In 2021, there are a few things you can stop doing on dating apps.
Congratulations to dating apps, which, like Jeff Bezos, are part of an infinitesimally small community of companies and individuals that have gained from the events of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic drove singles out of bars, clubs, offices, and college campuses, dating apps rapidly became the only choice for those trying to maintain any sort of a dating life during the pandemic.
In short, you’ll have to be on your best behavior, because what you don’t do is just as critical as what you do when it comes to dating app success. You should know by now that no one wants to see you holding a fish (unless you can find out how to hold it with the necessary veil of irony) and that you should stop catfishing people. But take it from someone who has spent the bulk of her adult life on dating apps: there is a lot more stuff that can go wrong. I’ve graciously assembled a list of 21 items you can quit doing on dating apps in 2021 for your edification. Many of you who tend to pursue romantic opportunities in the wild will be able to resume preying on strangers in packed clubs or hitting on your colleagues in the breakroom by the end of the year. In the meantime, breaking these 21 habits will help you thrive in the highly crowded online dating world, as well as make it more bearable for the rest of us.
1. Attempting to convince people to cross their pandemic safety lines.
The internet has been awash with stories of dating-app users seeking to force their matches to break CDC guidelines or their COVID comfort zones to meet up for a date since the start of the pandemic. When it comes to navigating a social or sex life amid the pandemic, everyone has their limits and ideas of protection, establishing the comfort zone is essentially a personal decision. Although it could be aggravating if a match you think you are clicking with just wants to go on virtual dates when you do prefer an in-person meeting, there is no point in trying to convince them to change their minds. Best case scenario, they cave in, and you end up on a date with someone who is unhappy with your business and regrets agreeing to it in the first place.
Fortunately, some dating apps let users specify their current COVID dating preferences in their profiles, such as video dates, socially distant dates, dates with masks, and so on. This makes it very clear to see if you and a potential date are on the same page because there is no need to peer pressure, someone, into going on a date they don’t want to go on when you can just go back into the large pool of potential matches and find someone who wants to be within six feet of you.
2. Pretending to be overly excited about/ambivalent about dating apps.
Any mention of the following is included:
“I’m not a huge fan of dating apps, but I’m going to give it a shot.”
“We should tell our families we met at *blank*,” says one of them.
Using “Hinge” or “dating apps” to respond to the Hinge prompt: “Worst idea I’ve ever had”
Using “Hinge” or “dating apps” to respond to the Hinge prompt: “Change my mind about”
This reinforces very dated attitudes toward dating apps, in addition to being bland and cliche. It’s not the year 2013. Dating apps are neither shameful nor strange. Isn’t it also not humiliating or strange? I don’t use dating apps! So don’t use them if you don’t want them! While there will be fewer offline dating choices in 2021, no one will hold a gun to your head and force you to build a Hinge profile. If you don’t want to use dating apps, there’s a much better way to say that than moaning about it in your dating app profile: don’t build one in the first place! The problem has been resolved.
3. Inquiring about a person’s Snapchat account before their phone number.
The bigger problem here is that you shouldn’t be able to date if you’re over the age of 20 and Snapchat is still your primary mode of communication. If the first place you want to take our conversation when we’re about to quit the app is Snapchat, I’m assuming you’re either: A teenager 2. Looking for nudists or 3. I’m happily married. Yes, I understand that some people are afraid to share their phone numbers with anyone they met online. It’s fair! May I suggest using another safe messaging app, such as WhatsApp (I’m not sure if you’re still married, but that’s none of my business), or just continuing to talk on the dating app, which has a chat feature specifically for this purpose? This leads us to…
4. Sharing phone numbers too fast.
There are no hard and fast rules on when and how to delete a conversation from an app, but trying to do so too soon can backfire. No, you don’t want to get stuck in a never-ending back-and-forth on the app where your conversation gets lost with all your other matches, but tired swipers may be hesitant to add yet another “Matt Tinder” or “Maybe: Matt” to their phone. Numbers should be exchanged, in my view, when you’re ready to make arrangements to meet in person, which might (and, I’d say, possibly should) happen reasonably soon after matching. The trick is not to simply ask for someone’s phone number and then continue the discussion on a different forum. If that’s what you care about, the in-app chat feature will suffice; it’s not “so difficult to text on here.”
5. Saying “hello” at the start of a conversation is a good place to start.
You’re not going to get anywhere with this. There’s no way around it. It’s 2021, and we’re all drained. If that’s all you have, simply delete your account.
6. Use one of the app’s pre-written conversation starters to initiate a conversation.
The person you’re sending it to is already using the app and has seen all of the same conversation starters. But, unlike you, that person examined the conversation starters and wondered, “Lol who will use these?” Unfortunately, they now know. To be frank, “Hey” is a better choice.
7. Excessive use of a person’s name.
Some social psychologist once told some sex and relationships writer that using someone’s name in a text will help create intimacy. Unfortunately, it only establishes creepiness — particularly if you’ve never met this individual before. You know my name because you read it in my profile, so that’s awesome. You’ve learned the basics of literacy. On a dating app, there is no need to use someone’s name. If you give me a message, I’ll know you’re talking to me. In our private chat thread, there is no one else you might be addressing. If you like saying my name unnecessarily, I suggest you save it for when we’re in bed.
All men, take note: One hundred and seventy-five percent of you are bad at taking selfies. I’m not sure why or how this happened, but you don’t seem to be able to do it well, so I recommend you give up. Aside from looking poor, an excessive amount of selfies gives the impression that you don’t go anywhere or have someone willing to photograph you. Non-selfies are a great way to show you’re not a creepy loner than a bunch of group pictures. One to two mirror selfies (you seem to do better with them) is allowed, as well as one well-taken selfie of you and some friends. But that’s it — and if you’re not sure if that selfie is really fine, ask a trusted lady.
9. There are so many group pictures.
As someone who has so few mates, I understand the need to show that you do. Getting all or mostly group images, on the other hand, is a fast way to get left-swiped. With your profile, we don’t have time to play guess who. Your first photo should unquestionably be of only you. It’s fine to take a few more group pictures where you’re easily recognizable. Please restrict the number of pictures of you and 25 of your closest shirtless bros to a bare minimum.
Having less than three images is number ten.
Two photographs are insufficient for us to make an educated decision about your appearance. It also gives the feeling that you’re either a slacker or a fake account. Three is the bare minimum. It’s safer if there are a lot of them.