Confessions of a serial online dater

Have you ever had that moment when you’re sipping on your umpteenth beverage after work whilst listening to your companion, and you’ve thought, ‘Gee, this person’s really lovely!’ It’s happened to plenty of us at one point or another, but sometimes we’re over-looking a few important factors. They might be a co-worker, a really good friend, or unavailable for several reasons, but you probably won’t pick up on these factors until it’s too late. It was one (or several) too many incidents such as this one that made me download almost every phone dating app imaginable. So here are a few pointers I picked up through my year of ‘swiping right’.

glasses

Advertise well

Play to your strengths. What are you reading? What’s your job title? What are you obsessed with? Tell us the awesome things about you that are going to attract the people YOU want to meet. As tempting as it is, avoid the group photos because it’s incredibly off-putting trying to work out which one you are in the photo. It’ll also save you awkward questions like – ‘Can you introduce me to your friend?’ (Yes, it happens). Each picture should say something about you and your life.

Extra tip: Selfies don’t say so much.

Be open-minded

The person’s photo isn’t great, but you’ve read their profile and now you’re curious. Give it a go! Photos aren’t always a great indicator of attraction. As you probably already know, sparks happen when you see your date laugh, or watch them light up when they’re telling you an embarrassing anecdote. Don’t restrict yourself to models and astronauts because you’re missing out on the hidden gems!

Trade honesty

Yes, it’s awkward, but ‘Hey, what are you up to?’ doesn’t tell you much about this person, and things can grind to a halt awfully quickly. Point out something in their profile that caught your interest and please make sure it’s more than ‘Wow, you’re really hot!’ Make a list of genuine questions that you want to know the answer to. The other person is compelled to answer the questions and open up about themselves if you’ve created a comfortable environment, and they’ll start to ask you for the same honesty. It’ll also help you weed out the small percentage of people who aren’t genuinely looking.

Extra tip:Try starting a game of 36 Questions.

Stick to your guns

Someone that you’re really into and have been chatting to for ages suddenly messages you at 11pm on a Saturday night asking if you’re out. You might be out with friends, you might be in your PJs watching TV, but either way, it’s inconvenient, and quite frankly, you are worth more than a boozy after-thought. Remember that you are a catch and you deserve someone who respects you, and is just as nervous about spoiling things as you are. Other red flags include hot and cold behaviour, drunk messaging, and constantly postponing a meet up.

Lock it in Eddie!

It’s time to set a meet up for drinks! Only when you really want to meet the person should you attempt this, otherwise you’ll both chicken out, OR it will be painfully awkward. If you leave it too long, the interest will fade, so it’s essential that you get in at the right moment. Even if you’re feeling really confident, avoid setting up a dinner date for the first meet up. That’s like asking to meet them on Valentine’s Day. It’s just too much pressure on both of you. Besides, it might happen organically after the first drink!

Date Night

Even though you’ve been on a first date before, it never gets any easier. Do yourself a favour and pour yourself a glass of REIZE before hand to be the best version of yourself. Your energy levels need to be contagious! Arrive early and pick a spot where you’re easily seen. Now I know this is a lot to ask, but put your phone on vibrate and put it in your pocket! That’s right. Don’t let your date see you playing on your phone! It’s something tiny, but the difference radiates confidence. Bring a book or a newspaper to keep those nervous hands occupied.

That awkward moment

So it’s not quite the date that you hoped for. Smooth out those creases in your brow, it’s not over yet! The more comfortable you make them, the less likely they are to fumble and drop an awkward bombshell. Be positive and aspire to have a good time with this person. When someone is presented with your time, effort and good vibes, they’ll open up and give you their own, which is the best thing you can hope for. Even if they’re not the Ron to your Hermione, stay true to creating good habits in the dating culture. It’s good practice for your next date, and a sign of respect to the other person.

If you’re not sure what you want, internet dating helps you work that out whilst avoiding awkward situations and poor relationship choices in your friendship circle. Remember that, just like you, the majority of people you meet are also looking for that fresh start. Confidence, honesty and respect are the best way to play this game. Take it from someone who’s no longer in need of these apps.

Written by Jacinta Lai