Everyone craves human connection. We’re hardwired for it. Our relationships, no matter how serious they are, give us the opportunity to reflect, to learn about ourselves and life, to experience pleasure, and to enjoy life!
Dating apps are one of the most revolutionary tools out there when it comes to love, sex, and romance. They allow us to meet people from all over the world with just a swipe of the finger.
Still, they can have a stigma around them, or just be intimidating. But like any tool, if you want to get the most out of them, you need to know how to use them and navigate them with care – especially if you’re looking for something serious. It can be hard to find online dating advice for women, guys, and anyone else no matter what your gender is or who you’re into.
If you feel like you’re drowning in the world of online dating, we’re here to throw you a flotation device. Consider this your GPS so that you know how to navigate dating apps while you search for your special someone.
Know How to Market Yourself
Before you set up your profile, you’ll have to pick an app. With so many apps out there, you’ll probably want to pick an app that reflects who you are or one that is popular in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask friends what apps they prefer and why.
First impressions matter, and when it comes to online dating – it’s all that you’ve got to go off of. If you feel hesitant about putting yourself out there, think of it this way: Your dating profile is the start of whatever relationship you get into. When you start off by putting thought and intention into it, then that sets the tone for your dating life as a whole. It also means you’re more likely to connect with people who have the same standards.
Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up your profile:
- Pick clear pictures that you feel confident in. Have a photoshoot if you need to. Showcase different parts of your life like places you’ve been to, hobbies you have, and at least one clear headshot.
- Tone matters. What part of your personality do you want to lead with? Your sense of humor? Your spirituality? Your goals and ambitions? Your sense of adventure? Let that set the tone of your profile. You can always showcase different parts of your personality – you’re dynamic after all!
- Answer the prompts and make a clear bio. Don’t bypass this step out of laziness or insecurities. Write what you’re looking for, what kind of person you would like to connect with, fun tidbits about yourself, and anything else you want to include.
- Remember to update your profile every month or so. Things can change along the way and you want to keep it fresh.
You don’t have to do this alone. Recruit a friend to help you pick out your best pictures and proofread whatever you write. Just make sure it’s still a reflection of you, not them.
Know How to Start a Conversation
Common online dating advice for guys might suggest that men should always make the first move. We’re here to level the playing field. Never be afraid to make the first move, no matter what your gender is or who you’re interested in.
Try not to just say “Hey, what’s up?”. Those kinds of conversation starters don’t leave much room for getting to know each other.
Instead, use their pictures as conversation starters. Like if they have a picture of them rock climbing you can say “I’ve been wanting to learn how to climb!”, or something along those lines. Lead with questions or statements that start a conversation. Some other good questions to lead with are “What sort of adventures would you like to go on?” and “What’s your dream day look like?”
If you’re nervous, it’s ok, that’s totally normal and to be expected, just roll with it and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Be Clear About Expectations
People go on dating apps for all sorts of reasons. Some people are there for relationships, others are there for hook-ups. Sometimes couples go on them looking for someone to have a threesome with.
This is why it’s important to be clear about your intentions and desires upfront. A simple “What are you looking for?” can help prevent any unnecessary heartbreak. If dating someone who is sober, politically conscious, or kink-friendly is important to you, then be sure to be honest about that!
It’s not uncommon to downplay your needs out of fear of rejection, but the bottom line is if you don’t want the same thing out of this relationship, it’s always going to be missing something.
Taking Things IRL (In Real Life)
If you’re looking for something serious, then you don’t want to interact on a screen for days on end. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ask someone to meet up in person. It helps to keep it low pressure – getting coffee, going for a walk, or doing an activity you both enjoy.
For safety reasons, be sure to vet people by finding them on social media or video calling with them before meeting up in person. It’s also a good idea to tell a friend or family member where you’re going on your date, just in case, and let them know you’ll text them when you get back.
Another note on safety is to be wary of catfishing – when someone pretends to be someone they’re not. Sometimes people do this just to pull a prank, because they want to date but don’t feel comfortable with themselves, or as part of a scam to get money.
If you meet up in person and it doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to move on to the next person. Not everyone is going to be the right fit, and that’s ok! That’s the point of dating.
Enjoy The Process!
Dating shouldn’t be stressful, although it can feel that way, especially if you’re hoping for a certain outcome. We are drawn to people who seem like they enjoy life, that attitude creates a sort of magnetism. So, if you’re feeling depleted or drained from dating apps, don’t be afraid to take a little break to reset and focus on yourself for a bit.
Most importantly, relationships should overall be a source of joy. So, try to enjoy it no matter where you are in the process, even if you’re just getting started.