There are a lot of tips and tricks to dating app success; ways to play the algorithm, get the most matches, go on the most dates, etc. But if your main goal in using the apps is a long-term partnership, then the algorithm matrix may not always be your best bet. But these "Dating App "Do's", definitely are.
1. Do: Include Info and Pictures That Reflect The Real You
With dating apps(and dating in general) there is a strong desire to put our best foot forward. It's very natural to want to highlight our best qualities, but we also want to be sure to stay genuine and authentic. While the urge to post your most glamourous headshots or curated vacation photos might be strong, if you're a yoga teacher for example, who spends most of their day in yoga pants, why not add a shot of you in your natural habitat. Pick photos that reflect the real you, doing what you love to do or being who you are. If you are an event coordinator, why not add a shot of you in a silly costume at your favorite event, or if you love your dog why not show you and your canine companion dusty and happy at your favorite dog park.
What you want to avoid here is posting something misleading because you think it will reflect well. If you hate hiking but post pictures of you on the mountain trail you actually hated every second of, then guess what kind of potential date you are going to attract...that's right...hikers! Then you are going to have to spend the span of a conversation or even a date, explaining that in fact you don't like hiking at all and would rather have teeth pulled than spend time on a trail. Then not only have you attracted someone you aren't that compatible with, but you also come across as disingenuine and they are most likely going to wonder what else you are being insincere about. Not a good look.
So in order to avoid that uncomfortable scenario, try to be genuine in both the type of pictures you use and the information you provide. If your only real hobbies are Netflix, ice cream, and knitting, that's awesome! Put that! I guarantee there are multiple other Netflix-watching, ice cream-adoring, hand-project-loving potential partners out there for you. But if you are too busy coming up with fake hobbies or false interests on your profile, then you may never find them! So make sure your profile reflects who you truly are because I promise, there is someone and probably many someone's out there who will absolutely adore the real you.
"There is someone, and probably many someone's out there who will absolutely adore the real you."
2. Do: Your Research
So you've done it! You've gotten a like, a swipe right, a heart, a flower, a match, or whatever method of interest the particular dating app you are on uses. But before you pull the trigger on a message... Stop. Right. There. Before you go one step further in the matching process, make sure to do your research. On two things, their profile...and you. Allow me to explain.
As you begin down the dating rabbit hole, you want to get very clear on what is going to work for you in relationships, and what is not. It's important to think about compatibility aspects in both big and small ways because even the small discrepancies can actually become big deals over time. So think about things like long-term goals, worldviews, values, marriage, kids/no kids, and also think about things such as Love Languages, relationship expectations, lifestyle choices, and even preferred sleep schedules!( I learned that one the hard way) Get clear on where you are willing to be flexible and where you are absolutely not. What are your Deal Breakers and your Deal Makers? You know, the things that make you vigorously nod your head yes and the things that make you say "Oh hell no." But don't worry, if you need a little help figuring out what those things might be, check out my homepage for a FREE downloadable that can help you gain clarity on what truly matters in relationships for you.
"If they have the information available make sure to peruse it. "
And then, once you know thyself, it's time to get to know the other person. So do your research on their profile. If they list social media accounts, give those a look, read their answers to the questions, view all their pictures, and even listen to the voice prompts if they have them. All of those things can provide you with valuable info and help you tune into who they really are. If they have made the information available, then make sure to peruse it. Also truth be told, a quick Google search never hurts. I know that may seem a little over the top but I and many others I know have actually caught people in lies that way. People who were trying to pose as high powered professionals, doctors, lawyers, even musicians or actors, but actually weren't. Yuck. *(Please note the issue here is not that they weren't in high powered professions, the huge red flag is the lie. So if you do catch someone doing that, do not let them convince you "they were just shy" or were "worried to tell you the truth." It's all red flags for days. Date cancelled, profile blocked.)* Also you just never know what may pop up about someone, so it's worth a quick pre date search. And then use all that hard-earned self-knowledge you've acquired to figure out if all the info you are seeing about them is a good fit for you.
Because if it isn't, then why take things even one step further. If you are looking for long-term and they are looking for casual, if they are big partyers and you don't like late nights or loud music, then maybe you two aren't exactly a great match. Here is where you really want to let your intuition be your guide. If it feels like a no, then it's a no, if it feels like a maybe, it's a no. If it doesn't excite or isn't a "hell yes" then it's a no. This is your chance to get everything you want, to set the rules of a relationship even before a first date! So why short-change yourself? If you see something that just isn't going to work for you...on to the next!
While we do want to be thorough we don't want to be exclusive. So if the issue is something like they don't drive the exact car you imagined, or they have blonde hair instead of brown, or they are a dentist not a rock star, etc. then it might be worth stepping out of your comfort zone and giving the date a try. This is where you can be flexible and compromise because so often love comes in forms we least expect. The hard and fast rule follower Virgo falls in love with the wild and free-spirited Saggitarius, or the numbers-loving accountant falls head over heels for the woman who sells her handmade jewelry out of a van on the beach. Opposites can absolutely attract so it's good to be open to some variety in our dating lives, after all that's what makes it exciting. But if there are glaring inconsistencies in values, life view, long-term goals, etc. that is when you don't want to run around making all kinds of compromises. If it feels like you're settling or missing out on something...then you probably are.
3. Do: Be Honest
So what happens if you've already matched with someone and you realize you missed something on their profile? Or maybe you've even made it to the first date and are being faced with some glaring inconsistency or an issue that just isn't going to work for you. Then it's honesty time, my friends. If you arent' interested in a second date, or maybe not even a first, that's ok. Just let the person know that. Now the level of honesty you choose is up to you. I personally like to get out with as little drama as possible. So a simple "I'm not interested in a second date" or "I don't think this is going to work for me", "I don't feel a romantic connection" etc. are a few of my go-to's. But I have friends that are brave souls and want people to learn from the experience so they will go into more detail and provide specifics. So where on that scale you fall...is up to you.
"If you have let them know that you are not interested, then you have done your part and can rest your hat on being one of the "good guys."
But keep in mind you do not owe them anything. If you had a first date and aren't interested in a second, or aren't interested in one at all, then that is all you need to express. You do not need to explain it in detail, "give them another chance" or meet up to "discuss it further." Some people do not handle rejection well and can take it very personally and possibly even aggressively, so it is important to be aware, and especially if something doesn't feel right in your gut, it's ok to stop responding or even block them completely. You do not need to put yourself in a volatile situation simply to ensure you don't look like the "bad guy." If you have let them know that you are not interested, then you have done your part and can rest your hat on being one of the "good guys."
4. Do: Choose Quality Over Quantity
While dating can certainly feel like a numbers game it really isn't. If the goal of your mission is to find a compatible, long-term partner, then you only need one best fit of a person not multiple ill fitting people . So you really are going for quality over quantity here. Because often what makes us feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out with the dating process is going on lots of dates with people who aren't a good match. And maybe aren't even close.
"Streamlining your dating process by using the 3 tips above is a great way to take all the fish in the sea, and funnel them into a small, manageable dating pool."
Now if you are brand new to the dating scene, it might be good to dip your toes into a few pools and try going out with people from a variety of backgrounds and careers, with varying interests and characteristics. That can help you get a better idea of what works for you and what is less of a fit. This is great if you ou are just getting back into the scene after a breakup or divorce, or I also encourage this method of varying your dating pool if you seem to keep hitting a wall with the type of people you are dating. It's always good to throw some fresh energy into the mix and try things a little outside your comfort zone.
But even if you are looking at mixing up your normal dating lineup, make sure you are still clear on the biggies. Some things you can be open and flexible on but other things should stay non negotiables. That can include things like lifestyle choices, drug or alcohol use, relationships they have with exes, religious preferences, or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or that could potentially affect you and your life in a big way. And especially if you are looking for a long term partnership and are a veteran to the dating scene, then you probably already have a pretty good idea of what works for you. So why waste time on things or situations that you know just aren't a good fit?
Streamline your process, get clear on the dealbreakers and makers and then sit back and enjoy. Because that's what streamlining your dating process does, it sets you up with people who are at least compatabile with you on some levels. So even if it doesn't turn out to be a love connection, it could still turn into a great friendship, hiking partnership, or even just a pleasant evening and a pleasant conversation. Those are the types of dates that fill you up instead of burn you out and these are the exact types of dates and partnerships you are going for!
Now Get Out There!
Finding love on dating apps can feel like an insurmountable challenge but with these tips you can begin to make the seemingly overwhelming process of finding a partner, far more manageable and best of all...successful! So get out there and turn these "Dating App Do's" into your very own "I Do!"