Your friends convinced you to hop on Match. Or eHarmony. Bumble. OKCupid. But you’re overwhelmed at the idea of finding just one amazing guy with all the cruddy ones that are out there.
Using a dating app or website can be frustrating, I know.
They’re filled with clueless guys.
Guys who will offend you.
Guys who are looking for something you’re not.
So…how can you actually meet a quality guy on a dating app? Is it even possible?
I know a surprising number of women who have met great men — some even having long-term relationships or even marriages with them — on dating apps. It’s all a matter of how you approach it.
1. Know What You Want
How can you expect to find the man you’re looking for if you don’t know what you’re looking for? It can be helpful to create a list of what you want in a man (medium build. blond. loves ’80s hair bands) so you can at least know when a guy that’s in the realm of what you want pops up on your screen.
2. Set Your Filters High
Most dating apps let you use filters to only show results that you’re interested in. If you’re only interested in men aged 39-50, use that filter. Also, how far are you willing to go to date a guy? If your cutoff is 25 miles, don’t search beyond those geographic parameters.
You can also filter other data, like whether you want the guy to have or want kids, his religion, and what he’s looking for relationship-wise. This will keep you from wasting your time on guys that aren’t aligned with what you want.
Note: it will also limit the results you get, so if you’re left with only a handful of options, loosen up on those criteria.
3. Make Your Profile Detailed
Some women would argue that men don’t read dating profiles, but assume they do. Put what you want men to know about you in yours. Also: this is your selling tool. Take the time to craft a dating profile that is witty and shares some insight into who you are and what you want.
This is totally preference, but it may be helpful to mention in your profile whether you’re looking for a relationship or not. Some guys may see the word “relationship” and automatically pass over your profile, but clearly those aren’t the guys you’re looking for anyway. Be up front about what you want, otherwise you might end up on a date with someone who just wants a hookup, and you shouldn’t waste your time there.
4. Be Brave!
Men don’t always make the first move on dating sites, or else they send a terrible “test the waters” message like “hey.” (I know. Real creative.)
Some apps, like Bumble, actually put the power in your hands. Either you initiate the conversation, or the match disappears. I know it can be daunting to send the first message, but realize: he’s interested in you, too, or you wouldn’t have been matched.
And it’s not like you have to marry this guy. Use the messaging feature to simply practice talking to a variety of men. You’re not committing to even meeting the guy until you’re ready, so take initiative and simply converse.
Note: Some guys won’t respond. Don’t take it personally. Sad to say, some simply ‘like’ every profile in an effort to get results. These are not the men you should be looking for. Move on.
5. Ask Questions (But Don’t Drill)
The more you learn about this guy, the more promising he is, and so you ask more and more (and more!) questions, especially if you’re new to the whole dating thing again.
Then he ghosts.
Likely you freaked him out with your interrogations.
Questions will naturally be a part of the getting-to-know-you process on a dating app, but don’t go overboard. Save some questions for that first meet, if you get to it. Instead, ask a few, then focus on conversation. Maybe asking, “What kind of music do you like?” leads to a conversation about 1990s power ballads. Let it. Casual conversation will be more of a tell of whether you’re compatible with this guy or not than his canned answers to the usual questions.
6. Establish a Process
You’ll meet some guys who ask you out for coffee before they know one thing about you, while others will take days or even weeks. But don’t let him control whether or not and when you meet. Having your own process for vetting a guy to decide if he’s worthy of meeting can help you focus your efforts on only meeting with guys that actually are promising.
Maybe you decide you want to cover the whole “have you ever been married? have kids?” conversation before you meet up. Maybe you want to text for at least three days before deciding to meet. Maybe you want a phone conversation (not just texts) before going on a date. Whatever criteria makes you feel comfortable about meeting this near-stranger, apply it. If he asks you out before you’re ready, tell him you’d like to spend a little more time getting to know him digitally first.
7. Give Him a Chance
Sometimes you might overlook a dating app gem because his photo sucked or his profile said practically nothing. If the conversation starts out good, see where it takes you. You can’t base everything on his photo (nor should you), and not every guy is great at writing about himself.
Think about the characteristics you want in a man. Yes, you want to be physically attracted to him, but a cute profile pic doesn’t guarantee in-person chemistry. Open up the possibilities by allowing yourself to be attracted to his personality as well.
8. Practice, Practice, Practice
Dating through apps is a numbers game, unfortunately. You will talk to many guys before finding just one you want to have coffee with, let alone go on an actual date with. Think of online dating as practice for getting back into the game. If you’ve been with the same guy for decades, it may be new for you to talk to such a wide range of men. It’s good for you! The more people you talk to, the wider your experience is. And you’ll start to identify what you do and don’t like in the men you interact with, which helps you zero in on attracting Mr. Right!
9. Be Patient!
Finding a great guy, whether on a dating app or anywhere else, can take time. You may be swiping photos of men left and right in your dreams (or nightmares)! If you get frustrated, stay off the dating app for a few days or weeks, then dive back in when you’re ready. No matter where you meet him, you’ve got to be in the right state of mind to meet The One. If you’re not feeling the dating app, spend some time being alone and appreciating your own company before opening yourself back up to the possibility.
What experience do you have with online dating? Has it been a success or fail for you?