The popularity of online dating has grown in the last decade, but with a worldwide pandemic, more people than ever are jumping online. As states stager between various phases of shutdown, many of the traditional ways of connecting with people are unavailable.
Online dating apps are a great way to expand your dating pool, but it also comes with its own challenges. This can be especially true if you’re in the market for a committed relationship. As someone who has dated online, I get it can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging.
Here are 7 ways to improve your online dating experience.
1. Don’t split your interactions.
The choices with online dating can feel limitless. This makes dating feel more like shopping rather than human interaction. Take your time when you are dating. Consider that behind each profile is a real person. When you connect with someone rather than continuing your search focus on one person at a time. Relationships require multiple dates, investment, intentionality, and vulnerability. The constant swiping can create commitment issues as you are constantly on the search for something better.
2. Reconsider your expectations.
Profiles give you a very surface-level view of a person, so do be so quick swipe left. Getting to know someone takes time, and so don’t be afraid to get to know someone. Choosing to engage in a conversation doesn’t automatically mean they will be the one. Let go of your expectations and take your time getting to know another human being. That being said if the person is throwing all kinds of red flags don’t continue to hang on just because they are cute, and you see the potential for change.
3. Create an authentic and meaningful connection.
Let’s face it texting is easy and it's often our first and preferred method of communication. However, text messages can be impersonal, taken out of context, and misunderstood. Pick up the phone, Facetime, Zoom, use google meets, or whatever. Texting is a detached form of communicating. Putting effort into real-time communication is a cue to that person that you are genuinely interested in getting to know them. You can also have several dates with someone before you ever see them in person. Pick a recipe and make dinner together during a video call. Read a book together or watch an episode of your favorite tv show. Being in a pandemic requires you to redefine your ideas of connection and get creative.
4. Take frequent breaks.
Online dating is designed to be addicting so limit the time you spend online each week. Do you ever find yourself frustrated and swiping endlessly thinking that there are no good matches anywhere? Well according to a 2019 study “The continued access to virtually unlimited potential partners make people more pessimistic and rejecting.” The study showed that participants developed a rejection mindset which led to a decrease in picture satisfaction and perceived dating success. Women in the study also saw a decrease in their potential for romantic success. In addition to limiting your time take the chance to review the profiles carefully even if the initial glance doesn’t attract you.
5. Be yourself.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Being what you think people want may attract people initially but it’s not sustainable or healthy in the long run. Understand and be clear about what you are looking for. Give people the chance to get to know the real you. Being vulnerable can be hard but rejection does not mean you are not good enough. Keep in mind profiles are very superficial so don’t be afraid to reach out and learn more. When you're making your profile get creative, fill out the questionaire, pick a variety of pictures, and include photos of you doing the things you love.
6. Don't be afraid to reach out.
One of the top complaints from guys is that they usually must be the one to initiate contact. Ladies don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You could wait on those matches to contact you first, but with so many options there is no guarantee. People when you contact someone please do more than “Hi.” or “Wyd.” Take the time to read through their profile, comment on something that stuck out to you, or share a common interest. Whatever you do it should be intentional and display that you put forth effort.
7. Dating apps aren’t the online way to date online.
Tired of dating apps but still looking to meet someone? Covid-19 has forced us all to come up with creative ways to connect with people. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.
Join a virtual happy hour.
Have a zoom party and tell each of your guests to invite someone that you don’t know.
Check out the local singles groups on MeetUp.com.
Join a Facebook group or chatroom with people who share common interests.
Try an online game where you can socialize and play with other people.
Finally, I want to encourage you. Although, I know that you don’t need another human to make you happy. I also understand the longing for consistent companionship. Try to have fun with this experience, and don’t be afraid to get your hopes up. Approach each person with a fresh perspective and appreciate the growth and clarity that the people in that past have given you. There are some amazing people online, and it can be a great way to meet someone special.