Through eight years of getting to know online daters on multiple platforms, there is one thing I know for certain when it comes to heterosexual dating:
Guys have it tougher on the apps.
Many a “good guy” feels he is being looked over and if he gets a few connections a month, that’s a success. Ladies, I know we are bombarded with inappropriate messages and have our fair share of nonsense, but if we want to go on dates with real people, whether they are our dreamboat fantasies or not, we have it pretty easy in comparison.
It’s a cold, hard fact. Men make up the majority of users on dating platforms so of course it’s going to be tougher. Heck, y’all got competition! On the whole, men pay more for less of everything- genuine profiles, likes (or flowers or instant crushes or superswipes or whatever the app’s paid extras are), first moves, flirty comments and especially real, live dates. That is, after all, what most of us are there for. (And guys, trust me, I’m on a mission to get more ladies on the apps so just bear with me, we’re getting there.)
Let’s look outside of the numbers though, because there are some things we can address, together, as a loving dating community, that will improve the experience of hetero men (and women by proxy) on apps worldwide. The competition might be stiff but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to get some better connections going. I’ve asked countless cool/nerdy/average/offbeat dudes about their experiences and spent some solid time looking at the apps from their perspective, going through profiles, looking at messaging and even opening up my own profile to women in order to gain some insight. The amount of deception with fake profiles was indeed, abysmal, but beyond that, I noticed that guys weren’t helping themselves out most of the time. Gentlemen — you are your own worst enemy. Listen up.
There are a few reasons why the guys struggle and the ladies aren’t swiping, flirting first and risking an in-person encounter with you on the regular.
1. Profile Blunders are hurting you.
This topic could fill a book. Men tend to have a much lower rate of well constructed profiles than women. They tend to have more low quality photos, more mistakes in language, more off-color humor, more negativity and a higher instance of mysterious brevity to the point of creepiness. Despite the mountains of advice out there, I still regularly come across profiles that are lazy, repetitive and sometimes disturbing in their ignorance and lack of social awareness (two mirror bathroom selfies is quite enough).
The Fix: In order to gain trust from the females on dating apps, you have to care about your profile. If you want to give it true effort and go on real dates with women, I am begging you, get someone else to look at your profile and give you feedback. We are not always the most objective observers of ourselves. If you have a trusted friend or family member that knows you and has your best interest in mind, go to them. If not, read all the articles you can get your hands on or find a dating coach that appeals to you (we’re everywhere and we love to help you). It’s not about sacrificing who you are and becoming some poser Prince Charming, you’d just be surprised how some things read from a stranger’s perspective. Thankfully, the big apps are very hip to these problems and they also offer great, free advice constantly. Listen to them. Fix your photos, get rid of too much negativity framing and make someone curious and excited to get to know you.
2. Clicking on that sexy profile even though you know it’s not real hurts the apps.
It was almost laughable to see the extraordinary prevalence of fake or follower-driven female profiles, especially on some of the less regulated platforms like Tinder. On any given day, I could open the app and the very first female profile was likely to be sexually posed with filters and suspiciously sweet, girlfriend-y language. What a hook! But if you treat dating apps like they are another source of softcore porn, then that’s how they will perform. I’m sure it’s so tempting. She’s so cute and flirty but also seems to really like you for you. The chatting is super normal at first and she’s funny and smart, wow. Get carried away for too long and you will find yourself swimming in ladies that want to string you along for your attention (and possibly your money or gifts) in the hopes that you continue to be a loyal customer.
The Fix: Don’t be a sucker. If you’re not looking to support influencers or pay for sexual attention, stop clicking on or engaging with profiles that are obviously selling the sexual aspect only. They do it because it works! Avoid the trap! If you want a relationship, avoid those obvious profiles and report anything that goes against the app’s standards. This only makes the online dating community stronger. There are plenty of spaces to get your rocks off, so let’s do our best to separate these spaces.
3. Resistance to video chatting kills the mood.
Especially after our lovely pandemic dating period of 2020, women discovered that they like a video date before meeting in person and many men don’t. See the issue here? If we’re telling you this is the next step we feel comfortable with and you’re resisting, it’s a red flag, even though most of the time the reasoning on your side is harmless.
The Fix: Be brave! Do a video date. Stop being a party pooper. Make it fun; it’s one step closer to meeting up. Whatever your hangups are about being on camera, they will be tenfold in person, so might as well rip the bandaid off and go for it if it’s something she’s excited about.
4. Being open to everything when you actually want a relationship will push available women away.
I see this a lot and it’s an interesting tactic. Men will include the categories for “Casual” or “Hook-ups” in what they’re looking for when that’s really not their thing. The thinking is…why not? I’d do a hook-up, sure! Why not leave myself open to that possibility if some ladies are DTF. I’m not going to deny myself that experience! But people looking for hooking up on the apps versus a relationship is a pretty different crowd and those in the game for something serious are very wary of men that include that.
The Fix: Be smart. Be specific. Go for what you actually want, not just what you are willing to accept. If that’s hooking up or something casual, cool, no judgment. Just make sure that’s actually true to you and not just a lazy fantasy sitting on a screen, hurting your chances of finding something long term.
5. Not addressing disappointment exhaustion will poison new connections.
It’s understandable to feel a little glum after sending countless thoughtful messages with very little response, getting ghosted out on chats, and maybe the last few dates you managed to go on were nothing like you expected. It might even be tempting to start preemptively putting warnings in your profile to try and avoid those things and turning initial chats into serious interrogations. Soon enough, you are incapable of giving your potential date the benefit of the doubt and have turned into a humbug who is still butt hurt about being burned too many times. Not super enticing.
The Fix: Stop taking things too personally and remember that anyone who is being flaky or doesn’t want you is not the one for you. Be positive, direct and kind as a default to start. If you can’t get out of your funk, take a break from the apps. Self care, building on accomplishments and having a fresh perspective (and new profile!) when you get back on the apps will reinvigorate your approach. Better yet, try something new that’s guaranteed to get you legit face time with some folks like a CitySwoon event or The League’s happy hour. Tawkify is a fresh and more affordable approach to matchmaking or try using Meetup to just join activities, make new friends and expand your social circle.
. . .
Online dating is tough at times, that’s just the nature of the beast, but it can be especially tough for men that feel the odds are stacked against them. As much as the mainstream apps are making an effort to create safer spaces for daters with fewer fake profiles, the basic trend is that the more popular an app gets, the more likely it is to attract those who want to take advantage of it as a social platform. No matter how much traction you get, it will always be a numbers game and it takes constant reminding to stay positive and see it as the adventure of meeting people.
So, before you decide that it’s all too much effort and that it’s time to throw in the towel, take a breath and make sure you’re approaching it correctly and with the right attitude. Every day is a new day to put up a different photo, try that video date, or get your butt into some fun speed dating. Guys, don’t get mad, get dating.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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