Online dating has evolved since the 90’s. The majority of platforms that were available were computer based, always required a fee and made users take a personality test. Match.com paved the way in 1995 which lead to e-Harmony (2000) and OKCupid (2004). In the early 2000’s these were the dating giants and still online dating was considered taboo.
But what these websites did was change the dating game forever. You now had the ability to see multiple photos of someone, information on their education and profession, interest and hobbies. Questions that someone might not want to ask on a first date – Do you smoke? Have kids? Religion choices. Divorced? – are all available for you to view before even sending a message. Another huge advantage for online daters was the search criteria. No longer did women have to guess the height of their suitor. Or men having to feel judged for their physical preferences for women. The ability to search for exactly what you want in a date was available for everyone.
2012 – Tinder launches.
Daters got a huge shift with this app. There was no fee, no personality test and the summary had a character limit, but it was also optional. A tinder profile could be set up in minutes. But the simplicity of signing up and using this app contributed to the label it started to get, the hookup app.
When searching for advice on social media dating, there are typically more negative stories over positive. Success stories are not highlighted as much as the nightmare dates. There is even an Instagram page dedicated to Tinder Nightmares. Now anyone can get lost on that page for hours laughing and gasping at the stories that are posted, but the reality is – Tinder is a great way to meet people you would have never encountered.
After a major break up I turned to Tinder, and at first I was using the app to fill up my spare time when my girlfriends were unavailable. Bowling date on Tuesday. Drinks after work on Thursday. Walk in the park on a Saturday morning. I used the app to help fill a void. I wasn’t there for anything serious. Just some new friends.
Like anything else, no one really believes anything until they experience it or they actually know someone who had success. So when one of my best friends met an amazing guy on Tinder, I started to think a little differently about how I was using my time on the app.
I started paying attention to what men were posting in their summary, or if they even posted one. I started looking at picture choices – Are they all group pictures? Nightlife or club pictures? Selfies? The pictures someone chose really told me a story of who they were. My entire thought process around this app changed. I thought to myself, maybe I shouldn’t just use this to waste time. Could there be more to it?
I’m sure you can tell by now, I am pro-social media dating. I have always been vocal about where I have met dates or boyfriends. And because of that people ask me for advice. Below are my favorite tips I love to share if someone wants to use online dating in their search for love.
Your time is valuable
Dating is time consuming. Dinner dates on average last 2-3 hours. A trip to the movies is 2-3 hours. Bowling dates can be 2 hours. And that doesn’t include commute time to and from the venue. It is impossible to want to even think about meeting more than one person per week if you are spending 3-4 hours on multiple first dates.
The best advice I give is to keep all first dates to one hour. Even if sparks fly. Your time is valuable and as you are getting to know many potential mates, you want to be able to use your time wisely. If your first date goes great, plan a second date and then let the hours get away from you. But on the first date, keep it short and simple. This also allows for more dates within the week, or even same day if you are gutsy enough.
Ask the tough questions
Dating apps keep things simple. Users do not have to divulge much about themselves in order to sign up. This makes it even more important to focus on what is not highlighted on their profile.
Disclaimer: If you are not trying to date with a purpose, then these topics/questions are not suited for you. But if you are, consider these within your first two dates, preferably first date. Be bold.
Career goals. What does he/she want to achieve professionally? Academically?
Do you want to get married? Or get married again if you are on a date with someone who is divorced? There is a big difference.
Want kids? Or have more kids for those who already have children. Again there is a difference, don’t assume
What are their religious/cultural beliefs? Be prepared for answers you are not expecting and be open about it.
What does their friend/social circle look like? Are all their friends of the opposite sex? Majority single friends? It’s important to understand who they keep close to them.
Are they friends with their ex? This one is tough, but it is really good to know up front.
Don’t always wait for the first move
Some things I like done the traditional way and others I am a little bold with. When it comes to dating I like to be forward occasionally and I encourage others to do the same.
If you match with someone, message them first. If the conversation has been going great for 2-3 days on the app ask him/her for their number. Ask them for a coffee date to continue the conversation.
Waiting for someone else to make the first move when you interest is high could have you missing out on your opportunity. Connections happen fast on dating apps. If you miss your window, it could close on you. So be brave and let him/her know what you want.
I will end this with some advice from my circle of friends who met their husbands on a dating app or social media. Hopefully this will help you start to think differently about swiping and finding love.
“If I could provide any advice to someone considering dating apps, it would be don’t go into with expectations. With anything in life, if you over think it you are prone to have a misstep. Approach dating apps with the mindset that you just want to meet someone to get to know and have fun with. Not I need to find my next boyfriend/girlfriend or future husband/wife. Take your time, don’t rush the process and if you genuinely click and vibe with someone then at the very same moment, you will both be ready to delete those apps!”
“If it weren’t for Tinder my husband and I would have never found each other. Tinder gave us a chance to meet people outside the typical social circles we were in. You will never know who you could meet. My husband and I share the same birthday, down to the same month, day and year, and we are also both Turkish. So I think it was meant to be all along.”
“Don’t get so nervous or think too hard about everything. He’s either going to be your husband or not. So everything you’re overthinking will either be a funny story or it wont’ matter at all.”
“I didn’t sign up for Twitter with the intention of meeting my husband, or any man for that matter. I also was usually skeptical of DM’s or mentions from any men I didn’t know. But with Michael, I felt compelled to respond and it worked. His intentions were really to just make an initial connection and then we happen to just hit it off!”
As for myself…I have not quite made it down the aisle just yet. But through Tinder, I was able to meet Julian who is my best friend and the most amazing person I have ever known. And if it was not for Tinder I would have never met him. So stop thinking negatively about dating apps. Go out there and have fun with it. Take the pressure off and just see what ends up happening.
Stay tuned for the rest of our swipe to love story.