This time of the year can often make people who aren’t involved in romantic relationships feel like they’re missing out on something. How can it not, when a lot of the media that we digest is central to the idea of who is dating whom, which person got kicked off The Bachelor this week, and the best (worst), #RelationshipGoals? This inspires many to seek companionship by means of online dating apps, like Tinder and Bumble, to find “the one”(…that you can tolerate for at least a little bit before things get weird). Like all things, there’s an art to dating apps, and it’s one that I’ve never quite mastered myself. Thankfully I’ve got a couple friends who have cultivated meaningful relationships via the World Wide Web, and they’ve been kind enough to share their Dating Dos and Don’ts with us.
- Know what the other person is looking for before you become involved with someone.
Dating apps can be used for casual hookups and longer, more serious relationships alike. It’s important that you and the person you match with are aware of what the other is looking for, so that you don’t think you’re entering a casual thing and your match introduces you to his entire family (aunts and uncles included) on the first date. (Are you cringing? That actually happened to one of my friends!)
- Not everyone is out like you are.
A friend of mine who is gay has said that the most difficult part about dating online mirrors the most difficult part about dating in real life: not everyone is publicly out, so initiating a hangout could be met with hesitation.
- Be ready for miscommunication.
Nothing is sure-fire on the internet, and texting/messaging often skews the natural flow of conversation. Be aware of the fact that this does happen, and whether or not you feel the person you’re talking to is worth navigating the confusion for (i.e.: does the confusion have to do with the digital nature of the conversation or can the two of you just not have a rhythm?)
- Remember that everyone presents his or her best self online.
Don’t idealize the people you see on the Internet, and take the time to actually get to know the people you’re talking to. Just as you’ve cleaned up your profiles to display what you think is the most appealing version of yourself, so have others. This isn’t to say that you’re not being authentic, so much as it is not totally transparent. Ask good questions, and don’t be afraid to scope them out on other forms of social media if you’ve got some sort of weird feeling about them.
- Find a platform that works for you.
General rule of thumb: Tinder is usually used for more casual of occasions (though I do have lots of friends who are dating their best match). Something like Coffee Meets Bagel is for people actively seeking serious relationships. Bumble is somewhat of a mix of the two. Women seem to like it because they are the ones that have to message first and feel more comfortable in that. They also have a “Bumble BFF” feature if you’re looking for some gal pals.
- Rapid fire round:
Be up front, be funny, ask questions, never respond to a simple “hey”, or the super extra “wow you look like the girl I had sex with in my dreams last night” .
Happy swiping, all! Enjoy these cringe-y screenshots my friends have sent me: