A lot of people I know have a love/hate relationship with their favorite dating app. In fact, a lot of them have had some kind of dating app burnout at some point. You use it for a few months and at the beginning it's all great — swiping, showing your friends all of the ridiculous photos, asking for messaging advice, maybe going on a few dates. But then none of the dates go anywhere (if you even go out with anyone at all), it all seems to feel a bit frustrating and time consuming, so you delete them. Then a few months later, the whole process repeats itself.
You loose any hope of momentum when you're constantly starting from scratch over and over again. There has to be a better way. And I know it may sound ridiculous, but using your dating apps more mindfully may be the way forward.
I don't mean letting out some OMs over your morning Tinder swipe session, I mean being more in the moment and paying attention to what you're doing, rather than just swiping away for the endorphin hit of a match. "A mindful approach to life generally means doing one thing at a time and doing only that. Often when people use dating apps, they are ambivalent. They might feel foolish or they might feel insecure or self-conscious," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "Therefore they often swipe through the apps when they are doing other things. They aren't paying that much attention because they assume that anyone who would be a good match for them will automatically jump out. This is not really the case. You need to sit quietly in order to let the profiles resonate with you."
So how do you do that? Here are three tips for using dating apps mindfully:
1. Start With A Clean Slate
First things first, take a little break from dating apps, so you can restart with a clean slate. "I suggest a break to my clients all the time," dating and relationship coach Ravid Yosef tells Bustle. "Sometimes our energy is what's attracting others and if we don't have enough self-care in our life or get obsessive with our notifications, we start looking for validations outside of ourselves. Which in turn attracts the wrong kind of attention." So let's pause and reset.
2. Take A Moment With Each Profile
I know it sounds silly, because it's not like there's that much info in most online dating profiles, but you just need something to slow you down. But by reading the profile and actually looking at all the photos, you normally can weed out a lot of people who you wouldn't be interested in at all but would have looked promising from just the first photo. If you've ever had a match and then seen the Confederate flag in their third photo and thought "WHAT HAVE I DONE!?", you know what I'm talking about. "Sit and actually read the profiles," Hartstien tells Bustle. "Photos are important, you do need to find the person attractive, but really reading through a prospective dates' words will give you a much greater level of insight into who they are. If you go through your dating apps in a more mindful way, you are likely to find some hidden gems that you would never have noticed if you multitask with these apps."
3. Be Realistic
A lot of times I think, "Ah, why not?" when I've been swiping away, but as soon as I get a message from them I take a closer look and think, "What the hell was I thinking!?". Only say yes to people you will actually talk to if they message you. The more you swipe left the fewer useless messages that clog up your inbox and keep you from going out with people you actually like.
4. Minimize Swiping And Maximize Talking
Swiping is the fun part — but it's also not going to get you any dates. It can get you too many matches and lead to burnout. Try saying to yourself that you're only going to spend X number of minutes swiping every day and then the rest of the time is only for messaging. You need to actually start talking to people — so whether it's replying to messages or sending them yourself, make that your main activity. By making responsible decisions in who you match with and maximizing the amount of time you speak to them, you'll be sure to get the most out of your dating apps.
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