How Not to Be a Run-of-the-Mill Jerk on Dating Apps
Strange times. We have robot servants, floating cars, and space thingies flying all the way to Mars. Yet, we still haven’t figured out how to navigate the treacherous dimension of online dating and dating apps. To be fair, it’s a tough world, one that is still subject to the whims and complexities of human beings. Women, in particular, are having an extra hard time. Why? Because having an app that lets you send a message first doesn’t mean the person on the other end isn’t a) a serial killer, b) married, or c) a run-of-the-mill jerk. However there are still men who are making the rest of us believe there is hope for our species yet. If you are one of them, and are already on the road to Swipe City, here’s a list of dos and don’ts that might increase your chances of getting the girl.
1| Don't Be Boring
Okay, being boring doesn’t make you an asshole. You know what it makes you? Boring. When asked a question, don’t reply with a single word. Women don’t like that. It makes us think you are uninterested (if we’ve known you for a while it makes us think you are mad at us). A genuinely interested woman would ask something about your photos, your interests—something meaningful. You don’t reply with an “uhuh” to those questions. It’s not cute. Most dating app conversations end abruptly, most likely because one of the parties got bored.
2| Don't Ask for Selfies Too Soon
Some dating apps allow people to send and receive photos from their matches. It is perfectly normal and acceptable to initiate an exchange of photos by, say, sending something neutral and non-intimidating, like a photo of your view, or your lunch, or better yet, your dog. These types of photos give your match a peek into your real life and remind them that you are a real person. They would most likely get a response, as well. Don’t ask for a selfie until maybe you’ve talked to each other for two days straight. Or actually, don’t ask for a selfie at all. Period. A selfie is not requested. It is given. A selfie is a gift, not a privilege.
3| Don't Be Ignorant
True story: I once matched with a foreign guy whose first message to me was, “Want to help me make the next Miss Universe?” I didn’t get it, so he had to explain, which made things worse. “Make babies!” I didn’t even know where to start, so I just blocked him. Was it a joke? Maybe. Was it racist? Highly. Was it offensive? Absolutely. Don’t be that guy. Respect yourself. You’re not a piece of meat. Respect your matches. They’re not either.
4| Don't Match and Ghost
A term hasn’t been invented yet for not replying to someone’s first ever message, so let’s call it ghosting. If you are just swiping without any intention of going out with anyone, at least reply to them when they message you. It’s the polite thing to do. If you don’t want to continue the conversation, just reply with an “uhuh” and you’re all set.
5| Do Be Honest
The more honest you are on your dating app bio, the easier you’ll find someone who is looking for the same thing. Profiles that read: “Couple looking for a sexy third wheel” or “Not really single, thought you should know” may be off-putting, but at least they are being upfront with what they want out of the app, and potentially avoiding having to explain yourself in the future. I remember matching with someone who was 10,421 miles away. I asked how this was possible and he said he was swiping “in advance” because he was visiting the following month. People do that, apparently. And it’s not wrong—it just helps to be forthright about it.
6| Do Ask Your Match for Their Number
If you are interested in your match, transition your conversation to a messaging app. It just makes things easier and more efficient. (Be honest, how many viable matches have you failed to reply to because you forgot all about them?) Don’t be weird about it. Don’t explain. Just ask for their number. Women would appreciate you taking the lead, at least at this stage. This makes them feel like you see them as more than just a stranger on your phone.
7| Don't be a Stalker
Don’t, upon having that first conversation with someone, start adding them on Facebook and Instagram—especially if they haven’t even given you their last name. The beauty of dating apps is that we get to put on a little mystery and stay in our comfort zones a bit longer, until we feel comfortable sharing food photos and memes. Only you would be able to tell when it’s time to take your friendship to the next level, just observe. On the other hand, if you have managed to find out what their last name is, feel free to check them out on social media to find out what you’re dealing with. So yes, don’t be a stalker but also, be a little bit of a stalker, for your sake.
8| Don’t Use The App to Become an Influencer
This really happens in real life. The guy’s profile reads: “I’m not here a lot. Add me on Instagram if you want to chat.” So you add them and they never reply. They don’t even follow back. Well excuse me, Brian, this is not LinkedIn. We didn’t come here to make your dreams come true. Brian, be a human being and talk to people. Show them that you have a great personality and are worth following. Be genuine and maybe they’ll like you. Stop tricking single women into liking your page. That’s not the kind of engagement they’re after.
9| Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep
Some things are as true online as they are in real life. Don’t lead people on. Plain and simple. If you are interested, show that you are. If you aren’t, don’t make them think otherwise. It’s easy to hide behind technology and dating apps and think, Maybe I’ll play along for a little bit or Maybe I can get away with this. It’s also easy to forget that you’re talking to a real person when all you see is their photo from a trip to Paris in 2012—but you are. People online have feelings, too.