Let’s talk online dating:

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I meet my fiance on Tinder, so lets talk dating apps, shall we? Everyone is moving to them, maybe they aren’t as cliche or frowned upon as they used to be. I remember when I started using them Junior year of college (in 2014) they still had a ton of stigma around them, and rightful so, it can be dangerous to meet a random stranger off the internet, that hasn’t changed over the past 20 years.

But what is the key to making dating apps work for you, in a way that you want them to? In the “I’m not looking for a hook-up” way, the “I’m online shopping for my future husband” way?

Here’s some things I noticed after being on and off of them for three years (about a passive year in total) and finally finding love via swiping right.

  • First things first, let’s start with safety: Maybe it’s not worth saying anymore, maybe we have all learned enough by now, but I still feel like I need to mention it. Meet your dates in a public location. Drive separately, don’t let them pick you up and don’t let them know where you live. Spend your time with them around other people and don’t get yourself into a position were you could get hurt. Tell someone where you will be and what this guys first and last name is.
  • Keep your bio direct and your motives clear: State what you’re looking for. If you want to start as friends and see were it goes, put that in there. If you’re looking for a relationship, put that in there. Maybe all guys don’t read your bio (it’s true that a number don’t) but it’ll help weed out some of the ones that do but aren’t interested in what you are. If it’s not in his bio? Ask him and ask him early on. Don’t beat around the bush. It’s needed information. You want to be on the same page. Another thing? Believe him when he says he’s not looking for anything serious and don’t bother.
  • Make them text you for a bit: It doesn’t have to be terribly long, but it’s a good idea to text someone for a few days to get an idea of who they are. I know some people go on dates the night they match or the one after, but if you want to keep yourself from going on a lot of bad first dates it’s a good idea to slow the process down enough that you have an idea of who you’re going out with.

  • Keep your pictures honest and tasteful: Everyone should have honest pictures, but tasteful ones are important if your looking for more than a hook-up. If you want people who are looking for a relationship you might want to tone down the sexiness of your profile pictures. Look cute, show off a little, but make sure you’re not sending them a different message than what your bio says. The reverse is true, you’re probably not looking to go out with the guy that has his six-pack in every single profile picture, because he’s probably not looking for a long and meaningful relationship. He’s trying to tell you he’ll text you at 2am asking if you are up, you might want to listen to him.
  • Give him a chance to show his true colors: Make one of your texts an easy lead in to a sleazy line without making it obvious. Some guys will jump at the opportunity and save you some time. When they ask what you’re doing tell them you’re in bed, see if the text that follows is “I wish I was there with you” or “oh? And what are you wearing?” I think we all know where this is heading.
  • Don’t judge a guy too much on his pictures: Obviously we want to be attracted to the people we date, and we’re not going to go out with someone we clearly aren’t attracted to, but there are a lot of profiles with “eh” pictures. We’re not really sure, we can’t really tell. Give those profiles a chance. It’s honestly alarming how bad some men are about getting good pictures of themselves. A lot of guys I wasn’t sure about looked better in person.
  • Give yourself breaks: So you have a few first dates that don’t work out and you’re feeling frustrated with the progress. Unfortunately that is how a lot of dating works, but that doesn’t mean you should just continue on. Take a break from the apps, take a step back, focus on other things for a few months and then try again. Not only will some new faces be on the apps, but you’ll be in the right head space going into dates, which gives them a better shot at working out.

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