinner or drinks. Also, the person you just agreed to go out with after texting for two days might not be who you’re expecting. You could be going out with a creeper, or a nut-job! You don’t want them to know exactly where you live on the first date. When it comes to online dating, safety is first.
8) Communicate your thoughts and feelings. I know—shocking stuff. In all seriousness, it’s important to let people know what you’re thinking and feeling if you’re trying to start an intimate relationship while online dating. I notice that so many people overthink and implode with anxiety when they are online dating. They wonder what the other person is thinking, what they’re intentions are, if they’re going to be blown off. It’s okay to ask questions and say what’s on your mind. Communication is paramount to a good relationship.
9) Go with your gut. So many times, I think people feel like they try too hard to make an online dating relationship work, when they know deep down it isn’t right. You might be going out with a lot of different people, and are just longing for something to go right. So, you trick yourself into thinking that it can work out, when your intuition is screaming at you, “No! We said no neck tattoos!” I know how hard it is to meet a decent person, but it doesn’t matter how much you want something to work out. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not right.
10) Stay positive. Online dating can be a long and twisty journey. It can be easy to get down on yourself and start to feel lonely, or even hopeless. Make sure you prioritize taking care of yourself, and being with people who care about you. Connection with others is what people need, so spend time with your family and friends while you’re looking for that one right person.
Remember, if you are struggling with loneliness, hopelessness, or symptoms of depression, it’s important to seek help. Let someone know that you’re struggling. The therapists at Explore What’s Next specialize in working with relationship issues. We can be the warm connection and safe place that you need to get back to being happy and well.
Insightful and Well Composed Photo by rawpixel.com
Christine Frank, LMSW
Christine understands what it’s like when you’re trying your hardest and an invisible hand is holding you back. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, or stupid, or unworthy of good things—it just means you could use some help. It helps to connect with someone who knows that your stories are worth listening to. Christine will hear your story. She’s a great listener.
Christine is easy-going, friendly, empathetic, non-judgmental. She’s funny and real in a down to earth way. She loves working with pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults to help them move through those difficult life transitions where a person can feel lost.
With Christine’s guidance and encouragement you can take the first step to a happier, healthier life.
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