Relationships

Online Dating Tips, From People Who’ve Been There

Online Dating Tips

Recently, a lovely reader wrote in with a query: “I’m considering online dating for the first time (during a pandemic, no less), and I’m overwhelmed! Building a profile, talking to people — where do I begin?” So, here are some words of advice from seasoned daters (and please weigh in with your experiences, too!)…

First, leave any stigma at the door.

“Back in the day, couples would lie about how they met, making up a meet-cute when it was really just the internet. Now, nearly everyone I know has met someone online, and I’ve been to a number of weddings where the couple met on apps. Online dating isn’t just normalized, it’s the new norm.” — Caitlyn

“Apps are great, and they’re also the only way you’re going to meet people right now. You can’t go to house parties, you can’t go to bars. Plus, these days, the stakes are low. When you first meet them, if you don’t like them, you can just turn off the Zoom call and go watch a movie!” — Meri

“I’m divorced with two kids, and until recently I never had any interest in online dating. My friends were constantly telling me to do it, even threatening to sign me up behind my back, but I had every excuse in the book — I don’t have time, it’s too scary, it’s not for me. Last spring, I joined Match, just to get them off my case, and over the summer I met someone! It’s early days, so I don’t want to jinx it, but for anyone who is apprehensive, you might be surprised.” — Nydia

Find the platform that works for you.

“You can tell a lot by just looking at each platform’s marketing. When I was younger, I was on Tinder, because I didn’t have an agenda other than to go on lots of dates and meet people. Then I gravitated towards Bumble and met a few people that I liked and dated for a while. Now, at thirty-three, I’m on Hinge, where it seems the people I match with are more within my age range and looking for something real.” — Emily

“If you’re serious about dating, cast your net wide. Join Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, Bumble… Why not? You just never know.” — Meri

Show your true colors.

“Choose an assortment of profile photos — at least one close up and one farther away. If you can, highlight different sides of your personality, by showing activities or places you enjoy. For example, I have one photo of me with no makeup on where I’m hiking, a photo with my dog, and another dressed up at a wedding. The key is to have a balance.” — Jenna

“It’s good to run your profile by your friends. I’m a person who naturally has a bitchy resting face, and in a lot of photos I can look more intimidating than I intend to, so I’ve found it’s always helpful to get honest feedback! Your friends know who you are and what you want, sometimes even more than you do.” — Meri

“I reached out to a bunch of my girlfriends for photos of me, because I didn’t want to just post a bunch of selfies or mirror shots. I knew my friends would have some from different places, doing different things.” — Olivia

“Make sure you include at least one relatively current picture of yourself! Many times, I have gone on a date only to find that I expected to see a version of that person from five or ten years ago. For example, there were men whose profile photos showed a full head of hair who arrived at the date with absolutely none. Meeting a new person is nerve-wracking enough without trying to mask your surprise upon seeing them.” — Brittany

Create conversation starters.

“Some apps, like Hinge, come with actual prompts, where you answer questions that people can react to. For ones that don’t, I’ll put my own prompt in there, like ‘Tell me the best thing you’ve read or listened to lately,’ so it’s easy for people to reply.” — Meri

“One person wrote their own version of ‘two truths and a lie’ in their profile and dared anyone who saw it to guess the right answer. I sent a message right away! I couldn’t help myself. Things like that make it so much easier to connect.” — Sarah

“Sharing fun facts about yourself is helpful. Someone once said they were an extra on Gilmore Girls, and I was immediately curious what episode they were in, and if they played so-and-so’s boyfriend. You definitely get more responses if you put more specificity into your profile.” — Emily

Go ahead, say hi.

“If you’re at a loss for opening words, sincere compliments can go a long way. I met my boyfriend because I reached out to compliment a past Halloween costume — a giant boxed wine that actually dispensed wine!” — Sarah

“Dating apps can be liberating, because they allow you to fake it ’til you make it. In person, I can be shy. I would never approach someone at a bar and strike up a conversation out of the blue. But on apps, you can be as outgoing or charming as you want to be. Try your hand at being flirty and fun and engaging. In a way, it’s almost like a social experiment, and hopefully you meet someone in the process.” — Leah

“A lot of people’s opening line is ‘Any weekend plans?’ or ‘Hey, how was your weekend?’ So, any message that’s not about the weekend is great! Ditto for a ‘hey,’ with the waving hand emoji. If you ask a specific question about the person’s photos or something they’ve mentioned, that should do the trick.” — Olivia

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

“When you sit down to write your profile, think about what you want. Are you in this for something serious or something casual? Don’t be afraid to say whatever it is you’re looking for. If you have political or other views that are definitely a dealbreaker for you, don’t be afraid to put that in there, too. It will weed out anyone who isn’t a match.” — Meri

Google at your own risk.

“I used to exhaustively ‘research’ all my dates before I met them. But then I found myself on dates where I would hold off on asking questions (her job, where she went to school) because I already knew the answers. I once let one of my ‘discoveries’ slip — like someone’s very specific preference for Yerba Mate — and had to pretend she once mentioned it, versus that I’d uncovered it online. It’s okay to make sure people are real and who they say they are, but don’t go too deep.” — Lianne

Be safe and respect everyone’s boundaries.

“In many ways, dating at this moment is a challenge, but there are also some silver linings. The dating scene can be so ambiguous, with people dating around and not being clear about whether you’re in a relationship. With COVID, everyone has been transparent from the start. Right off the bat, they say if they’re looking for a serious relationship or if they’re looking for something casual, and if that’s the case, precautions need to be taken. It’s a serious time, and I’ve found people’s actions reflect that.” — Brittany

“I recently met someone and our first date was a video date. I actually like that these days, many people have a formal video date before meeting. It’s a great way to ‘meet’ someone before you commit to getting together in person. You can’t assess physical chemistry, but you can see if you like them, if the conversation flows, if you make each other laugh. It’s also a little more intimate, because you see the inside of their home.” — Meri

“In my experience, dates are game to meet in person, usually for a socially distanced walk or outdoor drinks. And it seems like people are more respectful and responsible than pre-COVID times. They’ll say, ‘Is it okay if I hug you?’ or ‘Would you feel comfortable if I kiss you?’ That never happened in the past.” — Emily

Try to appreciate the humor.

“I’ve seen some pretty strange things on dating profiles — like a dude sitting on a throne of teddy bears, and more men than I can possibly count proudly holding a fish they caught. My friends and I actually have a collection of screenshots of the wild photos we’ve come across. A lot will make you roll your eyes, but it can also be really entertaining.” — Sarah

“The one thing I would tell anyone who is online dating is that if you’re having a conversation with someone and it suddenly ends, it’s okay. Or if you think you have a great first date and you don’t hear from them again, that’s okay, too. Try not to get too attached to any one interaction. There are many more matches out there! Even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment, every bad date is an excellent story.” — Olivia

“I was on the apps for YEARS, and I never thought I’d say this, but now that I’m in a relationship, I actually kind of miss them. It’s fun, seeing who else is on there and making connections with different people. Sure, it can be frustrating and overwhelming, but there is also something hopeful about it, too.” — Jenna

Give people a chance.

“At first, when I set my parameters, I only dated people who were pretty close to my own age, thinking we would have the most in common. But then I went on a bunch of dates and wasn’t meeting anyone who I clicked with, so I widened my age bracket on either side. Once I did that, I started to meet a lot of interesting people, including my now girlfriend.” — Leah

“I always tell my friends to give people more than one date before dismissing them. I’m guilty of this, too, but the people I’ve wound up liking were usually the people I didn’t click with right away. Not everyone is super charming right off the bat — some people are a little more nervous or reserved, because it can take a minute to warm up with a stranger.” — Emily

Are you currently navigating the world of online dating? Do you have any advice or stories to share? Please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear.

P.S. Dating for the first time in six years and how to know your partner is the one.

(Photo from Insecure.)

  1. A says...

    I met my husband 6 years ago thanks to Instagram! A librarian friend had just been transferred to a different branch way out in the suburbs. One day she posted a picture on Instagram of a smoking hot librarian at her branch. I asked for his name, immediately found him on Facebook and sent him a message that said “Hi, we have a couple friends in common and I think you’re pretty cute.” Two years later, married, six years later we live on 5 acres in our A frame dream home with two dogs, a cat, 3 chickens and getting ready to start our first IVF cycle! No shame in the game, folks!

  2. Amy says...

    Back when I was online dating, I didn’t post a photo but wrote a great profile. Surprisingly, I still met some great people, including my husband. I think lack of photo really helped weed out some duds and weirdos. (Caveat: this was like 10 years ago when smart phones were less ubiquitous and not everyone had 1000 perfect photos at their fingertips!)

  3. Alice says...

    I met my husband online a few years ago, and so much of this advice is spot-on! Here’s the gist of my approach then:
    -I only used websites/apps that required a paid account, and I never came across any (that I could tell) catfishers or other fakey-fake profiles.
    -These are dating apps, so use them to DATE! There were so many people who seemed to just want to text/email back and forth for days on end, which was a waste of time in my mind. You can’t truly tell if you click with someone until you actually meet them (or right now, Zoom-meet them), so rip the Band-Aid off and ask to meet. I had a rule that if we had sent more than 3 messages each, it was time to propose meeting.
    -This may not be a priority for everyone, but for me, I would only do coffee or a beer for a first date — never dinner. Dinner takes a longer time commitment, which you might regret halfway through if you just don’t mesh well with the person. I also almost always suggested the meeting place, so I could feel like I was on my home turf.
    -Speaking of time commitments: if you’re looking for something on the more serious side, you really do need to commit some time to the process. I really didn’t get much out of online dating until I started treating it almost like a job search. I made sure to put in some time every day, either checking through matches or updating my profile, and I started getting a lot more matches that made sense and going on a lot more dates.
    -Finally, other people have mentioned this already, but beware of Googling. I found that if I Googled or checked out someone’s Instagram/Facebook before meeting them, I would potentially see something “wrong” with them and start talking myself out of meeting a perfectly wonderful person. At least meet someone in person first before doing any internet research.

  4. Laura Christine Vaughn says...

    I’m late to the party on this post, but I met my current boyfriend on Bumble. I had been on the apps sporadically in the past but I would always get so burned out of messaging people I didn’t know/thought were boring and/or lame or creepy, going on weird dates due to guilting myself into being “open-minded,” feeling rejected, etc. so ultimately I’d always quit them in frustration within a few weeks. The last time, I really changed my approach. I (1) only swiped right on people I ACTUALLY/realistically thought I would be excited to go out with and stopped putting pressure on myself to not be too picky or judgmental and (2) realized nothing on these apps is personal – if people stop messaging you or delete you, it’s because of something going on with them.

    Somewhat relatedly, I was 32 when I met my boyfriend – I’ve seen a lot of other commenters on COJ around my age saying they’re worried and feel old and unsure whether they’ll meet someone. I felt the exact same way too, and while I’m REALLY happy I met someone who I now love, I also can look back fondly at the years when I was VERY, VERY single. Being single when a lot of your friends are not is scary and lonely, but I also believe it caused me to be really self-reliant and really come to believe that I didn’t need anyone else to be happy, which then freed me to wait for someone who I am genuinely thrilled to be with.

    • Kimberly Rose says...

      Thank you . I so needed to hear those words … I’m older and scared because I just won’t settle ( many men I meet at this stage are looking for a partner to retire and drink with) . I feel pressed by time. I want to be with a partner I’m thrilled to come home to. But just not now. I love what you wrote and feel strongly thats what’s needed. A time to be very very single. Yet I look so forward to using these suggestions to also meet someone. Loneliness is scary but shifting me to be a better person …. Thank u for sharing

    • Tiffani says...

      I started internet dating for the first time after getting divorced at 36 and I went on my first date with my boyfriend of two years on my 37th birthday. It’s never too late. And I know what I want and need so much more now than I did in my 20s and was also much more equipped to walk away from something that wasn’t working even if it meant being alone. I was also single for a long time when all my friends seemed to be getting married or engaged or moving in with their partners and in my most vulnerable moments, it made me feel like I must be doing something wrong since that wasn’t happening for me. Then I finally did get married-to the wrong person- and learned that being partnered can be just as lonely as being unhappily single. I have a wonderful partner now and we plan to get married in a few years, but I really don’t think I would have been ready for this relationship any earlier than this. We all have our own timelines to follow and the idea that you should be in a serious relationship or married by a certain time is a societal construct.

  5. Maren says...

    I met my now boyfriend on Tinder while quarantine dating (love in the time of Covid!) and I went straight for it—opened with “Hi! Would you like to grab a beer with me via Zoom?” I actually LOVE the Zoom date concept & hope it continues on after Covid—surprisingly, Zoom chemistry absolutely translated to IRL chemistry, and I could weed through folks from the comfort of my house & not have to do the whole date thing right away! Bc I am am nothing if not an efficiency nerd, I would schedule 3-4 dates for one evening back to back and then only meet for socially distanced walks with folks who could hang with that. Also great to get the Covid protocol convo out of the way quickly!!

  6. B says...

    I’d recommend setting up a time to meet online ASAP instead of texting a bunch. I would get my hopes up and daydream about a potential guy and then I’d know within minutes if meeting up if I wanted to invest any additional time with him.
    Don’t take any type of rejection personal. We’ve all known people who should be the “perfect” match for us but we just don’t feel that special spark.
    Similar to a job interview it just takes one amazing connection/yes to change your life. I had 35 first online dates and now that I’m 8 years in with the love of my life and it makes me that much more grateful for him. The time spent searching for him was well worth it!

  7. Cathy says...

    I’m 50 and assume apps like Bumble and Hinge are a bit young for me? I’ve tried Match several times but I do get a little dispirited by the vast number of guys who – for example – specify an ideal weight for their Match!! I’m not thin so it’s a sore point for me. Also the ones who says ‘she must be blond, not a cheese eater, if she has a limp it must only be with the left foot, not the right. When she dances, she must only glow, not perspire’. Etc etc etc. I despair sometimes but I want a partner. The right one. Also my dogs would appreciate another lap to sit on!

    • Stacey says...

      Hi Cathy.

      I’m about to be 50, too, and that number is freaking me out a little. In the past (3 years ago when I tried online dating and met my ex-boyfriend) I listed a younger age and then, when I would start texting with someone and it seemed like we would meet, I would tell him that I am older than the age I posted and that I posted a younger age because I was getting too much attention from much older men. Most of the time the men I told this to were fine with it, but at least one was not and I didn’t hear from him again.

      I am not sure what to do about my age when I try online dating again (planning to do this sometime in the upcoming months). In a way I feel like age is a good filter. I want someone who is in the same life phase as me—older kids (if any) at home, relatively OK financially after years of working, steady job, not looking to have more children. But I also feel like listing my true age could result in missed opportunities.

      As for the men looking for women of a particular weight or with a certain hair color, it don’t seem to me like they would be especially good partners. Everyone has preferences, but to be so outspoken about them from the start shows they could be looking for superficial and not “real” connection. And we all know that weight and hair color can change over time.

      Take care!

      Stacey

    • Cathy says...

      Hi Stacey thank you for your lovely comment. I really hated turning 50 in a way I never minded ageing before. Guess it just hit home that I’m not where I wanted to be in life in terms of relationships. But the rest of my life is great so it’s not all tears and sighing! I was getting a lot of attention from the 70-80 age guys and oddly a lot of 20 year olds! I think our age pool is probably shallower which doesn’t help. I have noticed quite a few guys put 49 on their profile and in their blurb say they’re actually in their 50’s. Maybe that’s the way to go? Anyway I really hope you find someone great x

  8. Stacey says...

    In the thick of online dating, I didn’t think I’d meet a long term partner like friends, but I did! There is so much hope.

    I found going on a lot of dates was helpful, not because it’s just a numbers game, but because meeting more people helped me hone in on what I wanted in a guy and how I wanted to feel on a date. My guy likes to read in coffee shops, which is something I swoon over, but I bet we would have been too shy to ever meet if we happened to be in the same coffee shop. So I’m grateful to online dating for being a place we could connect.

    Also – I found it helpful to ask myself “do I want to see this guy again” at the end of a date. It’s too much pressure to try to figure out if you’ll want a relationship with someone early on. Just keep meeting up if you want to keep getting to know someone, and eventually things will unfold one way or another. If you’re in the thick of it, GOOD LUCK! It is so hard but worth it since there ARE good people out there to date.

  9. Ally says...

    I love the comment about expanding your parameters on age – it’s so true that you meet so many interesting people! I would also encourage you to swipe right on people from all races. Had I not done this, my Paksitani boyfriend would have been filtered out by algorithms that can wind up being inadvertently racist and present you with matches that are similar to what you “swipe right” on. I would also not use the parameter that filters out people that aren’t registered voters… that will exclude anyone holding green cards or visas… which, again, limits you from meeting all the wonderful people in this world. Being open is the key! I’m so happy I was, and found the love of my life!

  10. Martha L. says...

    Be brutally honest about who you are and what you like to do when you write your profile. I think a lot of people get caught up with thinking that the person who they want to meet would never want to meet them if they knew that they liked to spend Friday nights doing some quirky or unusual hobby. So, they write something else that they think will make themselves sound “cooler” and more appealing. Then they meet someone and end up feeling like they have nothing in common.

    Your quirky habits/hobbies are what make you “you”, so share them in your profile. I guarantee there is someone out there who will think they are adorable or who even has the same quirky habits/hobbies. When you find the person who you can be “you’ with, you have hit the jackpot. That is the person you should be with!

    I speak from experience – 16 years after our first online date , 14 years of marriage, two children, two pugs later, my husband and I still have so much in common and I still think I hit the jackpot.

  11. Gina says...

    A strong profile photo is key! Have a friend snap some good photos of you outside either in a park or cafe. Look straight into the camera, no sunglasses, with a big smile showing your teeth. Its approachable, confident, and natural. Check out @heysaturday.co for great inspiration for the perfect profile photo!

  12. I dated online using Match.com and did meet my now husband (and I was older; 39 when I started. I always recommend the following to other girlfriends.

    1. NEVER EVER feel guilty or feel “bad” for knowing what you want. If you know you want someone with XY & Z then only accept invites or conversations from that person. NEVER FEEL BAD ABOUT IT. EVER. But, always be gracious and nice. See #2.

    2. If I was matched with someone or someone reached out to me that didn’t fit what I was looking for, I would never ignore them (so rude). I would use my stock response: Thank you for reaching out. Even though I don’t think we are a match, I wish you luck with this journey; I hope you meet someone great!

  13. amber says...

    My husband and I met online in Jan, Covid hit in March and we spent everyday together since. Engaged in July, married in Sept. It WORKED for us! :)

  14. Elizabeth Geisen says...

    I have just gotten into the online dating game (/dating game period…) for the first time in YEARS. Being single in my late 20s / early 30s has been so fun with concerts, friends, dinners, trips, etc. However, quarantine made me realize how much I want (and am giving myself permission to want) a husband & family of my own.

    What advice do the women of COJ have for how to logistically date? I’m in Chicago and I’ve done a few walks in the park with coffees or patio drinks. Now that the weather is turning, I am not ready to brace myself for another few months of solitude inside my apartment. Tips? Help me please!!

    • Jessica says...

      I think it would be interesting to incorporate your question into your profile — even if you don’t hit it off with a guy, he could have some good ideas, lol. Since daylight saving time hit the goal has been to take advantage of weekend sunlight as much as possible. I have a coffee & walk date this weekend which I plan to keep even if it starts raining. Having separate umbrellas will help enforce social distancing, too, hah.

  15. I’ll preface this comment by saying I did not read through many of the responses, but it did seem to me that many were commenting from an experience years ago. I have recently been on OKCupid and found the experience to be different. I encountered many catfishers: people who would want to message incessantly but not want to meet, multiple, rude propositions: “Wanna do this with me?” and requests for money. I remember asking one guy who kept sending me pictures to send me one with him holding up my name on a piece of paper in his kitchen. He became very angry and abusive, stating I was ridiculous! Verdict: Catfisher. One man gave me a different first name but had a very distinctive last (and coincidentally worked at the same company as my ex). I ended up finding his mug shot online when he was arrested for domestic assault. Some would set up a meeting, but then disappear (obviously for the best, but hurtful at the time).

    I vowed always to google the person before I met them, check their phone number to see if it matches their name (many have a designated # they use for online (there are even apps where you can keep changing your phone number each time you give it out), and insist that we meet in person in a safe location about 3 days after beginning an initial conversation.

    I did end up meeting a nice guy, but I would caution every woman to be CAREFUL, CAUTIOUS and DO YOUR RESEARCH! Some women are murdered by people they meet online. Many are not luckily, but it pays to be careful.

    • Christina says...

      Hi Juli, I completely agree that some of these comments are from experiences years ago. (And I’m sorry to hear about your rough experiences!)

      I think rather than some of the comments here of, “you get what you pay for”, it’s better to be on the apps that are current. I had terrible experiences with some really creepy guys on OKCupid and Match, but I really enjoyed Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. And this was 4+ years ago! I am the person you’re talking about, ahhaha.

  16. I used to almost exclusively online date in my late 20s. And after a while, it became a struggle, I ended up hating it. Weird people, men who would ghost me, others who said “hello, wanna f***”. All kinds of experiences! I had this cycle of going for a few dates, them deleting my apps for 3 months, then installing it again, a few dates, and back to deleting it…
    Luckily for me, I gave it another go after a turned 30 and met my now boyfriend on OkCupid :)

  17. Laurel says...

    My dad hopped on the dating apps when he was in his 50’s. He matched with Judi, who responded yes to going to a concert with him. After a few dates, she revealed she had three kids, including her youngest daughter who was still in middle school. My dad said, “I dunno, she has kids, it could be complicated.” I replied “what are you talking about?!? You love kids!” (He mentored teens for years after I moved out to go to college).
    They are married now, nearly 7 years. The joy in his life could have been dashed over one dumb hangup! But I’m glad he listened to me and took a chance. Also, sidebar, he LOVES her kids, and now grandkids. And she loves my sons. So you know, all the feels.

    • Cait says...

      Aww, this is so lovely. I’m glad you spoke up!

  18. AV says...

    These are some great, fun, light tips. But I must say they all focus on the effort that we as women put in to creating these profiles, the perfect image, the most captivating bio. If the writer is hetero then this applies, if not then ignore ;)
    I can’t say that the majority of men put the same amount of thought into their profiles as women. So when online dating: set your boundaries. I just read an Instagram story by Australian feminist Clementine Ford today that covers this topic, and she has some great “immediate swipe left” ones:
    – No caption – zero effort put in by the man.
    – Any list of things criticizing or saying they don’t want in women – “No tattoos, no single mums” comments about weight etc..
    – Any profile photo with the guy visibly drunk, scowling, flipping the bird or showing general disrespect for women.
    I’m really hoping women stop giving these guys a chance, they can shape up or ship out! I know there are abundant lovely, decent men out there also looking for the real thing, or a fun time if that’s what you’re into, the base standard just needs to be raised a whole lot to match what us ladies are putting out into the world. We’re not being “picky”, we’re discerning, and we deserve to be :)

    • Charlie says...

      Agree completely! I use Hinge in DC and I’ve met some really nice people, but you have to weed through quite a bit.

      “Set your boundaries” = perfect advice.

      Be clear about your standards: there’s good people out there, so hone in and focus your energy on them. Skip everyone else.

    • Emma says...

      I agree with your message of having high standards and sticking to them! I think that’s so important, and I’ll add that having higher standards is another way of valuing one’s own time. Bad dates and bad sex are a waste of our valuable time! However, to counter your comment a bit — I work in a male dominated industry, and all of my coworkers are mostly single men. Perhaps because I’m in a long term relationship or perhaps because I have a sisterly nature, they all share their app experiences and struggles with me. Obviously my coworkers may not represent all men out there, but whoa these guys DO care about their appearance and the way women perceive them digitally. They spend the quiet moments of their workday ruminating on why some woman didn’t take them up on their offer to grab drinks, and if it was because they look too sloppy or visibly balding in their pictures. They really struggle with figuring out why a first date didn’t lead to a second date, and will describe everything that happened on the date and ask me what it was. One of my coworkers has the most success on the apps, and my other coworker asked to review his profile and the consensus was that he had better photos and more of them, and that he showed himself working and doing responsible things.

  19. Stacey says...

    I am late to this party, but I am wondering what you all think about using one’s true age on online dating apps? I am going to be 50 in a few months. In a way I feel like my age is a type of filter—it means I’m not going to have a child. It means that, since I have an older child, I have a certain amount of free time and some freedom from parenting. Yet, listing my true age could be limiting. I look a lot younger than I am and I know I could get away with saying I am at 5 years (if not more) younger. Any thoughts or advice?

    • Beth says...

      Pro: you could have a lot of fun casually with guys who would maybe count you out with a filter

      Con: if you get serious with someone, there is an inevitable conversation about coming clean and potential for mistrust aftermath

      Not my wisdom, but from the plot of Younger (#teamJosh)

    • Caitlin says...

      LOL Beth best response ever.

    • Carol says...

      Stacey, I think it depends on what you’re looking for. If you just want a casual fling, then knocking a few years off your age is probably not that big of a deal. But if you’re looking for a relationship, it means you’re starting things off with deceit, which is never a great idea. And if you are looking for a relationship, you want to be with someone who wouldn’t have filtered you out due to those assumptions you mention.

  20. Amanda says...

    I used dating apps for years before meeting my partner (on OkCupid)! I have a lot of tips…

    1) Maybe shallow, but make sure your first photo shows off your face, and the person you’re swiping with shows off their face. My partner said he always hesitated to match with people whose faces were not clear in photos, and I felt the same. A person who is happy and confident will want to show off their face, and will be more likely to be a positive influence in your life! Even if someone isn’t “conventionally attractive,” a confident, clear photo will make them look more warm and attractive.

    2) Obvious, but be yourself. Don’t force yourself to be too quirky or witty in your profile, or try to make yourself seem super adventurous (unless you are, in which case, do it up). One or two vacation photos is fine, but there’s probably much more to you than the one week you spent in Iceland.

    3) Make sure your dating casting net includes some neighbouring areas, especially if you’re in a big city. I always had a hard time finding committed people directly in the city of Toronto (I find there is a problematically strong “plenty of fish in the sea” outlook in places with higher population density).

    4) Don’t just expand your casting net geographically, but also… racially. I have SO MANY friends who prefer to date white people. This is something that has been engrained in us through media. Romcom leads are always white, the prince in the fairytales is always white, and generally, it is the only race that is marketed as being attractive when dating. Let me tell you, as a woman of colour, who has also dated many white men, and who is now dating a man outside my race who is also a person of colour—no matter the race, a smart, kind, beautiful person, is a smart, kind, beautiful person. It’s easy to swipe your way through profiles and not realize you are discrediting all the men of colour, because that is what we have been taught and programmed to do! Challenge your unconscious bias and you will surprise yourself, and be surprised by others!

    • Tiffani says...

      I can’t agree enough with casting a wide net racially! I’m a black woman who lives in a veeeeerrry white state and had always dated and then eventually married a white man. My divorce coincided with Trump winning the election and I made the decision to date only men of color for a year because I wanted to meet people who understood what it was like to be a person of color in this country at this time. That ended up being two years and I met so many interesting men and learned so much. I dated a Korean accounting student, an Italian carpenter, a professional soccer player from Togo, a restaurateur from Ethiopia and a few Indian engineers and they all had fascinating things to tell me about their lives in their home countries, how and why they’d come to the US and what it was like living here. I tried new foods, listened to new music and saw my city and state in new ways. And they were interested in things about my life that would have been totally hum drum and boring to another native Iowan. The longest relationship I had during this period was with an Iranian man who came here to get his Phd. I knew nothing about Iran except that US relations with that country were poor and I’d never been close with someone who practiced Islam. He was passionately proud of being Iranian and loved his country and shared the food, history and pop culture with me. He was an amazing person and though we didn’t stay together we’re still friends. I ended up dating men of color exclusively for two years and at the end of it met my boyfriend, who is a white man from Michigan lol. But I firmly believe that that time I spent meeting men who were so different from me and each other was the key to figuring out what I was really looking for. The thing they all had in common was kindness, thoughtfulness and intelligence and I think throwing out my culturally ingrained notions about attractiveness helped me zero in on that.

    • Christina says...

      Tiffani, what an interesting experience. I would read this memoir!!! WRITE IT, please!!! :)

  21. Rue says...

    I actively did online dating for several years that felt very long, and Hinge ultimately connected me with my now fiance, who was living in a neighboring city at the time (but he moved here for me, swoon, and tells anyone who asks that I’m the reason he moved here, double swoon).

    I didn’t have luck with the people I met on Bumble, but it was a great first dating app for me because it gave me practice talking to strangers in the specific context of those first messages in an app. That’s a tough thing to figure out! And you’ve got to create your own style and approach, just like any other communication medium.

    Trust your gut on people, and understand your gut may be pulling you towards someone you want, but who just doesn’t work out for whatever reason, and that doesn’t mean *anything* about the next person you connect with. There’s not much rhyme or reason to dating, especially online dating. You’ll slowly get better at having strong opinions if that’s what you need to work on, or you’ll slowly get better at being more flexible and open-minded if that’s what you’ve got to work on. Either way, online dating is helping you home specific skills that will serve you.

    When things felt impossible for me re dating, I found a stranger’s dating success story online to be very encouraging. The thing I think I needed to hear is that it’s not somehow too late for you. It’s possible for this to still work out. There’s no bigger meaning in how fast or slow dating goes for you. If you’re committed to making something work for yourself, then give it days or months or years depending on your luck, and you absolutely will find it. And we’ll all be here to celebrate and cheer you on!

    • Jaime says...

      Love this! So optimistic! Its easy to think it is “too late,” due to age, baggage, etc. but I love your belief that it isn’t. Even if it takes years :)

  22. Emma says...

    Follow @matchmakermaria on Instagram! She has set up more than 10,000 first dates and critiques dating profiles on her platform. I adore her, she is very no-nonsense and a huge advocate for setting boundaries and high standards as well. Super empowering!

  23. Isabel says...

    I love this topic! I decided to go on Bumble to meet some new people early in quarantine when I was staying with my parents and feeling a bit lonely. A few distanced hiking dates later (which were actually really low key and fun!) and I met a guy who grew up a few towns over. It was basically love at first sight – both of us drove away after our 7 hour date thinking that we had met the love of our life!

    It’s been just over 6 months and we’re discussing future plans and moving in together. Interestingly too, because of our very limited social contact due to COVID, we have spent a lot of time getting to know each other’s families, which has been really quite lovely.

    Just jump in! What is there to lose :)

  24. Amanda says...

    I met my husband via OkCupid nearly 19 years ago. I thought online dating was super fun, but I was in my early 20s with low expectations and in a major city, so I’m sure that varies, lol.

    My advice, though I haven’t dated in a long time, is to keep initial dates low key. That’s probably especially easy during COVID! Coffee and a walk around the neighborhood, or ZOOM, and keep it short. That first date is just about checking if you jive in person. I only did a few full dinner dates, and regretted most of them – dinner is soooo long if you don’t click.

    Also, maybe more relevant to younger women or women who (like me) are socialized to be super nice – don’t hesitate to get out of a date fast if you’re uncomfortable. I let one especially awful date drag on and on (while my date got super wasted) because I was too uncomfortable to say “bye” and just leave. That’s in Saturday night I’ll never get back, lol.

    • Amanda says...

      Oops, I met my husband *10 years ago, not 19. I was a minor 19 years ago, lol.

  25. Andrea says...

    I’ve found that it’s easier to embrace and even enjoy online dating if you are interested in other people. It’s almost like you’re conducting a sociological experiment: some people you meet will be so interesting and amazing! Others will be dull or not a good fit at all. As long as you enjoy getting to know other people, even for a short amount of time, it won’t be a chore but instead a fun extra-curricular activity!

    One down-side of dating in the modern era is being ghosted. I think it’s just inevitable, because some people are just rude! My advice would be do NOT contact them. If you think you’re being ghosted then you are–and thank your lucky stars you didn’t end up with that jerk!

    Full disclosure: I met my husband through mutual friends at a party but we were both PROLIFIC online daters before we met. Our mutual friends thought we’d be a good match because we truly enjoyed the dating scene so much! We even ceremoniously deleted our dating apps at the same time the morning we had the conversation and became “official.”

  26. Sarah Beth says...

    I met my husband on Jdate in a pre-app era! It felt so weird and novel to meet someone online, and lots of people were really embarrassed by it back then. But I thought it was funny! Why is it any worse than meeting someone at a bar? We both wanted to date someone, and we made it happen! One thing that really helped was to move things away from chatting online as fast as possible. Have a phone call, meet in person (when safe), have a zoom date where you order the same takeout– but commit to a time to be one-on-one and away from the endless swiping and scrolling.

    I had a great time dating online– I said yes to EVERYONE, bc I was in grad school and flat broke and it usually got me one free dinner a week. I was the first person my husband met online! Lucky him. We’ve been together more than a decade, and married for 6 years with 2 kids!

  27. Isabella says...

    I appear to be an outlier here, but I’ve tried online dating multiple times and I have to say that I loathe it. I think it probably makes a huge difference where you live; when I gave it a whirl in Seattle I didn’t find significant romance but I did have a good time meeting bright, friendly people and made some friends in the process. But living in the North Bay Area, oh lord, it’s ghastly. Scrolling through photos of ‘available’ men is less kid-in-a-candy-store than why-do-all-these-photos-look-so-rapey? So many shirtless mirror selfies; so many dudes leering in convertibles with gelled hair. Everyone’s bio says that they like food, and movies, and going out but also staying in — as if that’s really going to provide an opening for connection. Messages roll in that just say “Heeeeyyyy, sexxy ;)!” Men challenge whether I’m “real” based on the fact that I can use a semicolon correctly. Dates that I’ve gone on have been cringey. Anyone who’s objectively good-looking inevitably works in tech or finance and is looking for a child-free hottie for globetrotting and water skiing. It all makes me feel so isolated and hopeless, and queasy. BUT, I’m truly glad that it’s worked so well for so many people! Maybe the trick is living in New York…

    • Kim says...

      Sending you sympathy! I tried online dating for the first time during the pandemic (I live in LA) and I hate it so much I’ve just given up. The loneliness of quarantine is soul-crushing but being constantly evaluated by people I don’t click with anyway is worse. It felt like I was spending tons of time and energy interviewing for jobs I didn’t even really want.

    • Christina says...

      Isabella, you are NOT WRONG. Online dating is kind of the worst. I did it for a few years but kept wishing I would just meet a nice normal person. Eventually I did (not online – but a blind date setup). It seems super cringey still, based on what I see from friends. Anyway, all this to say – you’re not the outlier in thinking online dating is terrible.

      Sending you hopes for a meet-cute and a great makeout session (eventually)!

  28. Lisa says...

    my husband and i met on okcupid 6 years ago (before they had an app). what i would give to see our first messages back and forth to each other. i think joanna’s recent post about her emails with alex brought it to the front of my brain again.

    so my husband tried to get into his old account, but okcupid kept telling him it didn’t exist. i guess it shall remain a mystery.

  29. Grace says...

    Found my fiancé on Hinge! Growing up, I always imagined I’d find my person at school or work but it just didn’t work out like that. I had really nice boyfriends, but no one I could see forever with. I think my advice is:
    1) You have to truly have an open mind to being on the Apps. If you go in with preconceived notions or thinking it can’t work out for you, you’ll be miserable on the Apps.
    2) Be patient. I went on my fair share of “just ok” dates before finding my fiancé. I actually have no horror stories or truly awful date stories- plenty of really nice guys out there, but not a lot of sparks.
    3) I know everyone is on the Apps for different reasons. For me, it was to find someone I truly loved and could build a life with a start a family with. Before meeting anyone new, I would tell myself “This could be your last first date!” and it always would make me feel a little more excited for the upcoming date. I had reached a point where going on 2-3 dates/month felt like a part time job because I’m shy and it’s not always fun to meet someone new.

    Know your worth, and that there is a lid for every pot. Don’t settle. The most exciting thing about online dating is realizing that we now have the chance to meet way more people than when our parents or grandparents were dating, and our odds might be better for finding real compatibility.

  30. suki says...

    It may have been from Aziz Ansari’s book on dating, (the book is great and full of helpful research, his personal behavioral glitch aside), but somewhere I’ve heard that you’re supposed to go on three dates with the same person even if you ‘know’ it’s not a match. Three dates gives you both just enough quality time to see more of who they really are.

    • Charlie says...

      I don’t love this advice – I think you have to follow your gut. BUT that book MODERN ROMANCE, is a very good read for folks who want to learn more about the psychology of online dating. It’s funny, easy to read, and provides useful tips and guidance, as well as expectation setting. My therapist recommended it and now I do too!

  31. anja says...

    This is a really great post but what comes up for me is that I really don’t like how I look. I don’t feel proud or even accepting of how I look and I don’t want photo’s of who I am online! But how else will I meet someone? It feels hopeless. I don’t think age is a huge factor but I am 50. I know you’re not allowed to even think these thoughts let alone say them aloud. Nevertheless. . .how do I approach this? Is it just fear?

    • Andrea says...

      My dear sweet Anja! This is indeed a challenge. Perhaps ask your friends to select some of their favorite photos of you (and share why they picked them). Everyone is their own worst critic! If only we could see ourselves the way our closest friends did. Sending you love and light.

    • g says...

      anja, your question stopped me in my tracks. it makes me ragey when people respond to things like this by saying “we’re all beautiful!” that just ain’t true, at least not on the outside. you may be beautiful and not know it, or you may not be beautiful. but so fucking what? we are complex humans and there are more important things in life and in partnership than being pretty.

      but: you are who you are and you look how you look. and you will not find love unless you learn to accept and appreciate yourself OR can ignore it long enough to put yourself out there. honestly, either will do. as kate baer would say, this is not a dress rehearsal for a better kind of life that starts when you are prettier or thinner.

      who are you when you are at your best? what are the most interesting things about you? add pictures of you reading a book you love, doing some sort of interesting activity -rock climbing? at some exciting travel destination? attending dog shows? winking while telling a raunchy joke? watching obscure anime? cooking an 8-course meal? volunteering? what can a partner expect to do, see, talk about, when they are with you? posting accurate photos up front will weed out anyone who doesn’t like the way you look or is looking for a partner to be a status symbol for them. be brave, you’re a whole universe.

    • E says...

      Oh Anja I’m so glad that you wrote this comment! I think it takes some bravery to admit this. G’s comment is also great and I totally agree with it! I struggled with body acceptance for a long time and some days I still do. Personally, I found I couldn’t have a successful relationship when I was unable to accept my body. And I certainly wasn’t able to have an orgasm with a partner! I kept trying to date though it never worked because I just couldn’t really be vulnerable and I carried too much shame. Ultimately, I ran a marathon and it forced me to give up an eating disorder I’d been dealing with for a long time. During the process I realized I have just this one body. There’s no switching it out. It allows me to dance and sing and travel and laugh and live a pretty good life! Without it, I couldn’t do any of that. I thought about the way I loved my closest friends and my family members and I realized that their bodies had nothing to do with my feelings for them, so mine probably doesn’t either. I know that in the dating world your body does matter, but I’ll say this, confidence is incredibly attractive. So that means accepting your body is actually one way to make yourself more attractive!

    • Amanda says...

      I would say to do something that makes you feel confident, and then take a photo. Whether that is something physical, like putting on your favourite outfit or some makeup, or doing a hobby that brings you passion. Even if you accomplish something great at work, take a selfie right after! You can do selfies, have a friend take photos, or if you have the budget for it, you can enlist the help of a professional photographer (just for an hour or so) to capture you when you are doing an act of confidence. It can be money well spent if they are good at what they do.

      Last year, I put on weight and felt like I looked horrible in every photo that was taken of me. It was not until my partner took a photo of me, all bundled up for a hike, with a huge backpack, that I realized I was allowed to still like the way I looked, even if I didn’t fit a certain expectation I had for myself.

      Even if you are not conventional looking, find the moment when you feel beautiful, and see if someone can help you capture it. And if you don’t like the way some (or even most) of the photos turn out, you can just delete them and it’s as though they never existed!

  32. Bee says...

    My number one rule was that I only swiped right on guys that looked like they’d be kind. It’s such a nebulous thing to define but I ended up avoiding creeps and creepy messages (seriously, in the years I used it I only got one creepy message and that was in Copenhagen when I was stuck there on business).

    I was on Tinder back in 2013-2015 and met my now-husband on it at 25. We’ve been together 5 years. He’s very kind 🙂

    • Tiffani says...

      I love this. I focused on guys who seemed kind too. Its an amorphous thing to look for in a dating profile but I ended up swiping right on a lot of guys whose pictures didn’t really give me a clear idea of how cute they were, but maybe they had a lot of pictures of their niece or their cat or something that showed that they took an I interest in people and things outside themselves. And I too really only had pleasant experiences. Obviously not everyone was a home run but every guy treated me well and I managed to stay clear of creeps. I met my now boyfriend on Tinder and the only thing I remember about his profile now is that he said he loved bird watching and I was like “That seems like a hobby that a kind, gentle person would enjoy.” Not sure if that can be used as a rule of thumb, but I was right,he is kind and gentle and those are the things that have made me love him.

  33. Emma says...

    Lots of previous comments have mentioned having the right attitude (avoiding high hopes) and sense of humor when approaching online dating. I just want to emphasize that. Nothing feels lonelier than being with someone but not actually being able to ~talk~ with them. There are going to be a lot of those dates! If you go into them thinking you’re there for an experience, the lack of connection won’t be so disappointing. But if you go in thinking you may have met your person, it will feel really really bad when that doesn’t happen. I met my partner of 4 years on Hinge! But I went on mostly ehh dates for years before that. There were a couple odd experiences that have made for stories (I took an uber pool and the person I was meeting joined, a dude forced himself on me after a second date, one guy had gained 50+ lbs since his last app photo and I couldn’t recognize him at all, one man ordered a vodka on a Sunday afternoon date at a non-bar, when they didn’t have vodka he drank a hard cider and complained about it continually). Oddly these stories have allowed me to connect with my friends’ moms better. I think older generations of women went on more bad dates than we do now. Maybe I’m wrong? Someone should investigate this!

    • suki says...

      Here’s a question: do you think you got better at dating over the years and you became accustomed to dating with less nerves etc or did it just take years arbitrarily?

    • Emma says...

      Hey Suki! I think it’s a bit of both, but I did get better at it. Early on I was awkward and shy. Once you go on a lot of online dates, you begin to develop a format and that instilled some comfort/confidence for me. The word “format” is not romantic, but it helps navigate the awkwardness. For me, that meant the first date was always non-committal (going for a walk or a beverage or snack). There were certain questions I always asked, and things about myself I always made an effort to share. And no matter what, I always went home alone. That was just what worked for me though, and I think every seasoned app dater develops their own protocol.

      You get much better at navigating the apps with time, which is what a lot of other people have said. You realize what’s important to you and what actually isn’t, and what’s predictive of incompatibility. I found that if a guy had no answer to “what’s the best book you’ve read lately” it was a BAD SIGN. At first I thought, welp who really cares if he doesn’t read? But what I found is that most guys who don’t read that much will still answer that question and play along. It’s the dudes who are willful non-readers that I had to rule out.

    • Charlie says...

      Hi Suki,

      YES! I it gets easier over time.

      I think there’s three elements to this:
      (1) You learn dating skills by going on dates – I’ve learned to follow your gut, trust my intuition, identify what things matter to me, and pick up more quickly on behavior / signs that I like and don’t. By interacting with so many people, I’ve learned what kinds of things are important to me – I’ve been on dates with great communicators, passive aggressive people, you name it. You learn to quickly pick up on things, like small gabs that indicate someone who is insecure and could be mean later on, or identify a good lister who is kind and thoughtful. I’ve learned to be a much better judge of people and notice behavior habits that help me weed folks out – not just in dating, but work and life!
      (2) You learn how to differentiate what you want, by testing out questions and conversation starters. Now I have go to questions that help me quickly learn the basics about how someone invests their time, whether they have friends and lasting relationships, what their priorities are, etc. You learn to question and converse with a purpose.
      (3) The anxiety goes down (mostly) – Online dating can be relieving because really it’s just a meet up and introduction app. You have NO IDEA if you’ll like or click with the person in advance. So the stakes are low. I view it as a way to meet someone, and the dedication of just one hour with no obligations. If you approach it as a way to learn about yourself and humanity, it’s much easier to enjoy, less pressure, and less disappointing. Sometimes I do feel anxious or sad that I haven’t met a life partner yet, but I remind myself that the only way to find my person, is to meet people – and the more I meet, the more likely I’ll find the person i’m looking for. It only takes one – and in the meantime, I’m learning.

  34. Lynda says...

    Love this! I met my now husband on OkCupid 5 years ago and we are now pregnant and expecting our baby girl at the end of January!

    I was online for about a year before I met him and before that I had connected with some nice guys who I casually dated for a few months here and there. As a naturally shy person putting myself out there online was intimidating at first, especially since my previous boyfriends were guys I knew for some time before we started dating. It ended up doing wonders for my confidence–not because I was getting male attention but because I had the courage to go out and meet people and take a chance in such a vulnerable way.

    My #1 tip, other than just have fun, is to go into every date thinking “I hope I like this person!” rather than “I hope this person likes me!” You can’t control what other people think of you and trying to do so is a wasted effort, but you can control what you think of others, even if that date isn’t a love connection but just a pleasant evening with a new person.

    Good luck!

    • Charlie says...

      YES! Love your #1 tip.

  35. Toni says...

    Sometimes being honest about what you want comes from trial and error! Back in 2011, I met my now husband on JDate. I was dating a wide range of guys who were all wonderful men, but I found myself feeling sad when they didn’t appreciate or know about my holidays. I also felt out of place celebrating Christmas or Easter with them. It took me most of my 20’s to realize I should focus on dating people in my faith.

  36. M says...

    I’ve been on and off dating apps for a few years with varying success, but met someone fantastic on Tinder in May and we’ve been seeing each other since then! I live in a small city where Tinder is the most popular dating app (not just for hookups), although I’ve tried Bumble too.
    We broke so many of the common online dating rules, but somehow it’s worked out so far ;) Because of Covid, we texted daily for almost a month before meeting! It was thrilling to hear from him every evening and by our first date, it felt like we were already friends and we’d developed a real spark. He’s ten years older than me, and had just moved home from a big city – I feel so lucky that we’ve found each other! We have different interests, work in totally different fields, and I can’t imagine that our paths would have crossed without Tinder.

    Sure it’s helpful to choose the right photos and to give people a chance, but In general I think the lessons of online dating are just like any other kind of dating. I’ve learned that it’s ok to feel sad when someone’s not who you’d hoped they’d be (or when they ghost!), but I’ve also learned to respect myself enough to not waste time fantasizing about people who don’t care about me.
    One of the best pieces of dating advice is something I read on Cup of Jo a few years ago: “If someone likes you you’ll know. If they don’t, you’ll feel confused.” I’ve thought of that in so many moments of dating “confusion” and have moved on instead of inventing excuses for the person confusing me.
    The other advice that I think of a lot when it comes to dating is the famous Maya Angelou quote: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” YUPPPP wish I had taken that advice more in the past!

    • suki says...

      EXCELLENT reminder, re: confusion!

    • Charlie says...

      BEST ADVICE EVER.

      I’ve learned this the hard way, but it’s so true. If someone likes you, is dedicated, and wants to be with you loyaly, you’ll know – because they’ll show you. Someone who texts sporatically, doens’t commit to plans, falls through, etc isn’t serious, and we all deserve someone who is. Building on your comments M, I’d add two pieces of advice I got:

      – From my therapist: “Mirror the energy the other person puts in. If you’re giving 70% and they’re giving 30% that’s not a sustainable relationship.” I’ve applied this to texting, initiating dates, sharing and being vulnerable, and it’s a great measure of potential.

      – From a friend: You’re a dope ass queen, and you deserve someone who is thrilled and excited about being with you! Couldn’t agree more. If I’m ever unsure, I ask myself “is this person excited and eager to be with me?” And do I feel the same? (I want someone I’m excited about too!)

    • M says...

      Coming back with a broken hearted update a few days later- that fantastic person has since broken up with me.

      Which leads me to my newest dating lesson: if someone mentions early on that they value their freedom and don’t want to get into something too serious, believe them! Even if it’s rooted in fear, they will leave you when it gets serious.

      The first time I’ve ever been dumped with the explanation that they developed too many feelings for me and want to get out before it goes even deeper….

  37. Caitlin says...

    I met my now partner just before online dating became mainstream so I never participated but nearly every friend I have did/does. I’m also a therapist and hear a *lot* about the apps from clients. I have to say I just have so much respect and admiration for people who put themselves out there in the way online dating requires. There’s nothing I’ve ever done that I can equate it to and I see some really positive impacts that my clients often don’t see. I certainly know there can be downsides too, but I really can’t help but be impressed! I hope you all find what you are looking for and treat yourself kindly along the way!

    • HH says...

      This comment is so sweet. I have found luck both on and off dating apps. I am at the age where dating apps hit the scene hard in my mid-to-late 20s and I have many friends who have long term partners and never experienced the life of online/app dating. Some express gratefulness while others just don’t understand. However, all share the love the stories ;) It really is something to put yourself our there like that, and don’t think I’ve ever really given it the proper credit, so thank you for sharing! xx

  38. Olivia says...

    I’ve been with my partner for three years now, and we originally met on Tinder! I definitely second the piece of advice about putting a conversation starter into your profile. My inbox was an endless stream of “Hey!” and “What’s up?” messages that were hard to respond to, until I changed my bio. I had just returned from three months in Europe, so I listed “finding new ways to bring up my time abroad” in with my hobbies, and then everyone was asking me about something that I loved to talk about!

  39. Nikki says...

    If you are or are considering online dating, I highly suggest you read Aziz Anzari’s book Modern Romance. It was SO great and so relatable.

    I totally agree with Meri’s comment about being honest with what you want. Years ago I complained to my therapist that the men I was meeting only wanted short term affairs. She suggested that I write on my profile “I’m looking to get married and have a family.” I thought she was crazy but I tried it. So many men commented on how they appreciated my honesty and how they wanted that too. I ended up meeting my husband at a bar, but I had met men online that I thought were total keepers.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so cool, Nikki! thanks for this insight.

    • ilia says...

      My best friend found her husband that way. She made it the point of her profile and found an incredibly great match: very very handsome, ran his own firm, and wanted to be a husband and father. I didn’t know you could just ask for what you wanted! It make perfect sense that there are men who very much want these things too.

    • Kate says...

      YES! My therapist said the same thing: Tell people what YOU want. I’ve since updated my profile to say “Looking for a life partner who is also ambitious, intellectually curious, active, and wants kids.” I think it helps people self-assess whether I’m a good match, and attracts the right kind of attention.

      Still dating, but we’ll see!

  40. Megan says...

    I met my now fiancé off Tinder. I’ve had a profile for a total of five months over four years. I honestly matched with hundreds of guys on there and only met one other person off Tinder. At least in Tinder’s case, I think there is a lot of BS you have to wade through but it was fun and the stakes felt really low. I definitely agree with the comments about having a range of pictures; some by yourself doing activities and one or two with friends. I hate profiles where you’re trying to guess whose profile you’re actually looking at because they only have friend pictures. Also do not feel embarrassed about being on a dating app! So many people do it, it really is truly the norm. I love telling people I met Matt off Tinder because it’s an actual success story.

  41. Olivia says...

    After being single for 4 years, I met my boyfriend on a dating app. And trust me, over those 4 years, I had some VERY, VERY BAD DATES.
    Totally agree with showing your true colors, i remember i had 4 pictures and in two of them i had no make up on. I didn’t want any filter or whatsoever. I remember meeting a guy who had posted pictures from his past and he looked nothing like the guy I saw on the photo. We are going to see each other eventually so what is the point of lying about how you look ?
    Ladies, don’t hesitate to make the first move, no it won’t make you look desperate, my boyfriend loved it and thought it was a bold move (so many girlfriends of mine still refuse to talk “first”)
    Let’s text but not too much : of course, it is important to feel a connection but I like to to be surprised and I didn’t want to know all about him before our first date, there is nothing like real conversations over a drink.
    Also : don’t give up. I had soooo many bad dates and deleted the app from my phone so many times. Yes it can get tiring, but the more you date, the more you know what you really want, i learnt so much thanks to those bad dates. I remember thinking this was pointless until one day one of my friend asked me to show what a dating app was like and then..there he was…
    Last but not least : some friend think that dating apps are lame or embarrassing. I get it, I used to feel the same way but after a while I just saw it as an additional tool : it does not prevent you from living your live and meeting people in real life by travelling, going to bars, going to the gym etc… it is a just another potential way of finding someone great :)

  42. Jess says...

    Tried OKCupid (in 2013) when I had moved to a new city as a way to get to know my new home and theoretically meet someone. You want to go on a date where we go to the art museum and then to a hockey game, sure! My advice would be to try all types, (who are of course respectful during initial conversations). My now husband had what I describe as a ‘bro-y’ picture, but he’s such a lovable dork and I quickly discovered that on our first date. We printed out all of our early conversations and it’s so funny to see how we were presenting ourselves.
    Good luck out there, love will come.

  43. Michelle says...

    Lots of great ideas here and in the comments! I met a lot of good people on apps and a few I would have been happy to skip meeting entirely… Currently in a relationship with one of the good ones. :) During my years of endless first (and occasional second) dates, I read a book by Lori Gottlieb, “Marry Him,” and in the book she works with a dating coach — I had no idea these folks existed! I signed up for an online program with a coach, which made me feel a bit silly, but it helped me so much. Two big differences that the coaching helped with: I was able to bounce back more quickly when something didn’t work out with a guy, and I was able to enjoy the process of dating more. At first I treated dating like a second job with a goal at the end, but working with the coach helped me realize that I could actually have fun with dating, that the “goal” of the first few dates was just to enjoy myself. It sounds obvious but it was something I needed to hear over and over before it made sense to me.

  44. Brynn says...

    Stay safe! When online dating I always had a “third wheel.” This was a friend who I would text before the date to note where I was going, the name of the person I was meeting, and what time I anticipated being home. As soon as I walked in the door, I would send a thumbs up or a thumbs down emoji as a date review and to let her know I was home safe and sound. Although I never needed it, she was also on call in case the date was going poorly and I needed an out!

    • Amanda says...

      Yes, this is key! If I met someone on an app and had their phone number, I would also give this to my friend in case I went missing. It is an unfortunately reality, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

    • Nora B says...

      I love this. Also, please never get into a stranger’s car.

  45. Nameless says...

    I have been on several different dating Apps POF, Okcupid, BBWCupid, Match, Eharmony you name it, I tried them all. In the beginning I was so nervous and excited. I actually thought I was going meet my new husband. Since, I was recently divorced. That didnt happen at all.
    I went on several dates. With many different type of people. But no one was serious about relationships. Most guys, I met were already married or had live-in girlfriends. They lied to me about it. I was so disappointed and gave up hope on finding anyone that was truly interested in me for more than casual sex or using me. One guy just wanted a green card. Another guy wanted me to co-sign for his house. Last guy had a wife and five kids in Africa. I was not having any luck..Wish I can say it got better but it never did. I am still waiting for love to find me…

  46. kady says...

    long time online dater here! can’t agree more with the idea of not writing someone off after an okay first date. if you had nice time but didn’t feel that *spark*, give it another try! often the first date is filled with such nerves it can hard to come across as a real romantic. i always joke that that first date is me figuring out if they’re a serial killer and then if they’re not, the second date is me learning where they’re from, what they do, etc. (mostly joking…) i remind myself that i’m looking for a kind and interesting person, not a game-show host charming me for an hour and a half. it might take them a bit to warm up! also…currently dating someone for nine months who i met on tinder! our first date was…okay! :)

  47. Nameless says...

    I have been on several different dating apps POF, Okcupid, BBWCuipd, Match you name I tried them all. In the beginning I was so nervous and actually thought I was going meet my new husband. Since I was recently divorced. That didnt happen at all I when I with many people. But no one was serious about relationships. Most guys I met were already married had live-in girlfriends. Lied to me about it. I was so disappointed and gave up hope on finding anyone that was truly interested in me for more than sex or using me. One guy just wanted a green card. Another guy wanted me to co-sign for his house. Last guy had wife and five kids in Africa. I was not having any luck..Wish I can say it got better but it never did. I am still searching for love to find me…

    • Michelle says...

      It is tough out there. I’m so glad you could spot these guys for who they really are, and not invest your time in them. I hope lasting love finds its way to you soon.

  48. Melissa says...

    I am in my late 30s and just moved from NYC to a small town, and am struggling with the dating scene (and the making friends during a pandemic scene too but that’s a different story!). Any tips for what app/site would be good for people in their late 30’s/ early 40’s? Hinge and Bumble seem to be so young!

    • D says...

      I am wondering the same thing!

  49. K says...

    I met my fiancee on eharmony, and had a previous long term relationship that started there as well. My advice is to be true to yourself, both in how you present yourself and in how you communicate. If you’re right for each other, it will work out.
    For example:
    I’m an introvert, I hate small talk, and I want to know whether it’s going to be worth the emotional energy before I agree to a date with someone. A lot of people in online dating want to have a date after one day of exchanging banal messages, and that just doesn’t work for me. And I had to realize that’s fine–the person who’s right for me will respect my boundaries. I learned that for me, it was okay to ignore bland “hey what’s up” messages if I wasn’t particularly interested in anything else on their profiles.

    It also worked for me to be clear about what I wanted and what were dealbreakers to me. My fiancee says that one of the things that attracted him to me most was that after exchanging a few longer messages, I told him I didn’t think I could date someone who had personal and political worldviews x, y, and z. That let him know that I tend to be direct, and also told him something about my values. He said that most people he talked to were not so direct about their beliefs early on, and he appreciated that.

    Bottom line: do what’s comfortable to you, and what feels right to YOU. If you’re meant to work out, you will.

    • AnotherK says...

      Another K
      I can relate to what you comment about being an introvert. I was on okcupid briefly this summer and I thought with Covid things would in general be slower for everyone. I did not find this the case and after having (Good)conversations and texts with two different women….they seemed uninterested because I didn’t want to meet in person right away. I’m a hard person to get to know and do not fall for people easily. I also identify as an introvert but come off as extroverted and am good at conversation. Dating is miserable for
      me…… and I’m pretty secure in my single-ness. Good luck to everyone who is actively dating!

  50. Yulia says...

    I’ve love advice on how to tell someone you’re not interested in seeing them again/anymore. I just started online dating this year and it’s been great–like, maybe too great. I’ve learned so much about myself and others from it, and almost everyone I’ve met has turned out to be a great potential friend. The thing is, I don’t have endless amounts of energy for new friends. Any advice on what to say to someone who is wonderful and nice, but not for you? I have gone down the road with a few dates-turned-friendships that I eventually realized I wasn’t 100% into, and those were difficult for me to end once I realized I didn’t want to invest energy in them anymore. (Thank you in advance!)

    • Carly says...

      I just send a text! Something along the lines of “It’s been nice getting to know you but I’m not feeling enough of a connection here to continue seeing each other. Good luck with everything!”

      I appreciate when people let me know and I assume the same is vice versa.

    • alanah says...

      Agreed, a simple text saying ‘Thank you for your time but I unfortunately don’t see this going anywhere romantically. I hope you find what you deserve!’. Over 5-ish years of online dating between significant others, I must’ve sent 30-40 of these and I’ve never (not once!) gotten negative feedback for it. The guys either don’t respond or say a polite thank you.

  51. Brenna says...

    I met my husband on Tinder. My advice – don’t put so much emphasis on shared interests, but instead seek out shared values. When I first started online dating, I definitely swiped left on a lot of guys who didn’t seem like “my type” – meaning, guys who were not interested in the same things as me. My husband and I have few shared interests: he’s into dog breeding, farming and hunting. I like reading, travel and music. My husband was raised in a pretty religious home; I was raised by a lapsed Catholic scientist and an atheist. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. We share similar values and want the same core things in life. My husband is the kindest, sweetest and most genuine person I’ve ever met and I’m so glad I was open enough to get to know him. It’s also been really fun learning about his passions and sharing my own with him. Sure there are moments of conflict or confusion stemming from our differences, but that’s normal in any relationship. So don’t necessarily swipe left if someone doesn’t fit your usual “type” – it really might not matter.

    • Liz says...

      I completely agree. I met my husband on eHarmony 12 years ago and though we have a few shared interests, it’s our values that make us a strong couple- money, religion, how to rear children, what happiness means, etc.

      As other have mentioned, I was also very indifferent after the first date. But he kept following through and being kind and upfront (even though I had even talked about wanting children on our first date!). It was such a relief after 26 first dates in 9 months. I gave him chances and kept an open mind, something I hadn’t done with the “nice guys” before. Be honest with yourself and the dates. I wrote on my profile “I have no desire to make false impressions” because I wanted people to know I was genuine and not into being false. I honestly don’t know how people meet “normally” nowadays!

  52. I posted this advice on CoJ before, but posting again because this advice was hard won, and I want everyone to be as lucky as I have been (nearly 5 years happily married at this point).

    I met my now husband on OKC 6 years ago (my late 20s, his early 30s). That was online dating attempt #3 over a span of 5 years for me. I learned some handy rules that made the whole process easier to stick with until I found my hubs:

    1) Paid sites don’t necessarily equal more reliable dates. Sites like OKC just have more people on them, period. So your pool is much wider/deeper.
    2) I learned not to “put all my eggs in one basket” so that I’d line up multiple dates in a week to take the pressure off any one date. If Friday drinks was a bust, I had Sunday lunch to look forward to.
    3) I always only communicated through the app and never gave my last name or place of employment until at least 3 dates in for safety reasons. Sometimes men don’t take rejection well even if it is delivered kindly.
    4) Get to the date as quickly as possible. Messaging or texting a lot beforehand can feel like a good thing, but no amount of pre date conversation can make up for zero chemistry. Then you feel like you wasted a ton of time and emotional energy.
    5) Cast a wider net than you otherwise would in terms of filters like occupation, age, etc. because we are often our own worst enemies – throwing roadblocks up that really don’t need to be there. BUT be very honest with yourself – you can’t squeeze mill from a rock. I learned that I liked men who are taller than me at 5’5″ but that men lie about height, so I set the filter for 6′ knowing I’d get guys 5′ 7″ and up (and of course my husband padded his count!). On the other hand, I let go of assumptions about my future spouse’s profession which I always thought would be some white-collar job to match mine. My hubby is an electrician and we couldn’t be happier.
    6) Don’t overthink your profile. Pretend the profile is a conversation with a new acquaintance at a bar, running club, or church – are you going to wax philosophical about your love journey to that stranger? Tell them all about your recent disappointing dates after they’ve complimented your sunglasses? Keep it light, include at least one recent, full-body photo, and don’t be afraid (this is for you, ladies) to say EXACTLY what you want out of this dating app – if you put “something casual” when you mean “someone to spend my life with” don’t be surprised if you end up having bad experiences. I put something like “dating to find a long term partner.” We are made to feel ashamed by society for wanting commitment AND for not wanting it. Want what you want, girl!
    7) Finally, this life you’re living isn’t a Jane Austen novel. You don’t have to wait by the window for a year before the army comes back to town to get a date. Online dating is just one way to take control of your love life. The third time I tried it, I approached it like a mission. And even though I clearly put a lot of effort in, it still feels like the LUCKIEST thing in the world that I met my husband. Of course, I wouldn’t have had that luck if I hadn’t been going for it!

    Good luck to you all in your love journeys!!!

    • Jeanie says...

      Yes to all of this, from someone who’s been married for six years to an eharmony date after using dating sites for years :) I definitely got sucked into a few online-messaging relationships before I learned to move to in-person dates as soon as I felt comfortable (which was usually after a few messages and a phone call). I love what you said in point #7 – it can feel like you’re taking some of the magic out of dating by putting in effort and having a strategy, but in the end, if you meet someone, it still feels SO LUCKY!

  53. Carol says...

    My advice would be to take regular breaks every few weeks or so. Dating apps can be exhausting!
    There will be people who only match for their ego and have no intention of messaging or replying, there will be conversations that just go nowhere, there will be jerks, there will be people who try to neg you or disrespect your boundaries. There will be people who cancel at the last minute, or are nothing like they seemed when you meet in person. The key is to remember that none of their behaviour is ever a reflection on you.
    There will also be lovely people, great conversations, laughter, and hopefully a romance or two.
    Recognize when you’re getting worn out, and shut off the apps for a few weeks. Then when you’re energized, hop back in and try again!

    I also recommend following instagram accounts like Tinder Translator or Bad Dates of Melbourne as a way to feel less alone seeing other people’s experiences (especially if none of your friends are currently single and dating), learning to recognize red flags, and most importantly of all – remembering that if it all turns to sh*t, at least you got a funny story out of it!

    • Meghan says...

      Yes to breaks! I learned that I only had the energy to be “actively pursuing” (going on dates with) one person at a time – more than that was too stressful! Sometimes after a bust I would want to get right back swiping again, sometimes I would take a few weeks off. It all depends!

  54. Abby says...

    This is a fantastic list! The only thing missing I think is to be easy on yourself and celebrate small accomplishments. Even though online dating has become mainstream, it can still be intimidating and exhausting. Make sure to celebrate your own acts of bravery in the taking steps to get what you want. Xo

  55. Amy says...

    After going through a messy, long distance break-up, I decided to try online dating (Hinge) while I was home between overseas assignments. Because I had committed myself to being single for the next year, I felt very little pressure and had a lot of fun! Each date was different (coffee, bowling, rock climbing, trivia night), and the guys I met were all sweet in their own way.

    That said, I met my current partner on the fourth first-date I went on. We fell hard for each other. We went on five dates during those two magical weeks. I went overseas. I went home for the holidays, and we spent nearly every day together and met each other’s families. We kept talking every day. It’s been over a year now, and I’m finishing my assignment and going home to a possible engagement (!!!!) and homebuying plans.

    This is a long-winded way to say: Try to have fun. I don’t think I would have enjoyed dating if I hadn’t been in a place where my life felt full in its own right. The loneliness and want for companionship is real, and I don’t mean to downplay their importance. Am I happy that I met my partner when I did? Absolutely. Was I in a happy place already when I went on those dates? Hell yeah. I’m grateful I went into online dating with an open mind and allowed myself to simply enjoy it. I wouldn’t have met my partner if I hadn’t :)

  56. Melissa says...

    I met my boyfriend on Tinder and we’ve been together for nearly 2 years. I had this silly idea in my head that if no-one could be bothered to type something into their profile then I wasn’t gonna swipe right for them as they obviously weren’t seriously interested in dating or a relationship. So there I am looking through Tinder and up pops this fella and all I can see is his name, age and distance from me. Now I know I had this ‘rule’ in place but something about his face drew me in – yes obviously I thought he was attractive BUT he also just looked like a genuinely nice guy. So I thought sod the rule, I’ll say yes to him and ping – we matched! He messaged first and asked how I was and mentioned that I looked nice. I know some people are put off by the ‘nice guys’ but honestly please don’t be. I am SO glad that I matched with Alex. He is funny, caring, supportive and throughout dating him he was consistent. We laugh now that I say he was consistent but what I mean is he never messed me about and what he told me he wanted was actually what he wanted (a relationship). He is by far the best thing to ever happen to me. And the reason why he didn’t write anything in his profile? Simply because he was unsure of what to put and he wasn’t very confident. So go for it, you’ve got nothing to lose.

  57. Genevieve says...

    haha, I know what you mean I really wanted to know what it was like for ages and thought it would be right up my street (I love meeting new people, like dating etc) but when I was single and tried it, it really wasn’t for me. It’s horribly addictive and the validation feeling you describe is very fleeting, and in my experience so so so much time was spent matching and chatting vs actually meeting up that it was entirely pointless and I stopped using them. (But I was lucky enough to be in a life situation where I met new people really often so my real-life dating prospects seemed hopeful. I met my partner at a party later that year)

    • Genevieve says...

      oops sorry this was meant to be a reply to the person saying they wished they could try online dating as they are curious!

  58. Rachel says...

    I met my husband online way back in 2001! I went on four first dates and he was the fifth and last. I think I was his second. Funny story about widening parameters like Leah suggested…my husband originally had pretty tight age and geography parameters. One night before we met he was scrolling through and decided to add a year, then two on the age. Then he expanded beyond the Bay Area little by little until he got to LA. That was enough for him to come face to face with his own sister! Luckily the resulting freak out didn’t send him offline for long. We met shortly thereafter and, as it turns out, I am the same age as his sister!

  59. Jean says...

    Could anyone give advice to a soon to be 60 year old who has been single for 18 years? My daughters are adults now and want me to meet someone, but I always feel overwhelmed when I look at dating sites. Have I left it too late?

    • Carly says...

      A lot of my tennis team mates are around your age and doing online dating! It sounds like they have a lot of fun with it. Maybe taking the pressure off and looking for activity partners vs. a life partner might help? It’s so stressful when you’re swiping through and asking yourself “is this the ONE?”.

    • Michelle says...

      I don’t have specific advice, but your comment reminded me of women I’ve spoken to who have felt it was “too late” for them, and they were in their 30s. It’s definitely not too late for them, or for you…

    • lemonade says...

      Hi Jean–I have no real advice to give, as I am probably closer to your daughters’ ages. But I thought your comment was really sweet and thoughtful I wanted to say I don’t think it is ever too late , if you want to meet someone! And if you don’t that’s ok too. I think being overwhelmed by dating sites/apps at first is totally normal regardless of your age. It does get less overwhelming and more normal once you start using them. Good luck with whatever you decide!

    • Anna Si says...

      Hey Jean, my mother met her now husband at age 65 through a dating site.
      At age 69 they build a new house and I have never seen my mother this happy.

      It is not too late!

    • Jean says...

      Thank you Carly, Michelle, Lemonade and Anna Si for your very kind and thoughtful replies. Anna Si, that’s very encouraging!

  60. Eve says...

    My main advice would be to remember they are DATING apps and not MESSAGING apps and try to meet in person as soon as you can. I had quite a few incidents where I ended up messaging back and forth with someone for weeks or months without meeting and convincing myself they were my one true love. Then when we finally met either we didn’t click, they weren’t like I had built them up to be in my mind or they ghosted me! Those situations were such a waste of time and also hard work emotionally as I had invested a lot into them. On the other hand when I met my husband I had been dating for so long that meeting up no longer felt like a big deal so we just sent a handful of messages and arranged a quick drink before I went to meet friends. I had zero expectations, just thought he seemed friendly and I was interested to chat to him as I had never met a soldier before. Here we are seven years later married and expecting our first baby!
    My other tips would be to take breaks from the apps if you are finding them hard work and come back when you’re in the mood, and definitely agree to have some specific things on your profile. I wrote something about how I loved exploring the unusual things you find in foreign supermarkets and I got loads of messages about that with people sharing intriguing products they had found!

  61. Danielle Alcock says...

    This is so funny and timely – I am newly divorced with two little girls. My first few dates post-divorce were “set-ups” from friends, which weirdly felt harder. Like the pressure was higher to be a specific (better) version of myself, and to make a good impression so they’d report back to my friends positively. After they both fizzled I decided to try Hinge in May of Covid, on a friend’s suggestion that “it might be fun, low-stakes, and you can just have cute “AIM-type” chats like we did in high school with our crushes.” I decided I’d only do it if I was going to be super honest about what I was looking for, what I am into, and my kids. My very first match was a cute guy with a sweet smile, and our first phone conversation lasted 4.5 hours, to both our surprise and delight (talk about “high school”!). We’ve been inseparable ever since :)

  62. Le says...

    Write funny recaps of your experiences. Mine were pretty depressing (a guy ran away from me in a parking lot of a mini-golf place, after a date that went shorter than the amount of time it took me to pick out an outfit), but writing recaps helped me laugh about it. Plus hearing the story of the string of ridiculous bad experiences somehow endeared me to the man I actually married. ;)

    • HH9 says...

      Wait a minute, LE. Ran away from you in a parking lot?! I would have liked to read those recaps! Somehow I bet that guy is still single… while you are actually married! Lol.

      As someone who just cancelled her membership in an online dating site because she was more prone to take screenshots of the guys it told her she should be happy to be matched with (although most were old enough to be her father and looked like prison escapees) than respond to them, I appreciate all of this advice.

  63. Daisy says...

    I met my husband online almost 20 years ago (I sound like a dinosaur even to myself:). Anyone remembers browsing centers and asking ASL on online chatting platforms? This was the time, internet was just in and chatting up with random folks online was a pastime. I met him on a random chat site and we moved to yahoo messenger and met in person a few months later. This was pre- cell phone times and we had to scan and email pictures of each other and had to choose a location and give each other details of the color of the dress we were going to wear to locate each other. Too many things could have gone wrong, yet we met and eventually got married.

  64. E.J. says...

    I met my husband on OkCupid!
    This is a tip from my dad that I found very helpful (and applies to all dating scenarios): Make a list of 15-20 things that you want from a partner and/or deal breakers. Big stuff, not petty things that don’t really matter long term.

    When you are first dating someone infatuation can take over all logic and you don’t want to end up 6 months into the relationship, when the puppy love clears, with someone who really isn’t right for you.

    Some examples of what I mean: non-smoker, kids or no kids, lifestyle choices.

    Oh, and have fun!

  65. M says...

    Veteran online dater here – I think I kissed 50 frogs (not literally) before I met my prince of a husband online. I’d add to these tips:

    1. Take a break from time to time – online dating is exhausting, and it can be a good idea to just disable your platform for a little while as needed. Over several years I’d take a week or a month off and it helped.

    2. A tip from my therapist: after some decent banter online, proceed to suggest a face-to-face date pretty soon. The longer your spend messaging, the greater the possibility you’ll build someone up in your head and the harder it will be for them to meet your expectations.

    3. A good tool for dating in general: a dear friend advised that I use dates as an opportunity to “practise being [my] lovely self.” It took the pressure WAY off when I would think of these dates as an opportunity to practise being me rather than needing to impress. By the time I met my husband via online dating I’d had tons of practice. :)

  66. Alexandra says...

    On the topic of giving people a chance…I have been very open to meeting people from apps who are just visiting (I live in Colorado) and it’s given me a chance to get to know really interesting people with perspectives different from my own. I’ve made amazing friendships out of brief dinners or coffees out with strangers, which, is an undervalued benefit from this kind of meeting between people without expectation, and, it’s led to a long term relationship with someone who doesn’t live here, in the best way possible – he’s moved here indefinitely! When life hands you (covid) lemons, it might just open a door you never would have considered!

  67. Laura says...

    Back in my day okcupid was the rage, and I probably went on 50 first dates from it before meeting my now husband. We started talking right after I’d had a string of guys ghost me after a short period- and even worse, a bunch of guys I was really into but who would never text first. I was so tired of people only responding if I reached out! My husband was immediately inquisitive and communicative, the difference being that he actually liked me and felt a connection! A lot of guys on dating apps are truly just looking to see if they can meet someone better or hotter, so you have to learn to tell the difference between someone who’s into you for who you are and someone who just wants to get in your pants and then move on. Don’t get discouraged! And I second the advice to leave info about your favorite things- my husband and I bonded over our shared obsession with 30 Rock and Radiohead.

  68. Emily says...

    I met my husband on match! And I agree with the variety of pictures, I ended up liking one of his pictures that was him in a goofy costume, and he messaged me, and we just got married two months ago. I was so nervous, not an outgoing person, but it was really worth putting myself out there.

  69. LM says...

    I work at Tinder (part of Match Group, which owns Hinge, OK Cupid, Match, others) and it is SO fun reading this post and the comments. We get success stories from users all.the.time and seriously, they are incredible.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      this is intriguing, tell us more! :D

  70. Lara says...

    I have so much advice! I online dated off and on for 5 years before meeting my partner 3 years ago (on OkCupid!).

    – finding a friend/friends who online date will help normalize it so much. It seemed weird at first but when I started a new job a bunch of my coworkers were doing it so we swapped stories and that was one of my favorite parts of online dating
    – the best advice I got was to not answer the “favorite tv shows/music/books” question. Basically, they were telling me to be specific about what really mattered to me and leave a little mystery with the rest (and grant your matches the same). Those are the little things that are easy to create a narrative about when you’re given so much little information, but actually don’t matter for long term relationships at all. Focus on your true dealbreakers and be flexible on the little things
    – on the flip side, you don’t have to give everyone a chance! If someone’s profile doesn’t excite you don’t guilt yourself into meeting them just because they seem nice
    – if you’re not interested, just don’t reply. At first that seemed rude to me, but I learned quickly there are enough toxic jerks out there to make it not worth it.
    – there were some periods when I online dated a lot and met a bunch of new people and some periods where I signed on rarely (or discontinued my account). I floated around different sites and found ones I liked and didn’t like. All of that is normal and okay! If you find yourself hating it, take a break!

    All told I met… I dunno, maybe 50? 100? very decent guys, went on second dates with maybe 10 of them, and met 2 great guys, one of whom I dated for 6 months and one who is the love of my life.

  71. Christa says...

    Only thing I’d add: For married/ethically non-monogamous folks looking to date I highly recommend Feeld. :)

    • Jean says...

      I feel like this topic needs its own post!!!

  72. Bea says...

    I’ve thought about the online dating thing on-and-off over the last two years post-divorce. I married my college boyfriend so never really had a “fun 20s” and at 30, I’m a single mom of a toddler with full custody.
    My reservations are mostly logistical. Being a full-time working mom, I simply don’t have time. And then if time DID suddenly manage to appear out of nowhere, how do you approach the “I’m a mom” thing? I don’t want strangers knowing I have a kid for fear they’ll try to get at her through me (I work in law enforcement; I’ve heard all the stories). And I can’t not say I’m a mom because it’s the most important part of who i am, nor do I want to be dishonest. So it’s at this point that I just freeze up.
    With COVID, I feel like I could maybe just get my feet wet and not disclose anything too important about my life, but I don’t think I really want that. I don’t want a relationship because I don’t have the mental or emotional space for one, and online dating seems like so much work and so many potential creeps to weed through.
    What I really want is just to flirt and, more than that, be flirted with. But with COVID and my other life constraints, I don’t think that’s anywhere on my horizon. Is it so much to ask for Hot Priest to show up at my door for a cup of something?

    • Ella says...

      Bea, I really feel this! I don’t have a kid, but I am really wary of a lot of the stories. Since I have an unusual name (using a different one here), I am always worried about people finding out too much about me. Using a fake name on a dating app does not seem like the right way to start a relationship, but I had a stalker for two years in my early 20s and — as much as I’d love to try online dating — I think this trend might not be for me. It’s hard to navigate dating outside the framework of apps these days for sure, though I do appreciate that covid might have made things slower….

    • Marte says...

      I would actually say that given your background in lawenforcement you are the perfect person to date while also being a parent (and being open about being a parent in your profile). You know to not ignore warning signs, you would be thoughtful about introducing a new partner….

      And, yes, there are awful people out there, but your sample is a bit skewed: in law enforcement, you will come across more bad people at all levels than average, because it is your job to find/convict the criminals. I am not a “not-all-men” person at all, but I do think it is absolutely safe to say that not all men are child abusers scouring the dating pool for single mothers so that they can get at the kids. But to really feel this, you will have to actively realize that what you come acros in your work is not the average population, and that is something that you have to actively work at/ put energy in. Because of course your mental model of the world is shaped by your everyday experiences, and in your case, those experiences more often show the worst of humanity.

      Time wise: first getting to know someone via zoom actually seems like something that fits within a single parent schedule. Once you find someone you click with, hiring a babysitter every once in a while to go on actual dates (once it is safe to meet up in person) is then also a better investment, I guess!

    • Cassandra Bradfield says...

      Bea,

      Many, many people sign up to these apps just to flirt. If that is what is within your bandwith right now, embrace it! Dating apps are a perfect venue for this low stakes kind of expression. Men are so often typecast as only wanted to progress physically rapidly, but I can assure you there are folks out there who are looking for the same thing as you. After all, who doesn’t like those initial butterflies of speaking to someone you think is someone cute? As someone who believes this sort of sexual and romantic expression goes so far beyond the physical, give yourself the permission to flirt without abandon, share as much as you feel comfortable, and take whatever time and space you need in this world. Good luck!

    • Ely says...

      It’s been a while since I’ve dated so take this with a grain of salt, but I’m also a mom of a little one so if I try to put myself in your shoes…what about something pretty close to what you’re saying here? “I a mom” shares a pretty big part of your identity but reveals nothing about age, gender or even quantity of kids, and “I am in law enforcement and have heard all the horror stories” helps explain why you wouldn’t want to share those details right away (plus could help scare off the bad ones).

    • Emily says...

      I’m in such a similar situation. I’d love it if Cup of Jo did a realistic piece on dating as a single mum. How on earth do you begin?!

    • T says...

      Uhh I want Hot Priest vibes so badly!

  73. Chandra says...

    I’ve online dated for many years now without much long term success but know many people who have met there forever person there, so good luck to everyone swiping for the first time or still trying. Also I’m hoping someone here is a product manager at LinkedIn, because hear me out, I think LinkedIn needs a complimentary dating app! The questions “are you employed gainfully and can someone vouch for you,” are really key considerations.

    • Sunny says...

      I actually work at LinkedIn, and unfortunately, lots of women get creepy dudes asking them out. We are avowedly NOT a site for dating. But, I think all of my friends who are actively dating definitely will scope out their dates’ profiles to see what they do for work, where they went to school and check out the profile pic. :)

    • Chandra says...

      Omg hi Sunny,

      This is why I love thr COJ community! So many diverse people all coming together reading and sharing their experiences. I have luckily never been approached on LI but completely understand the platform holding the line to remain a professional network.

  74. Lauren E. says...

    I met my husband on OKCupid ten years ago! I was so over dating guys who, two months in, would run scared of commitment so I was open on my dating profile and said I was looking for a relationship. That’s the beauty of online dating – you can be honest and if anyone is offput by your honesty, you never even know it!

  75. Jill says...

    Yes to you get what you pay for on the Apps and Don’t be afraid of rejection or looking stupid!!!! I met my husband 9 years ago on E-Harmony. I was doing my weekly “clean up” where I delete all the people I am not interested in, although we were matched by the app. I saw my now husband’s picture and thought he was really cute and then I read his profile (before I deleted him) but I thought we would get along. I was super annoyed he didn’t message me, it seemed obvious we were a match. So I messaged him “you’re cute” figuring he would just probably ignore me, as he must not have liked my photos. Within 30 min. he messaged me that he thought I was cute too and he hadn’t checked his matches this week bc he was swamped at work. We talked on the phone that night and met 2 days later. Within 6 months we were engaged and another 6 months we were married. If did was worried about being rejected we may never have met.

  76. Karin says...

    I met my now-husband on Match almost 5 years ago. My biggest takeaway was to not be afraid to go deep in your profile if that’s your style—mine read like a novella. I saw it as a weeding out feature. I didn’t get tons of messages, but I got the one that mattered! Also definitely let someone you trust review your profile. I thought it was great but when my sister took a look she saw that I had listed a lot of facts, but needed more about who I really am.

    Oh, and once you see potential, try to meet (or “meet” in COVID times) to make sure you click, before you have time to build up an idealized version of your match. This held true for me, but is also supported by some academic research (thanks, grad school).

    • Eve says...

      Haha, I also went deep in my profile and my messages were usually a mixture of “this is the best profile I have ever read” and “your profile was too long so I didn’t read it”! Definitely a good filtering tool!

  77. Zara says...

    My best advice is to free yourself of the idea that you have a “type.” Sure, some things are definite deal breakers, like gaping political chasms, someone who has four children when you are committed to being childfree, or…a history of murder. But I went into online dating with the “6 feet and over” filter selected, and never saw the profile of the man who would eventually become my husband. Luckily he found me because he was not as superficial as I was (urg). Release yourself from the IDEA of the person you’re meant to be with, and focus on meeting a range of people. You never know who you might click with.

    • Amy says...

      “… or a history of murder.” ahaha! Still waiting on that dating app filter.

  78. Brooke says...

    Okay…. does anyone else WISH they had experienced online dating? I’m in my late 20s and have been with my partner since before dating apps became popular. I’m sort of envious of the seemingly instant validation you might feel if someone matches with you!

    • Michelle says...

      Haha yes I know people feel this! Because my friends with partners were all very eager to help with my profile, listen to my stories and check out the profiles of my matches. If you have a friend who is actively dating maybe you can live vicariously through her and give her a sounding board too!

    • L says...

      To break the spell for you a bit- after being on any app for a week, I would say the instantaneous validation of a match is about as exciting as when you see your favorite snack in someone else’s cart at Trader Joe’s. For the companies that make these apps, the whole goal is to get people swiping on each other. It’s actually not that special (at least for me) to have that match when you get 10 matches a week, a day, or even an hour. I think for folks who don’t online date you imagine a whole app full of people of the type who turn your head on the subway or something.

      And (I say this with love not snark) I would say that the validation of a loving long term partnership seems WAY more fulfilling on this (single) side of the aisle, than a ton of random men I have no interest in swiping on me!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “the instantaneous validation of a match is about as exciting as when you see your favorite snack in someone else’s cart at Trader Joe’s” = hahahaha

    • Melissa says...

      L I think you explained this very well. I have many married friends who say this to me, and I find it extremely invalidating. Most people are not on these apps for fun, but rather because they want to get off. I think if you asked the majority of women (over a certain age perhaps), being single and resorting to dating apps is not the ideal situation. It is what it is, and they are a great way to meet people and expand your circle, but it is also can be emotionally difficult at times. There is no “instant validation” of matching with someone, or rather, it is quickly diminished as you recognize that many people match without looking at profiles, or don’t message, or don’t respond. Or initially respond and then stop. Matching is not predictive of anything.

      Anyway, I may feel alone in this but I wish more of my married friends were supportive of how rough it can be and didn’t minimize my experience or use my dating life as their source of entertainment.

    • J says...

      Melissa, for whatever it’s worth, I completely agree. Married friends/coworkers always want to hear stories that to them are fun but left me crying on the way home wondering if I will ever meet anyone. I know it’s not ill intentioned, but they remember dating with rose colored glasses (or a different perspective because they know their time as a single person eventually came to an end) and wouldn’t trade places with me. Putting yourself out there when there are no guarantees is really hard and I am giving you a random internet stranger hug :)

    • E says...

      You could always try Bumble BFF for an analogous experience. I haven’t online dated, but trying to make friends through Bumble during covid has given me a new respect and appreciation for what my single friends are going through….the good and the bad.

  79. Liz says...

    Any advice for me, COJ family? I’ve recently moved back to my very small and somewhat unprogressive hometown, and I’m now single with a toddler. I’d like to try online dating at some point, but I’m nervous I won’t find anyone in my area to connect with because it’s so sparsely populated and culturally different than what I’m looking for. I’ve never dated online before: can I meet people who don’t live near me? But if i do, what’s the point in that? Any suggestions or encouragement for me?

    • Em says...

      Liz, I have no specific advice; married for 10 years and didn’t meet through an online service. But having watched several girlfriends go through divorce and find love online (one 90 miles from home, the other 140), please know that things can work out. I moved 1700 miles to be with my husband (we knew each other before and reconnected). Don’t let geography stop you from at least taking a look at what’s out there. You might be surprised; perhaps someone just like you is around the corner having the same discussion with their own online family? #bestplacetocrywithstrangers #cojforlife #joeandjo2024 #drunktypingxoxo #hangintherebabe

    • Abbey says...

      Here’s some encouragement: try it! You really don’t know who you’ll meet and what will happen until you try it out. We each and all have our reasons to be nervous before online dating. Consider it an experiment. Consider the possibilities.
      Yes, you can meet people who don’t live near you. There might be a point. You never know what will unfold. In life, in general, you NEVER know. You gotta do the thing. K love ya bye <3

    • Jean says...

      Liz: If you’re the cultural outlier in an unprogressive small town, I bet there are others who share your beliefs but are afraid to speak up for the same isolating reasons. Stating your beliefs on a dating app might help identify those people who share similar views. And yes, if you connect they’ll definitely want to drive a distance to see you! Wonderful connections are soul enriching. So set your distance paramenter a bit farther out. Best of luck.

  80. Jen says...

    Today is the ninth year anniversary of me and my husband’s first date and we met online! My best advice is to be authentic, specific, and clear in your profile. You want to give a sense of who you are, not just a paragraph of generalities.

  81. AJ says...

    Go for it! I’ve been using dating apps for years and they’ve been great, and they’ve also driven me mad on many occasions! Goes with the territory but there are definitely lots of benefits, whether you want to have some fun, get back out there (lol – the 2020 pandemic version), or find true love/marriage/etc. Bottom line though – do what feels right and healthy for you. Nothing else matters. There’s no right or wrong – so long as it’s right for you. So trust your gut and be true to yourself. This isn’t advice (because advise is meaningless when it comes to someone else’s love life), it’s just sharing of insights based on how it’s been for me.

    Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way:

    – dating apps can be like going to a restaurant where the menu is just too big. It’s overwhelming and impossible to make a choice and you keep going back for another look, just in case you missed something else you fancy trying (or to line up back-up options in case dish one doesn’t work out). Too many options isn’t always a good thing!

    – Apps are designed to be addictive. If you’re someone who gets hooked on the buzz of a new match or message, your brain may find it tricky to distinguish between genuine interest and basic dopamine rush. Boundaries can help with this, switching off notifications, and trying to avoid riding a rollercoaster every time you’re waiting for someone to reply. (But hello, we’re not robots, we all ride those waves!) Just being a bit more aware of that can be helpful.

    – As said by someone above, it’s really annoying when people use ancient photos! Isn’t it better to be pleasantly surprised rather than a bit deflated when you eventually meet? Being comfortable with your age is way more attractive too.

    – If promising matches don’t happen instantly, that’s really ok. If it’s your first time on apps and you find the initial weeks overwhelming and disheartening, rest assured that’s totally normal!

    – Don’t obsess over profiles and needing to have everything in common. If you met someone in a bar and thought, ‘Ooh, cute smile and friendly vibe’, you’d happily chat to them. Who knows what spark might follow… You wouldn’t demand they list their star sign/whether they want kids/best one-liners and favourite author before agreeing to speak to them. Profiles barely scratch the surface – and in my experience, my impressions from someone’s profile NEVER matches up with who they turn out to be! Maybe I’m just really bad at it 🤣🤣 At the same time, don’t feel you have to give everyone a chance either. If you’re not feeling it, hold fire – you 100% deserve to date someone fabulous/you really like.

    – Have fun :)

  82. J says...

    My only tip is to not play the online dating “game.” As in, if someone doesn’t message you back within whatever time frame you’ve decided is appropriate, don’t just ghost them. I met my now husband on an app — we matched, he messaged me, I didn’t see it for 3 WHOLE DAYS (being the online dating jaded person that I was, I just wasn’t checking it) I responded thinking, “I missed my chance, I will never hear from this person again.” He messaged me back within the hour, with his phone number. We got married almost exactly a year later. I still can’t believe he forgave me for leaving him hanging for 3 days.

    I guess also, after years of doing the online thing, you get to know what you are looking for, for real. People kept telling me I needed to lower my standards, expand my parameters, etc etc. I did expand my parameters and I started to be more relaxed about everything. I went on first “dates” with a lot of guys who I wasn’t 100% sure about/into from just texting. I think you can tell right away in person if its going to work or if you are going to have to try to force it. I always try to get the blind date “interview” over with as soon as possible so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted a bunch of time being pen-pals.

    • AJ says...

      Oh yes, also this! The pen pal trap is a biggie.

    • Lara says...

      Yes to expanding your parameters without lowering your standards!!!

  83. Sissy says...

    I gotta say…. I am having the reverse desire during covid — absolutely no desire to date / meet someone let alone set up a dating profile in a pandemic. It is such a nice time to not have to think about anyone else, no worries, no insecurities, no planning ahead, no wondering, no emotional upheavals, just doing what *I* want to do whenever I want to do it in the slivers of time and space available between perma-Zoom-work and covid restrictions (I am taking the pandemic v seriously). I also LOVE to flirt and get dressed up and be a *little* reckless and I would seriously feel a little cheated if I found my Person on an app during covid, and would thus never get another chance to get a little Silly and bounce around a bar/club/party once covid is over. I’m just hibernating for now, indulging myself, and then I’ll Enjoy Myself irl when it is safe again. I feel like covid-times are good for dating for people who are ready to Settle Down, but a bit of a waste of time who are still Having Fun.

    • AJ says...

      That’s really cool :)

      I think there’s a lot of truth in this. I’ve had lots of fun and exploration then had a total dating break at the end of last year, which was sort of prep for taking a different approach/clearing space to actually find something longer lasting. And oddly the pandemic has turned out to really help with that, in many ways. It’s meant more focus and clarity and patience.

      We’re all on our own timeline and indulging you is a wonderful thing :) hope you do get to bounce around those bars in the not too distant future though x

  84. Sadie says...

    If you only get a short profile like Tinder ask a friend to take the first stab at it (or maybe even your dad if he is witty).

    • Rachel says...

      Love the dad idea! Even if I didn’t use what he wrote, I’d love to see what he’d say! Ha!

  85. Tess says...

    Online dating can be exhausting and it’s hard to put yourself out there, but completely worth it. I met my boyfriend on Hinge two and a half years ago. Our paths would have never crossed otherwise. My two rules that helped me retain my energy and continue to put myself out there when I was discouraged. One, set up one date a week. That’s it. You don’t have to go crazy. Two, make sure the date is something you really want to do. A yoga class you love, meeting up at the coffee shop w/ the your favorite chai and going for a walk, or a new restaurant you want to check out. You got this!

    • Em says...

      These are great tips. Thank you!

  86. Calla says...

    I have been online dating for years and feel pretty strongly about how to shape a good profile. The most important thing to remember is that you are NOT trying to impress someone. Making a point of having been to a lot of countries, speaking another language, and being great at skiing are not as engaging as you think.

    The profiles I am most drawn to are the ones where the person looks happy and like they are having a good time (as opposed to brooding black and white portraits). I want to be around happy people. Ditto prompts, really take the time to showcase an aspect of your personality rather than list trivia. Some of my favorites to read are people’s irrational fears and simple pleasures.

  87. Katie says...

    I met my husband on Match! And my number one tip is that if you’re looking for something long term, write a profile that is uniquely you. It’s easy to fall in the trap of writing a profile that will seem appealing to many people (I work hard and play hard, I like to travel and also like to stay at home, I like sushi and pizza, etc). But you don’t want everyone to like you—you just want one great person (or maybe a couple of people!) to like you. So make a joke about Battlestar Galactica or quote your favorite band or talk about the books you’re reading. 10/10 would rather go on a date with an interesting person than someone who looks good in pictures but has no differentiating qualities.

    • Catherine says...

      Such a great comment!

  88. Ashley says...

    Have standards, but also be open. I was on okcupid for a while and some guy messaged me and at first I was like 68% match? No way. But then I was like, it’s one date, why not? Turned out to be the best first date ever, and we’ve been married for two years, together for 6.

    • Julie M. says...

      Love it and agree. I was a little leery of my match’s profile pic, but…11 years, a dog, a house, and 2 kids later I’m so glad I took a chance! For those curious, he was wearing two collared shirts in that photo.

    • Em says...

      Hahaha Julie – two collared shirts was a lewwwk 11 years ago! Well done for giving him a chance :)

  89. Daisy says...

    I was taking a break from dating prior to the start of the pandemic, but had begun feeling the pull to get back out there just as lockdowns/social distancing first took place. The feeling’s again starting to flutter back into my mind, but as someone with chronic illness, I’m still being extra cautious especially as I live with others who are high risk. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with dating in person until there’s a vaccine/effective treatment, to which begs the question: What’s the point? I’m wondering if anyone here is in a similar boat and if so, 1) Are you dating or waiting? (Pardon the rhyme haha) 2) Have you found any resistance from prospective dates about dating only virtually? 3) If not, what kind of activities have you come up with other than simply FaceTime-ing or doing a Netflix Watch Party? Appreciate any ideas/strategies/general musings this lovely community has on the matter <3

    • Grace says...

      I’m also on team what’s the point, especially since the weather is changing, and I’ll be inside all the time. Sigh.

  90. Melody says...

    My husband and I met on Hinge. My best advice– be picky! Don’t talk yourself into swiping on someone because you feel like you *should*. There’s no worse feeling than heading to a first date full of dread!

  91. Kate says...

    I met my now husband online! Nothing about our story is “traditional” but it’s our story! We met online, got married during a pandemic – anything goes! Right before we met, I was so exhausted by online dating but also so alone. After a few too many glasses of wine one night, my mom convinced me to do a “photo shoot” with our family dog for my new dating app profile picture. I had no makeup on, but I was in my happy place, with my happy people, and it showed. It caught the attention of my now husband. And we just welcomed our own puppy to our new family 2 weeks ago!

    It’s hard, it’s exhausting, but it’s worth it. Use your support group – they want to hear the good and the bad! And don’t judge a book by it’s cover. You never know what your next love will look like.

  92. E says...

    Agree totally with asking friends for help and giving people more than one date! I didn’t like my partner on our first date (who I met on a dating app), and now we’re engaged and buying our first home!

  93. Nicole says...

    I love this so much! I met my boyfriend on Bumble at what now seems like the beginning of COVID restrictions, but was really the end of May. We chatted via the app for a few days and then had a video chat date right through the app! We then had another…and another… and another… within a week, before we made plans to meet in person (we were both being extra careful re: pandemic stuff because we are both high-risk). It’s been just over 5 months, and while still new (and I don’t want to jinx it), he’s the best partner I could have ever accidentally-purposefully found. We’re even both from the same hometown, went to the same camp as kids at the same time, and have several mutual acquaintances. (We wouldn’t had met if he hadn’t temporarily moved back in with his parents during COVID because of aforementioned high-risk health concerns). I fit in with his family immediately and love them all so much. It’s been 5 months but sometimes feels like 2 years in all of the best of ways. He loves, supports, and encourages me to be the best version of myself and I could clearly go on forever……

    Anyways, I loved Bumble because of its ability to let you know potential deal breakers about the other person: Do they smoke? Do they prefer cats or dogs? What are their political views? Religious views? What’s their sign? I found this super helpful after being newly separated and back in the dating scene after 15 years (at 30). I have a handful of video dates and lots of conversations with people, and even met two other people in person, but I think the key is just being open and receptive–the stakes are so low when things are online, and while that can be challenging, it is also so freeing (especially when you’re someone who is fairly shy and would have a difficult time meeting people IRL). Have so much fun!

    PS. We were talking about our profiles and he told me that he wasn’t really sure about my body type because I included a full-body shot from rather far away versus a regular full length body shot (maybe with a friend or something). Apparently this is important for men (although to be fair, he did share a few of him in his profile–clearly he thought much more about his profile than I did mine). I would also suggest including fairly natural photos rather than photos when you look your best– that way, it’s a nice surprise when you do clean up for a date IRL.!

    • Lisa says...

      I have almost the same story! I met my boyfriend on Bumble at the end of May. I swore I’d “never” online date, and I doubled down when my therapist made a friendly suggestion that online dating may be a good way for me to practice some things we had spent working on in the aftermath of a crushing breakup. But then–I did it. I figured the pandemic was actually the “safest” time to online date because there necessarily had to be some boundaries/parameters, including physical distance during those first meetings!

      The first date I went on was with my now-boyfriend. We discussed in advance wearing masks (this was pre-widespread mask wearing), distancing, etc. And I was so shocked when he walked up to me and gave me a hug (he’s European, so not actually surprising). No one had hugged me in months and I was taken aback but it felt nice. Fast forward and we’re now happily ensconced, living life together as partners. He is the best partner I could have asked for, and this is easily the healthiest relationship I’ve been in (I’m 30, for reference). The vast majority of the time I forget we even met on Bumble. The app is the vehicle to introduce you, but after that, you do all the organic work of forming a relationship.

      And hey, if it doesn’t work out, at least swiping through some of these profiles can be PRETTY entertaining. My married/partnered friends loved hearing stories. :)

  94. Gracie says...

    Here’s my story about giving people a chance…

    For years I’d been on and off dating apps. I felt like I had a pretty good system of how to sort through the duds. One day I matched with an accountant who looked cute and kind, but his bio wasn’t particularly interesting. And I’ll admit his first message to me was a little strange. It was a verrry long message about what he was looking for and why he swiped on me. It felt like too much self-disclosure too early. I’m used to openers that are just a sentence or two, with some subtle clever wit sprinkled in. I typically would have written him off, but something in me told me to go out with him anyway.

    I’m forever grateful I did! It turns out it was his first time on a dating app and he had no idea of how to navigate the dating app culture (hence the lame bio and oddly long message). We ended up having a fantastic first date, full of laughter and great conversation. He deleted his profile that night and decided to be fully invested to see where things would go. I’d never had someone do that before. It’s still a little odd to me haha… but we went on the most fun and unique dates and he made me feel so special.

    We dated for about a year and got married this past summer (both in our mid 30’s). He’s the whole enchilada: smart, hot, kind, driven, funny, loves my family, interesting hobbies, the whole bit. Don’t settle!

    Online dating doesn’t have to be a numbers game. Sometimes it sucks and is exhausting. But sometimes you get lucky and find someone great. Keep your heart open, and love will find a way in :)

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      That’s sweet Gracie! I actually think from dating online briefly myself and watching so many friends do it – people have a flurry of being really invested right at the beginning of using apps and then fairly quickly become jaded and put in very low effort, seems like most of the time when there’s a match one or both people are fresh to the scene.

  95. Becca says...

    Oooh can we please do a post on the worst dates we’ve been on?!

    • Britt says...

      I second this! I have some good ones 🤣

  96. miranda says...

    Just wondering… How many of these women quoted above actually found a life partner from a dating app? I think it would be more helpful to get tips from them… the above tips seem really “Just have fun” rather than strategic.

    • SR says...

      is the act of finding a life partner absent of fun?

    • Lara says...

      I have! I thought Data: A Love Story was a good book about actual strategies for online dating. It encouraged me to be very clear in what I was looking for and to stop accidentally prioritizing more superficial things that don’t truly matter in both my profile and when looking at matches.

    • Laura says...

      I met my husband on Okcupid! I left a comment about learning to tell the difference between people who are genuinely into you vs just wanting to hook up with anyone who shows interest. That was my biggest struggle with online dating.

  97. CHEERS to appreciating the humor! Some of my fondest memories are doing “morning swipe rounds” with my office mate, laughing at who I had been paired with (let’s just say…slim pickin’s) and the curious things people put in their profiles. Yes, online dating can be intimidating and overwhelming (I personally found it exhausting to be on too many apps at once), but it’s also hilarious in a messy, “human” way.

    P.S. — my current boyfriend of over a year was a Match find. ;)

  98. Summer says...

    I met my wife on bumble! My tip for any queer ladies: don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate conversation, ask people out on dates, etc. Women are so conditioned to wait for someone to make a move on them that it can make queer lady dating super hard! Both people can end up waiting super long for the other one to express interest. My friend gave me this exact advice, and I ended up being the one to initiate the chat, ask out, and eventually propose to my wife :) Putting yourself out there is nerve wracking but so worth it!

  99. June says...

    I met my husband on OKCupid in back in 2013! Online dating was not quite as universally accepted as it is today. In fact, I remember telling a few friends that we’d met at a Chipotle… no idea why I couldn’t come up with a better fake meet-cute than that, haha!

    • Laura says...

      lol I met my husband on OKC in 2014 and was similarly ashamed- I think my parents still believe we met through a mutual friend…

  100. Danielle says...

    I live on a small island and the dating scene is very challenging! It’s hard to go out with someone that you don’t already have a mutual connection/friend with, and many times you even know (or at the very least know some someone who know’s) their last partner.

    Online dating apps feel strange here because you already know everyone on them.

    Any tips? We’re lucky to be covid-free and go to bars, restaurants, etc. However, there is no tourism, so anyone that would have been visiting the island (and increasing the dating pool), is no longer coming. Worse yet, covid has caused many people to lose their jobs, and subsequently their work permits, so the population is even lower than before.

    • Marina says...

      Just curious – where do you live?

      I lived for a while on a small island, so can relate to what you are saying …

    • Danielle says...

      Hey Marina,

      It is a small island in the Western Caribbean. Because it is small, I would rather not say haha

  101. Liz says...

    I met both my ex-husband and current husband on Match.com. Also every friend I have met their partners on a dating site. I have done A LOT of online dating.

    Tip 1:
    You get what you pay for. Use a pay site, like Match.

    Tip 2:
    It’s a numbers game. Just like with job interviews, it takes a lot of emails, intro conversations, first dates, etc to find something that fits.

    Tip 3:
    You are essentially setting yourself up on a blind date. That is all. It only has to last 40 minutes/one drink. It’s not a commitment.

    Tip 4:
    You’ll start out with a cutesy profile about all the amazing travels you’ve done and the quirky things you like. That is fine. But you’ll find that over the months and years of online dating your profile will get more real, and you’ll get more real about what you put up with from potential matches. By the end if a guy couldn’t respond to me within 24 hours, I was over it. You’re either invested or you’re not.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      GREAT tips. thank you, liz!