LOVE IN THE MODERN AGE
The following post was originally published in the Spring 2020 issue of the Quarterly and was written by Sarah Ellis, Theta Tau–Belmont University.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with dating. In our ever-increasingly digital world, dating looks pretty different than it used to. Love it or hate it, “putting yourself out there” now looks more like crafting the perfect Bumble bio than meeting someone at a networking event. In the past decade, online dating has emerged as the most common way couples meet, according to a 2019 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In other words, digital connections have eclipsed meeting through friends or other face-to-face connections.
But dating burnout is also on the rise. Match.com’s 2019 “Singles in America” study revealed that 43% of people believe technology has made it more difficult to find love. Apps can be overwhelming, especially when they aren’t leading to any meaningful in-person relationships. And don’t even get me started on ghosting and what a waste of time that is.
Before you declare a hiatus from dating and vow to stay alone forever, try these strategies for increasing your odds of success:
FOCUS ON ONE OR TWO APPS AT A TIME.
There was a time when I was literally on five dating apps at once, and it’s not a period that I look back on fondly. If you’re super focused on meeting someone, it makes sense that you’d want to be on as many apps as possible—but it’s probably not doing you any favors. Dating apps take time, and you’re better off focusing on just a couple of them so you can consolidate your energy.
MAKE YOUR BIO MORE SPECIFIC.
It’s great that you love guacamole and sleeping in on the weekends, but does it really making you stand out? When you point out unique things about yourself (Omelet cooking skills! Your love for Westworld!), you’re more likely to attract people who share your interests. Quality, not quantity, is what really matters in the dating game.
DECIDE WHAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR.
Most of us don’t truly stop to think about the type of person we’d like to meet. It’s possible to be so overwhelmed up by the never-ending stream of profiles that you fail to pay attention to the vibe people are putting out. Before you spend a lot of time on dating apps, take a beat to consider what qualities are most important to you in a partner. With these in mind, you’ll be in a better headspace to chat with anyone who could be a compatible match.
DON’T GIVE AWAY TOO MUCH OVER TEXT.
I know, I know—when you meet someone new and start texting them, it’s easy to get caught up in sharing stuff about yourself. But, honestly, you’ll be glad you’ve saved the deep conversations for your IRL date. Keeping an element of mystery alive will spark the other person’s interest, and also keep the conversation flowing once you actually meet.
PLAN THAT DATE ASAP.
Speaking of dates, get one on the calendar! Dating app conversations can fizzle out fast if you don’t take the next step toward meeting up. After you’ve covered some basic get-to-know-you conversation over chat, try to find a time and place to meet for coffee, a walk or a drink. This will keep the momentum building while it’s still fresh.
LIMIT YOUR TIME ONLINE.
To avoid fatigue (and trust me, I’ve been there), set a limit on the amount of time you spend on dating apps each day. This way, you can really focus on the time you do spend on them and save yourself the anxiety of constant app monitoring.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND.
It’s so tough to tell what someone is really like from a dating app. With that in mind, try connecting with people who might not initially catch your eye. If something about their profile interests you (maybe a shared hobby or a sarcastic joke), take the leap and start a conversation. What’s the worst that could happen? At the very least, you’ll learn more about the type of person you really want to be with. And that’s a win on all counts.