Today’s Solutions: April 19, 2024

Navigating the world of dating apps can be both exciting and intimidating as you condense your entire personality and aspirations into a few brief lines for the judgment of total strangers. If just thinking about it makes you feel a bit queasy, then congratulations, you’re human.

According to a 2020 study conducted by Western Sydney University, dating app users frequently express higher levels of stress and anxiety than those who do not utilize such platforms. Other studies discovered a link between app use and social anxiety, body image issues, and depression. In fact, a poll of 1,000 Tinder users found that they had much higher levels of “appearance comparison and body shame” than non-users, a pattern that was evident in both men and women. The study found that male Tinder users, in particular, had significantly lower self-esteem than both male and female non-users.

Despite this, the popularity of dating apps continues to rise. Approximately 32 percent of the single dating population in the United States has used these internet platforms. Meanwhile, eHarmony, a well-known dating website in the United Kingdom, forecasts that by 2035, 50 percent of all partnerships will have started off online.

Millions have gone through this journey, survived the storms, and come up with ways to navigate dating apps without wanting to pull their hair out or flee. The goal is to summon actual confidence, even if it feels difficult or causes moments of embarrassment. So, let us look at some tactics and insights for maneuvering the arena of online dating while remaining true to yourself and maintaining your sanity. Here’s what you should know:

1. Embrace the icebreaker

According to relationship and dating coach Vicki Pavitt, your profile is merely a connection maker. So, don’t be afraid of being judged or attempting to please everyone. Consider it an opportunity to highlight your skills, unique talents, and eccentricities.

2. Be specific: Do not conceal your actual self

Pavitt recommends including odd hobbies, humorous quirks, and guilty pleasures on your profile. Whether it’s your favorite cuisine or the most recent concert you saw, give specific examples and search for the same in others.

3. Use your time wisely (Part I)

Relationship coach and therapist Annie Lavin warns that dating exhaustion is real. Set time limits for swiping and be present within those parameters. For example, give yourself three 20-minute periods to dedicate to online dating throughout the day. Instead of mindlessly swiping during this time, pay attention to how you feel.

4. Manage your app time (Part II)

Don’t use dating apps as your primary chat channel. Remember that you’re talking to strangers and that dating apps shouldn’t be confused with messaging apps. Swipe once or twice a week, and keep a healthy balance with your offline life.

5. Be straight up about your intentions

According to Pavitt, you should consider including your relationship goals in your profile. This will save time and resources by filtering out incompatible partners. Express yourself assertively and assist possible matches in identifying themselves as the one for you.

6. Understand why you’re there

It’s critical to understand why someone is using a dating app. Don’t be afraid to ask whether your matches are looking for a relationship, a monogamous commitment, something casual, or something else. In turn, you should practice honesty and clarity to avoid misunderstandings and wasted time.

7. Lean into “boring” interactions

According to therapist Andrew G. Marshall, you don’t have to overshare or expose everything in a single encounter. Keep it light and discuss mutual interests such as binge-worthy TV shows. These lighter shared interests can start interesting conversations and help make new connections.

8. Make meeting IRL a priority

It’s really hard to know if a potential partner is your type if you haven’t met yet. Don’t waste time with extensive email or text exchanges with someone before meeting in person. To prevent wasting time on mismatched matches, it’s important to find out soon if you click in real life. Setting up a casual “pre-date” date is one way to do this.

9. Be vulnerable

Marshall encourages being kind to yourself during this vulnerable time. Different aspects of your personality may be involved, but try to be gentle with each facet. Not getting a positive response is generally due to the other person’s opinion, not your worth.

10. Be mindful and manageable

Dating apps should be considered a side thing, not the main project in your life. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of administration involved (of which much is usually required) and instead, frame online dating as something you can fall into and out of a couple times a week. Maintain a controlled and mindful conversation with a few people at a time instead of juggling a large number of matches at once. Then, concentrate on setting up an in-person meeting and take it from there!

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