Online dating has become a common way to meet and connect with people. Online dating providers are expected to have reached 441 million active users worldwide by the end of this year. 36% of Canadians use online dating. Online dating statistics show that 20% of those in current, committed relationships began online. There are so many apps that offer a wide range of features, preferences, and target populations. Here are some tips to improve your online dating experience this summer:
1. Pick the app wisely.
Not all apps are the same; they may offer different preferences or be known as more of a hook-up app. For example on bumble, in heterosexual matches, only female users can make the first contact with their male matches. Grindr is a gay dating app that shows users based on location and shows how far they are from your location. HER is a dating app for lesbian, bi, queer, non-binary, trans, and gender non-conforming folxs.
2. Be honest.
Being honest about who you are, your interests, your history, goals (i.e. children, career), what you are looking for in a partner makes it more likely to connect with someone that you are compatible with and more likely that things could work out.
3. Use accurate photos.
It can be intimidating putting yourself and photos of yourself out there to be seen and possibly judged. It is normal to want to upload the most flattering photos of yourself on your profile, especially when people may decide whether or not to click or swipe right on your profile based on your physical appearance. But when we meet in person, we expect the person to look like the person in their photos. Try and find a balance of posting flattering photos while still being an accurate representation of who you are. Choose photos that show who you are and your personality. Don’t be tempted to try and change your style and image because you think it will appeal to more people. Show a wide range of photos that show you and your personality, such as some candid photos, things you have done, where you have traveled, and not just selfies.
4. Be open minded.
Sometimes we have this concrete idea in our head of the “perfect” partner. We may even have a list in our head of what we are looking for a partner or what type of partner. However, sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we really need. Maybe dating hasn’t worked out so far because you are dating the same type of person over and over. Try to be open to interacting with people who you may never considered before and see what happens.
5. Have fun.
Online dating and dating in general should be a fun experience. If it no longer feels that way consider trying another app or take a step back as a sort of reset and reevaluate.
6. Be clear about your intentions.
Be clear about why you are on the app. You may be looking to settle down, get married, and have kids. You also may be just looking for some fun and hook up. It is important to let the person you are speaking with know what your intentions are. If you just want to hook up occasionally they may not want to connect with you with the fear of getting hurt when they want more and you don’t. They should have that information to make that informed decision.
7. Know when to take a break.
Check in with yourself. If online dating is affecting your mental health or feels more of a chore, maybe consider taking a break.
8. Set boundaries.
Only do what you’re comfortable with. You may be talking with someone for a bit and they may suggest exchanging phone numbers or a video call. If you are not ready for that, it is okay to set that boundary. Boundaries can change. Once you get to know them better you may feel more comfortable with that. Communicate with them and make your boundaries clear. If they are not respecting the boundaries you have set, you may consider not continuing to interact with them. Boundaries are about how you feel, so pay attention to your emotions, your body, and comfort level and proceed from there.
9. Don’t send unsolicited photos.
It is important to ask for consent before sending someone a photo, especially if it is an intimate photo. Also keep in mind that the other person may distribute photos you have sent without your consent. Distributing an intimate photo without consent is a criminal offense.
10. Know the red and green flags.
Be aware of the red and green flags. There are red flags that are more obvious, but some are more subtle. Some red flags could be that they give vague answers, don’t respect your boundaries, or they gaslight you. Some green flags could be that they follow through with what they say, listen and are a great communicator, honest about their intentions, or make you feel comfortable and good about yourself.