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When I saw GMP put out a call for submissions on this topic, I realized I know lots of people who go on dates through apps. This is largely because as a dating coach, my clients usually go on 3-5 dates a week once they’re online. They generally are in an exclusive relationship within three months. We know, even though marriage rates are down in general, at least a third of marriages are a result of digital dating.
So, what’s going on with all the other folks who aren’t getting dates? After working with countless singles, here are the top five ways I think they are missing the point:
This is the number one reason I find people aren’t having success. I meet people all the time who say, “Dating is SO MUCH WORK!” I think many people believe they will pop on an app, go on one date and find the person they are looking for at the first go. They also sometimes fail to realize that once they get in a relationship, they will have to work at it, too!
I suggest starting a brand-new profile on the site that best works for you. I start all my clients on OKCupid and if they want to add a paid site, we do. One exercise is for clients to fill out a weekly calendar with their normal activities, while making time to be using the app and going on dates. Starting an app a week when you are traveling or have a huge project due, is not ideal. You want to meet people within 72 hours of that first message, so you need a clear calendar. It will be busy at first, but don’t give up…keep working at it knowing that the payoff will be worth it!
You’re on the wrong app for your needs
If you’re looking for a serious relationship on Tinder, I’m not saying it can’t happen, but you are going to be putting out maximum energy weeding through messages, inappropriate photos and going on dates, only to find out they just want to have a “good time.”
Whereas, on OKCupid there is a way to find your niche of people with their awesome questions algorithm which create more accurate matches. It’s okay to add one that tailors to your personality or situation, like J-date (for Jewish people), Stitch (for singles over 50) or MeetMindful (for the spiritually minded.)
Your profile sucks
Let’s just get this out of the way first…if your main profile photo isn’t decent, then no one will click on you in the first place. Hats, sunglasses, or outdated or far away, fuzzy photos will get you nowhere. Men, we don’t want to see shirtless bathroom mirror photos, you with professional cheerleaders or with your latest hunting or fishing kill. Women if you have cleavage, leg or booty shots and then complain about only getting creepy messages from men, don’t act surprised. Good main profile pictures should be smiling face shots where you look friendly and approachable. Within your other photos, you should also always include a recent full body picture.
As for the “about me” section, if you aren’t good with words, ask a friend to help you out or have your profile professionally written. It should be as clear of a picture of who you are and what you are looking for, as can be. I usually write them by asking clients their most important values and what values they are looking for in a partner. I also ask them to describe their ideal relationship after dating a while and what a perfect weekend would look like. Describing what you do in a sentence is more effective than just making a list of likes. After you’ve read a few profiles, lists all sound the same. Try to exude your personality, as much as possible, in 3-4 paragraphs.
You don’t know what you really want
A good profile is worth doing well. Most people just throw something on the wall and see if anything sticks, which is precisely why they aren’t getting dates. Spend time figuring out what you imagine in a relationship, in a month and then a year. I spend a lot of time with clients working on values and boundaries, by knowing these ahead of time you will be far more likely to stick to them and not end up in another relationship with the wrong (or same) type of person.
You’re a bad communicator
As much as some people hate it, not being a good communicator both in written and spoken word can be a huge issue in modern dating. Texting is huge part of it and if you are a lazy texter, and don’t get back to potentials within a reasonable amount of time, (and when I say reasonable, I mean the same amount of time it would take you to reply to your best friend), you will never get the momentum going to make it to the date stage.
If you hate texting, you could always suggest a phone call first and then if that goes well, set up a time to meet. If the phone call falls flat, then you probably don’t want to spend an hour or two across the table with someone. Communicating on an app, then via text or phone before meeting, is key, so if this isn’t your strong suit, invest some time in available resources to improve.
Dating apps are highly useful if you use them right. My mantra for life fits well here, “You have to be invested in the person or process, without being attached to the outcome.” Love it or hate it, you really do have to be invested in the process of online dating. You should also be invested in getting to know the people you are 51% interested in. Remember, a profile is just a glimpse of person, many of which would be amazing people if you had met them in person first.
Onward and Upward, Daters!
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