While there may be a rare single person who opts to stay off dating apps, most of us who are in the dating world are on at least one dating app, if not several. But are they actually working for anyone?
Using dating apps, like dating in general, is full of highs and lows. However, I’ve found dating apps particularly draining, exhausting, and superficial. So, why, then, am I still using them? Well, they have brought me some undeniably positive things. I’ve had some passionate flings, long-lasting friendships, and casual relationships that all came from dating app meetups.
But do dating apps work? Can they lead to long-term, committed relationships? Or are they better used for other things?
Do dating apps work?
More people than ever are indeed using dating apps nowadays. According to Statista, there are about 413 million active dating app users worldwide. In the U.S., about 15.7% of the population is on some sort of dating app.
However, how many people are actually finding what they’re looking for through these dating apps?
For the most part, my single friends and I often complain about the people we end up meeting on dating apps. So, who is actually finding a serious partner through them? In 2022, 13% of dating app users got married or engaged to someone they met “on-screen” first. And 23.7% stated that they hadn’t been on more than a date or two with someone they met on the app.
It’s important to note that many people on dating apps aren’t looking for a serious partner. So, when asking ourselves if they work, we first need to think about what we are hoping to gain from being on a dating app.
Many people are looking for hookups, flings, or casual relationships, and they are likely to find them on dating apps.
Before using dating apps, users should first define what they are looking for. There are apps for everything. You can likely find the perfect app for every need. Dating apps, just like dating in real life, will have ups and downs. Your attitude will have a huge impact on your dating results.
What not to do when using dating apps
If you’re on dating apps or considering using dating apps, there are certain things you can do to get the results that you’re hoping for.
So, let’s first get into what you should definitely not do when using dating apps.
Use misleading photos
This is a huge no-no when it comes to dating apps. I don’t disagree that it may seem shallow to judge people with a glance at a photo. However, that’s the name of the game on certain apps.
Choose photos that are accurate portrayals of not only your appearance but also who you are as a person.
Are you an avid hiker? Then add a picture of you and your dog at your favorite weekend hiking spot. Do you love adventure sports? Then definitely add that skydiving photo from last summer. Are you goofy and the life of the party? Then add a picture of you doing something funny or weird (we know you’ve got one).
Use your photos to accurately show not only what you look like but also what you like to spend your time doing. What makes you you? After all, the person you’re looking for will likely be spending a lot of time with you. You want to have some things in common, at least.
This should go without saying, but, unfortunately, it does not. Don’t post explicit photos on your dating app. The exception to this rule is if you use a kink-specific or only sexual encounters app (yes, they exist). Then, by all means, get your explicitly sexy photos on.
However, otherwise, save them for someone who asks you to send them. Do not send or post vulgar photos on dating apps. It’s a huge turn-off and not what most of us want to see.
Going off of the “show who you are in your photos” theme, you should create the most authentic and truthful profile possible. Being someone you think others want you to be won’t get you far in life or the dating world.
It may be tempting to amp up your profile with some white lies. However, you may attract someone because of those fibs. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. It’s not fair to the person that you begin talking to, and it won’t get you what you want.
You should also be wary of catfishing scams. If you’re interested in someone, try to meet up with them as soon as possible (in public). If there are neverending excuses as to why they can’t, it’s best to let it go. Unfortunately, with the uptick in online dating, there’s also been an increase in catfishing. So, be open to meeting new people, but be aware of certain realities.
Which dating app is the best?
Long gone are the days when there was just Tinder. There are so many apps for all different types of people, desires, and needs.
To find the best dating app for you, think about what you are looking for. What are your dating intentions?
Do you want a sexy hookup, a casual relationship, or a committed relationship? Are you into monogamy or do you prefer polyamorous relationships? All these factors will dictate which app best suits your needs.
Once you know what you are looking for, start googling dating apps and you’ll be sure to find one that works for you. While there are never guarantees in the online dating world, using the best app for you will increase your chances of finding what you want from the experience.
Remember that there is a dating app for everyone nowadays. You just have to find it.
The downside of dating apps
While dating apps can lead to pleasant encounters, they also have their fair share of negative consequences.
Dating apps can be emotionally taxing. Talking to multiple people and trying to figure out if you click enough to warrant a meetup is tiring. Oftentimes, you talk to someone, and nothing ever comes of it. The whole experience can be disappointing and discouraging.
I’ve been intrigued by guys’ profiles, and then we match. I’m excited because not many people catch my attention on these apps. But then, after a message or two, they ghost me. Being “rejected” by someone you don’t even know can be emotionally draining.
Take a dating app cleansing if you feel like you’re having more negative than positive experiences, and it’s affecting your emotional well-being. Delete the app. Focus on you, your friends, and your family. Maybe even try going to new social outings in the hopes of meeting someone in person.
Dating apps don’t need to be a constant in your dating life.
While this will largely depend on the app (I recently read about an app that blurs the photos of your match until you really get to know them on a deeper level), dating apps can tend to be based on superficial aspects such as appearance.
The majority of dating apps have photos as the main part of your profile. We scroll through seemingly endless photos of strangers, nonchalantly swiping left without even considering the person they are beyond their appearance.
Physical attraction is certainly important, but it’s not the only important factor when it comes to falling in love and building a lasting partnership. Dating apps tend to lead with looks and leave the rest low on the priority list.
Who knows? Maybe this is why most people aren’t finding a match on these apps.
We are currently living in an “instant gratification culture.” We complain if a website takes more than a few seconds to load, we want someone to bring us our groceries, and we are dating from our couches.
This idea of having everything you want at your fingertips is leading to a dangerous dating concept: endless options. People are always looking for the next best thing. Sure, you met an interesting, beautiful, smart woman, but you open the app and see five more.
This isn’t a foreign dating concept; however, dating apps are easing the process of always looking for the “better” option. And the game-like process of swiping through your options in an addictive manner certainly doesn’t help matters.
Can you find a relationship on dating apps?
The great news is that finding love on a dating app is possible. More people than ever are meeting their partners online. Heck, you probably know someone who has.
My sister and her partner met on OkCupid almost ten years ago. They’re still going strong.
There are so many success stories from online dating apps. It can be easy to focus on dating failures when we think about these apps, but focus on the positives that they could bring when done well.
If your dating app life has you feeling down, take a break. Try not to latch onto FOMO in the dating app world. If it’s consuming you and you are stressed about it, delete those apps for a while and focus on your real-life encounters. You can always come back to dating apps when you’re feeling more optimistic and ready.
Remember to still be open to meeting people in real life, too. Don’t be closed off from the world because you are using dating apps to meet people. Maybe when you were swiping on Tinder in the grocery store line, you missed the hunky guy making eyes at you across the way.
There are lots of ways to meet people and date. Dating apps are prevalent, but don’t be limited to them as your only means of dating.
Dating apps are here to stay
Dating apps certainly aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. New dating apps are released all the time. This can be great, as you are more likely to find an app that will work for you.
However, dating apps can be overwhelming. Use them when you want to, but know when it’s time to “log out” for a while. Be open to the unexpected in your daily encounters.
Sure, you could meet someone on a dating app. But you could also meet someone on the bus.