• Lauren Weisenstein

How to Make the Best out of Dating Apps

If you’re like most people, you probably have mixed feelings about app dating. Some days it’s exciting and you’re brimming with hope about the your latest connection. Some days it’s lackluster and frustrating, and you just want to give up. This is normal. Any activity that requires you to repeatedly put yourself out there will come with some inevitable rejection, awkwardness, and discomfort. Using dating apps just speeds up the process of regular dating, so instead of meeting potential someones once a month or every couple months, you’re meeting one or more people every week. That’s a lot!

But the great thing about app dating is that it’s a fast track for personal growth and discovery. The higher volume of dates will expose your relational patterns really quick. So if you look at it this way, your dating “failures” and frustrations are actually a goldmine of information. You can learn a lot about yourself and really figure out what you want (and don’t want!).

Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s of app dating to make the most out of your experience:

Do: Know What You Want

You’ve probably heard the advice to never grocery shop without a list while you’re hungry. Why? Because you’ll just end up throwing the first delicious looking items you see in your basket. But then you’ll get home and realize that Flaming Hot Cheetos and a whole block of cheddar cheese maybe aren’t the best choices.

It’s the same with dating. If you go on the apps without knowing what you want, you’ll end up going on dates with a whole lot of people who probably aren’t the best matches for you. If certain traits are important to you, swipe and date with these in mind. If humor is important to you, you probably don’t want to date someone who just doesn’t make you laugh. If you’re a homebody, you probably don’t want to date someone who’s out 5 nights a week. If you want to take off and travel the world for a year, it’s probably better that you don’t choose someone who wants to settle down soon. If frequent communication is important you, you probably don’t want to date someone who takes days to respond. Knowing what you absolutely need, and what you’re willing to compromise on will help you navigate your dating life more successfully!

Do: Learn From Each Date

Every date, successful or not, has something to teach you. Maybe it’s something really small, like the realization that you instantly liked your date more for being punctual. Or maybe it’s something more significant, like a realization that you’d rather not date a workaholic and you want to watch out for signs of that in the future. Or maybe you noticed how good your date was at listening, and you realized that’s something you want to practice too. Even if it’s as simple as discovering a new favorite Thai food dish, you can always take at least something from each date. With this mindset, your dating history also becomes a catalogue of learnings and feels a little more purposeful.

Do: Use an App like Flutter that Encourages Meeting in Real Life

We all know that uniquely deflating feeling when you finally meet someone that you’ve been texting for weeks and you two fall completely flat in person. One of the biggest challenges with using dating apps is navigating the sometimes significant gap between text chemistry and in-person chemistry. That’s where a dating app like Flutter is the perfect solution. Flutter is only open Sundays, so it encourages you and your date to limit the back-and-forth messaging, and to just meet in person. After all, in person is where all the magic happens!

Don’t: Get Wasted on Your Dates

We often tend to lean on our favorite social lubricant alcohol to soothe our first date jitters. It makes us feel a little more emboldened and comfortable and can foster warmth and chemistry with the person across from us. But drinking a lot on dates can also blur our boundaries and create a false sense of intimacy. Have you ever had an experience where you had a magical first date with someone, canoodling the night away with one too many glasses of wine, and then on the second date when you’re more sober, you realize that you don’t really have anything in common and you’re not a great match after all? This is the downside to getting drunk on your dates. You dull your ability to be discerning and suss out real compatibility. If you limit yourself to just a drink or two on your early dates, you’ll get a lot more out of them and you’ll waste less time on dead ends that were only alluring under the guise of dim bar lighting and a lot of IPAs.

Don’t: Take Bad Dating Behavior Personally

Ghosting. Flaking. Bread-crumbing. These are all unfortunate realities of today’s dating world. Chances are, you’ve experienced one or all of these at some point in your dating life. It can feel incredibly discouraging when you’re of the receiving end of such behavior. But the most important thing to remember in these scenarios is that someone’s choice to treat you poorly has nothing to do with you. They’ve done it before you, they’ll do it after you. These behaviors ultimately stem from someone’s inability or unwillingness to have a mature, honest conversation. You’re totally entitled to your disappointment if this happens to you, but also try and be grateful that this person conveniently filtered themselves out for you. Next!

Don’t: Settle

People settle for a variety of reasons, including boredom, desperation, loneliness, or fear that they won’t find what they’re really looking for so this person in front of them will do. But settling helps no one. Not you, and not the person you’re settling for (or the person who’s settling for you). Settling wastes everyone’s time, because instead of being patient and waiting for what you really want, you end up spending your precious time with someone who doesn’t really do it for you. And surely that person would rather be with someone who’s more than lukewarm about them. Dating is better for all parties when you’re patient and discerning enough to only date people you’re excited about.

Don’t: Ignore Your Part in Patterns

o you keep finding yourself dating the same type of people, and being disappointed or frustrated in the same ways? Do you have a “type” that you know might not be good for you, but you just caaaan’t help being attracted to them? Do you find yourself repeatedly either getting a little too attached or a little too distant when things start to progress with someone? Patterns like this show you where you are contributing to your dating difficulties.

This isn’t what most people want to hear though. It’s easier to keep blaming each of your dates for not working out, rather than looking at how you may be continually creating these situations. Ultimately, you have to remember that you are choosing who you date. Yes, you shouldn’t take bad behavior personally, but if you keep choosing people who disappoint you, or are unavailable, or are bad communicators, it may be time to examine why you’re making these choices. Do you worry that you won’t find anyone better? Do you think you’re not worth better treatment? Or maybe you’re the one who is unavailable and you keep finding reasons to end things before they begin.

In any case, you make the most out of dating when you remember that you’re 50% of the equation. If you can use your patterns to learn and grow from, you’ll create more success and ease for yourself in dating. And chances are, the growth will carry over to other parts of your life too!

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