8 Ways To Change Up How You Use Dating Apps If You Feel Like They Aren't Working For You

by Laken Howard
Ashley Batz/Bustle

As any good, practicing millennial knows, using dating apps to meet people just comes with the territory of being single these days. Sure, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea — and there are certainly plenty of ways to meet people offline, too — but dating apps are nonetheless a great tool that, when used properly, can yield some seriously great results for your love life. However, there might be times when you don’t feel like you’re being “successful” on dating apps, which can lead to burnout if you’re not proactive about changing up the way you use your dating apps.

“I think the biggest sign you want to change your approach is when the thought of checking [your dating apps] makes you cringe,” Scott Valdez, founder and president of ViDA, a service that helps clients meet their ideal match online, tells Bustle. “‘Work smarter, not harder’ definitely applies to dating apps — there are so many tricks you can use to boost your results, whether it’s knowing the best times to send a message or the science-backed formula for the perfect Tinder photo. Putting a little research in — or even consulting an expert — can save you a ton of time in the long run, and you’ll likely start meeting higher caliber singles.”

If you’re not seeing the results you want on dating apps, here are eight expert tips you can use to freshen up your swiping routine — and hopefully meet some great new people as a result.


Upload Some Fresh Photos

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Choosing which pictures to use on your dating profile is not an easy task — especially if you’re the kind of person who’s camera shy. But if you’re not having much luck on apps, updating your photos is a simple way to refresh your profile and hopefully glean some more matches as a result.

“New pictures can increase matches — and ego!” Meredith Golden, a dating app ghostwriter and dating coach, tells Bustle. “I advise my clients to get a professional photo — smiling and looking at the camera — for their first profile picture. A swiper decides right or left in a nanosecond. A great first picture will increase the chances of a swipe right. If you’re not advancing to a match, there’s zero opportunity for a future date.”


Write A New Bio

Hannah Burton/Bustle

If you’ve been using dating apps for a while, chances are you wrote your bio a long time ago — but your life or interests have likely changed, even if just in small ways, since then. It’s helpful to frequently update your bio to give potential matches an accurate, current glimpse of the person you are.

The description is the springboard for conversation,” Golden says. “Make it easy for the single to engage with you. Four to five topics of engagement will suffice. For example: ‘Love 80’s music, vegan since 2010, president of my elementary school class, equestrian, always game for a good road trip.’”


Enlist A Friend (Or Professional) To Help You Swipe

Hannah Burton/Bustle

Who says swiping has to be a solo activity? If you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to who you’re matching with, try enlisting the help of a trusted friend, family member, or even professional who can swipe for you and (hopefully) shake things up.

“I realize not everyone can hire [a dating app ghostwriter like me], but having a fresh set of eyes is priceless,” Golden says. “Consider turning over the dating app process to a close friend or sibling. This allows the single to get a swiping/messaging break without missing out on meeting people. Plus, the sibling or friend might pick someone amazing whom the single would not have chosen on their own.”


Reduce The Amount Of Time You Spend On Dating Apps

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When you’re constantly checking your dating apps, it’s inevitably going to start to feel exhausting. They might be a fun way to procrastinate, but if you limit how often you check your apps, you’re less likely to experience dating app fatigue.

“Only go on twice a day during the week,” Golden says. “If someone is consistent messaging twice a day during the week, it will generate enough momentum to move the chatting forward to yield a meet. Being on all day and immediately responding — to a stranger — is counterproductive, trust me on this. In this instance, less is more.”


Stop Giving Your Energy To People Who Don’t Want To Meet Up

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

There’s almost nothing worse than matching with someone who you’re super excited about, only to realize weeks in that they’re more interested in a pen pal than a partner. If you’re looking for a real connection, learn to let go of anyone who’s shaping up to be a waste of time instead of continuing to give them your time and energy.

Stay away from the ‘drainers,’” Golden says. ”These are the people who will chat endlessly, waste your time, and have no intention of ever meeting. Some of them are nerve-y enough to ask for your cell to continue being pen pals. If a week has passed and there are no signs of progressing into a date, stop engaging, and focus your swiping/chatting energy on someone else.”


Schedule Dates In-App, *Then* Give Them Your Number

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

One easy trick that can change up your dating app game? Instead of giving your number to matches before planning a meetup, wait until after the date has been scheduled to exchange digits. That way, you don’t wind up endlessly messaging people who have no intention of meeting IRL, plus it reduces the amount of random numbers in your contacts — a win-win!

“There’s a high drop off rate when switching from the app to text,” Golden says. “Once plans are solidified, then it’s fine to provide a cell [number].”


Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Hannah Burton/Bustle

With so many apps to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just download them all so you don’t “miss out” on anyone — but if you’re not willing to devote a ton of time and energy to maintaining a presence all those apps, it’s better to just pick one or two that you really like and devote your energy to those.

Dating apps need to feel manageable!” Golden says. ”Figure out what’s realistic to maintain. If a single only has 20 minutes a day for online dating, stick to just one app! Being spread too thin on multiple apps reduces consistent use and consistency is necessary.”


Take A Hiatus If You Feel Overwhelmed

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Most importantly, if you start to feel seriously burnt out and have a negative attitude towards online dating, don’t forget that it’s not only OK, but healthy, to take a hiatus from your dating apps if need be.

“If a single is experiencing dating fatigue and becoming cranky on the dates, consider taking a two week hiatus to recharge,” Golden says. “Happiness attracts happiness. It’s better to refresh with a short break than show up for a date exuding negativity.”

Ultimately, the number one thing to remember is that dating apps are simply a tool to meet people — not something that cause you emotional stress or negative feelings. If you’re feeling like you want to change the way you use dating apps, go for it! But it’s also OK if you need a break from dating apps for a while; there are plenty of other ways to meet people — or you can just enjoy flying solo, too.