It is truly a jungle out there in the dating world, and online dating gives you a terrifyingly clear window that looks into how crazy some people are. Online dating is simultaneously the most entertaining, draining, and terrifying thing you can do on your phone.
Not only does it take something that is already nerve-wracking and exposing — dating. It also makes all your decisions seem more intense and consequential than they would be in the ‘real’ offline world.
It’s also incredibly addictive. There are hundreds of thousands of apps you can choose to download and millions of users on all of those apps. Not to mention the pressure to craft the perfect first message after you’ve found the right person. Then there’s the hassle of finding the perfect first date. Suddenly, we’ve made dating more complicated than it already was.
That said, online dating can be enjoyable if you know what to avoid and look out for. That’s what we’re here for. If you’re about to try online dating and want to know what to do and what mistakes to avoid, we’ve got you covered. Here are (some of) the most glaring red flags to avoid when trying online dating.
Finding someone you want to spend an evening with, much less the rest of your life, can be challenging. Especially considering all of the options that dating apps open you up to. It can be overwhelming to find the ‘perfect’ person on these apps and weed out any potential crazies. Some experts have stopped calling Tinder and Bumble ‘dating apps,’ and more correctly refer to them as ‘meeting apps.’
If you’re expecting everyone you swipe on or match with to be your one true love, you’re putting way too much pressure on your first meeting. If the person you’ve matched with seems a little too keen to make sure everything about you aligns with everything they want in a partner, you should take a step back and question if they’re rooted in reality.
While it’s good to make sure you get along with someone, especially before spending your time, money, and energy on them, it’s not necessary to go through this vetting process in the first five minutes of messaging someone.
According to DatingApps.com, being too emotional is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you’re messaging someone. They suggest, “You definitely want to be yourself, but if you are a theatrical person at heart or someone who wears their emotions on their sleeves, you might want to rein in some of that passion a bit until your match can get to know that side of you.
Often, it can come across as too intense or awkward.”
Instead of putting it all out there in the initial messages, take it slow and let the conversation flow naturally.
While we urge you not to put all your eggs in one basket, we also highly suggest that you know what you’re looking for and what you absolutely do not want in a partner. This guide will help you not only swipe and go through all the people you’re presented with on the app but also help you in the long run.
If you know what’s important to you, you can know what to ask the person you match with to see if they’re looking for something similar. While we aren’t suggesting sending them a full questionnaire out of the gate, it would be wise to keep a few questions in the back of your pocket and bring them up when the conversation naturally goes a bit deeper.
You also don’t necessarily have to ask these questions while you’re messaging. You can wait to do it on a first date when you can see their reactions and not read into any text or message and misconstrue their meaning.
If Their Bio Turns You Off
There is a rule I have when I’m shopping for clothes. If I don’t like whatever I’m trying on when I’m in the dressing room, I won’t buy it. When you’re shopping, your dopamine levels are high, you’re usually in a good mood, and you’re in the correct mindset to get stuff. This is the time when you’re going to love whatever you see the most.
Similarly, with dating, when you’re swiping on an app, you’re going to see the best of who that person is. If you see something that gives you the ick, is offensive, or just isn’t something you like, swipe left and avoid a potential headache. While a dating app bio might not be the most reliable source for finding out who the person is, it’s a pretty good judge of character.
Make sure you’re good with everything the person puts into their bio. Also, take a look at the pictures they chose as well. A picture can speak a thousand words and if something gives you pause, maybe choose to swipe left then too.
Another thing to note is that most dating apps provide users with prompted questions about their education, job, religion, habits, and hobbies. While this section can be a fantastic tool for finding things you and your potential partner have in common, it’s also a great way to see if you agree with what they’ve chosen or if their choices give you concern as well.
If you’ve been on a dating app for more than five seconds, you may have found about 50 accounts that ‘Love The Office’ or ‘Like to fish.’ While The Office is a great show, and fishing can be a terrific pastime, the lack of originality might lead to a dry or dull conversation. Look for dating profiles that say things you have yet to see. I’ve matched with people just because their bios are works of art, and I need to converse with them.
In the same way, if they’re answering the questions the dating app provides them with one-worded and unoriginal answers, then you might want to steer clear. While they might be great people, they seem to be putting little effort or hope into the dating app, which might reflect on how they will treat you as well.
Been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. We get it; meeting on a dating app might not be the most romantic story you’ll tell your kids, but it’s your story. If your potential partner is already worried about what people will think if you tell them you met on a dating app, they’re worried about the wrong thing.
Also, if they try to get you to make up a story about where you met, they’re being deceitful, which might not be great for the future of your relationship. It’s 2022, people are on dating apps all the time, and they meet the love of their life there. You shouldn’t have shame about being on dating apps, so don’t let the person you matched with make you feel ashamed.
Also, if they’re that concerned about not telling people they met someone on a dating app, maybe they should stop meeting people on dating apps.
This is an immediate no. I have unmatched countless people who ask for my Snapchat in the first few minutes of talking. I won’t swipe on their profile if it says anything about Snapchat. While it is fair that not everyone is checking their dating apps throughout the day, there’s no need for you to share personal information, like your Snapchat or any of your other social media, to keep talking to someone.
Also, no matter how well-intentioned the redirection is, it sounds scuzzy and might put you in a potentially dangerous situation. However, if you’ve been talking to the person for a while and want to add them to your social media outlets and delete your dating app, go right ahead!
Let’s be honest; Hinge’s marketing strategy is pretty on the nose. No one wants to constantly have dating apps on their phone. The goal of talking on these apps is to eventually get to a place where the two of you feel ready and excited to get off the app and go on an actual date. Also, there’s something to be said for better communication and familiarity that will come when you can actually meet someone you’ve been talking to online in person.
If you’re trying to meet up with someone you met online and they’re avoiding the topic, canceling plans, or being at all fishy, that’s a red flag. Not only could the person be dangerous, but they also could just not be as interested or invested in you, and you don’t need to waste your time on them.
While we’re not suggesting you jump the gun and ask them to go out immediately, understand that the ultimate goal for every relationship that starts on a dating app is for the two of you to eventually be done with talking about it.
There is something to be said for knowing what you want and going after it. Still, if you come across someone’s bio with a tailored list of everything they’re not looking for, we suggest you steer clear.
These are the people whose bios often say things like, “Don’t message me if you’re [insert whatever their particular turn-off is].” While this could be seen as the weeding out people they wouldn’t mesh well with, it presents a negative tone and makes you feel like you have to fit into a pre-distinguished mold in order to message the person.
Instead, look for people whose bios outline someone they do want and frame that person in a positive light. These people are still trying to narrow their matches down, but they’re doing it in a kinder and more positive way rather than eliminating anyone with whom they might disagree.
Finally, suppose they’ve chosen not to add anything to their bio to say anything about who they are. In that case, you’re not missing anything by swiping left. Yes, making a dating app profile is never the most exciting thing you can do, but it is necessary to ‘play the game,’ so to speak.
While there are more than likely wonderful people on dating apps who don’t have the time or energy to spend on their bio, more often than not, it’s just laziness. It doesn’t reflect well on the person’s attitude toward the app.
While we hope it works out well and you leave the app sooner rather than later, your conversations on the app should still be intentional. You should put equal effort into the experience and getting to know each other. When someone can’t be bothered to write a quick blurb about who they are, you shouldn’t be bothered to swipe right on them.
A Final Encouragement
Yes, online dating can be exhausting. There are a million other red flags that we deemed too obvious to include in this round-up. But no matter how difficult or annoying it may seem in the moment, it can also be a ton of fun and an excellent platform for you to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have known.
If you’re new to online dating or an expert, please always be safe when approaching any online dating situation, especially when you’re meeting someone in person or sharing your personal information with them.
But always have fun, don’t take anything too seriously, and keep an open mind! Online dating should feel more like an adventure and less like a jungle. We hope these suggestions help you during your online dating journey.