Not too long ago, my clients cringed with embarrassment when admitting they met their significant other through dating apps. Today though, they have no problem whatsoever talking about it. In fact, this act, that perhaps was once thought to be one of desperation, is the norm. Let’s face it, people are busy and tired of relying on going to bars or joining activity groups in hopes of meeting someone. These methods, although great when they work, still leave a lot to chance, e.g. you don’t know if someone is at a bar because they actually want to meet someone or because they’re simply relaxing. If nothing else, apps such as Hinge and Bumble offer a market place of sorts and if done right, can be incredibly efficient and fruitful.
As a psychotherapist and self help author, I’ve helped hundreds of clients write their dating profiles and navigate the world of online dating. I’m in the unique position to hear from both men and women what they hate and love about online dating. I hear about red flags, things that work, and things that freak people out.
Here’s how to get it right and avoid dating app fatigue:
- Do be honest when you describe what you’re looking for. Doing so now will save you time and problems down the road. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, then say so. If you’re looking for something casual, then say it and don’t mislead.
- Do describe yourself honestly. The goal is to meet so the person will see you soon enough. It’s easy to know the difference between six feet and five feet six. Don’t lie about height, weight, hair, or anything else.
- Avoid self-aggrandizing. Saying “I’m super successful” or “I’m very attractive” will come across as conceited. Even if you are super successful and attractive, let the other person draw that conclusion. After all, attractiveness is subjective. Just because your Mom thinks you are handsome doesn’t mean App girl will too.
- Decode the language. “Experimented with drugs in college” might mean he/she was in rehab. “Recently divorced” might mean divorced yesterday, literally. And, “I run a company” might mean the person is starting up a side business and sinking all his or her extra time and money into it and won’t be able to give you the attention you desire.
- Don’t be a fake. Way too many people try to be someone that they are not online because it’s easy to do. Anyone can create a persona that includes a more glamorous career than they actually have, or an enhanced image of themselves. Don’t be that person. Be yourself and be honest.
- Be specific in your profile. For example, if you like to dine out, then list the type of cuisine and perhaps even share your favorite restaurant. If you like to travel, don’t just say: “I like to travel.” That’s boring, unimaginative, and shows a lack of depth. Talk about a recent trip you took or a trip you’re planning to take. It brings you and the topic to life making things all the more enticing.
- Avoid using overused and clichéd lines such as “I’m just as comfortable at a dive bar as I am at a wine bar” or “I’m just as comfortable in high heels as I am in sneakers.” Boring! Show your comfort level in a way that hasn’t been done ten million times before. Maybe talk about your favorite dive bar and the latest formal event you attended. But don’t be pretentious. If you attend galas, that’s great but don’t let it be your sole activity because it might come across as a bit snobby.
- Do post pics. Not doing so will only lead to suspicion and one will think worst case scenario: he/she is married, hideous looking, or crazy. Use a picture that accurately shows you and by all means, no shots of you with your ex or him or her cropped out. And professional head shots can be a bit stiff and show you’re trying too hard. Stick to casual. If your career is high profile or visible and you’re not comfortable posting picture then offer a genuine and honest explanation, but know this tremendously lessens your chances of actually connecting with people.
- Do orient the meeting towards real life and don’t rely on social media life. Do not get into endless text exchanges. This will only lead to people creating unrealistic expectations of the other person and potentially wasting time. Be careful linking to you social media. You want the person to like you in real life, not your social media life.
- Finally, plan to meet in a public place, obviously. Do not go for a formal or expensive dinner. This is uncomfortable for both. Go for casual drinks or coffee and keep expectations in check: it’s merely a meeting to get to know the person. Eliminate any thinking such as, “I’m meeting Prince Charming” or “future spouse” – that will create way too much pressure. Have fun!
For more tips on living a healthy and stress-free life, check out my book Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.