If you think joining the online dating world is a depressing and hopeless move, then you need to come out of the '90s. You can make online dating less depressing if only you change your mindset on the whole ordeal. This isn't Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail waiting with a carnation at a coffee shop while looking expectantly around the room. This is you bored on the bus or nibbling on chips at home, swiping right or left and chatting with a couple of interesting people in your city.
With technology being such a prevelant and important part of our lives, it's no wonder our love lives found a way to utilize its handiness. Sure it's romantic to meet someone over the bean dip at a party, but it's just as great to strike up a fun conversation via messages and meet up for a fantastic night out after. If you're under the impression that cruising online for your next Friday night buddy is a little bit soul crushing, then here are some tips on how to change that mentality around. Below are 11 ways to make online dating fun, not awkward. Now put on your favorite shoes and go out there and have a ball!
1. Meet Up Quickly
There's nothing more annoying than having to ping pong messages towards a person you like but who won't pull the trigger. So take the reigns and ask them out for a beer or a slice of cheesecake just as soon as you feel a connection. Dating industry expert Charly Lester shares in an email with Bustle, "If someone chats to you and they seem interesting enough, get offline and meet up in real life. You're only going to really know whether or not you fancy them in real life, and the quicker you meet the less likely you are to form unrealistic expectations which they won't be able to live up to." What's the worst that can happen with such a direct approach?
2. Don't Take It Too Seriously
There will be times when your messages get ignored or you get a good chat going and then the person just phases you out. It might sting a little, but understand that has nothing to do with you as a person or your worth. Lifestyle writer John Kim from self-development site Mind Body Green explained, "They don’t know you; they only see photos and words. That’s only a fraction of who you are. They'll judge, and so will you. There’s no way around that. Except not to take it so seriously." Sometimes you just don't feel like writing back — you did it to many people, and many people will do it back to you. It's okay.
3. Play The Field When It Comes To Apps
If you feel slimy on Tinder, then try out Coffee Meets Bagel or Bumble — heck, try all of them! "Every site and app is different and it's different horses for courses. Try out five to ten different apps and work out which ones you prefer," Lester suggests. And don't feel guilty using more than one app a time — most people are active across different platforms anyway.
4. Don't Set Down Narrow Standards
Instead of only asking a certain type of date to reach out to you, keep your standards broad. You never know what kind of person will pleasantly surprise you. "If you’re thinking, 'Well, I don’t want to waste my time with anyone I’m not attracted to.' How do you know? Relax. It’s just a date. Dating is about exploring, not finding someone who fits into your perfect mold," Kim suggested. Keep the height limitations off the table and see what happens.
5. Do Some Recon On The Apps
While you should be open minded on looks, chances are you have a certain type of person in mind you're hoping to meet. Save yourself the thumb carpal tunnel by doing some research on which app that kind of person could be found on. And the way to do that is to ask your friends and acquaintances that fit into the bracket of partner you're trying to find.
"When you're choosing which app or site to date on, speak to the type of guys or women you're hoping to meet. Which apps do they use? There's no point just selecting a site because you like it, if the people you're interested in wouldn't use it," Lester points out. Almost everyone uses dating apps these days, so don't be shy to ask for that info.
6. Reply To People That Make An Effort
Apps only give you around 300 characters to introduce yourself, but a lot can be relayed in that short snippet. Samantha Burns, Licensed Counselor and Dating Coach, tells in an email with Bustle, "Only message people who have filled out their profile. Leaving a profile blank tells someone you’re not taking the process seriously, and that you’re probably only interested in a hook up. If you’re hoping to meet a quality partner, then you need to show him or her that you’re a quality person by investing time into crafting a unique and descriptive profile." Aim for people that took effort with sharing their personality and themselves, and you might have a more fun outcome.
7. Know When To Take A Break
If you open up your app and let loose a sigh that sounds like it came from a hopeless place, it's time to take a step back for a week or two. You're no longer searching for the fun of it. "Online dating can feel like a lot of work. You have to put time and effort in, otherwise messages go unanswered, and people move on. But if it's all starting to feel a bit much, take a step away and give yourself some time off. It shouldn't feel like a second job!" Lester advises. If you take a break for two weeks and focus on yourself, you'll come back feeling refreshed and with a new mindset.
8. Don't Put Too Much Pressure On The Weed-Out System
If you put too much pressure on people's profiles, then flipping through them can become quite stressful. "Stop trying to rule someone in or out as boyfriend material simply by exchanging a few messages. To figure out if there’s true potential you need to meet in person, bottom line. I suggest an 80 percent rule, where if you like 80 percent of their profile and photos, give them a chance in person to see if there’s chemistry," Burns advises. If you're more game to meet up people even if they're not 100 percent dreamboat material, then the whole thing will feel more carefree and casual.
9. Make The Atmosphere Right
If you feel embarrassed or hopeless when you're online dating, then you need to change the atmosphere around it. "Find a way to make it feel as comfortable and fun as you can — invite a friend over for drinks while you write your profile. Listen to music, or watch TV while you're replying to messages. Link up with other single friends and keep each other posted on your progress. If it's not a fun experience, make the necessary changes to help you enjoy it more," Lester recommends. Turn it into a normal, fun part of your life, not something you should cringe over.
10. Don't Censor Yourself
Don't try to be the type of person the cutie on the other side of the message is looking for. Be authentically you and you'll have a lot more fun with the experience. "Everything about your online presence should be a snapshot of the true you, and this includes how you type. Don’t use a thesaurus. It’s okay to say dude if that’s your jam," Kim encouraged. If you click with someone that vibes with the real you, the whole thing will become all the more exciting.
11. Don't Go Out There Looking For Your Soulmate
Calm down. Online dating is fun in the fact it allows you to meet a variety of people you probably wouldn't have bumped into on your own in your city or town. That doesn't mean it's the secret key to unlock your soulmate. Take it down a notch and take the tool for what it is: A way to meet cool people to try new bars and restaurants with. Therapist and relationship writer Bea Arthur from lifestyle site Eflirt offered, "No matter how perfect his profile may seem, there’s always the possibility that there won’t be a spark. In person, chemistry is clear right off the bat, but you two might have little in common. And it’s the reverse online: he might quote all your favorite movies and even be from your home town but in the end, you’ll be as attracted to him as your brother." If you come in to these dates with realistic expectations, you'll have a fab time even if you don't click.
So the next time you take out your phone, do it with a little more relish. You never know what amazing person you'll meet with a swipe!
Images: @itsnotheritsme/ Instagram