The 10 Best Ways to Use Dating Apps and Become a Better Communicator in the Process
Dating apps are not only the most popular way for people to date in 2018, but they also help you work on crafting better dating skills, communication and self-awareness.
I have all of my single, open and poly patients on dating apps. The beauty of these apps is that they give you access to a multitude of people you wouldn’t typically encounter, the ability to court and flirt from your couch and the potential for partnership and sex for those who travel or have overloaded work schedules.
Dating apps are also for those serious about relationships and dating, but a few tips will help you better navigate what can feel like an overwhelming or exhausting process at times.
Here are the 10 best ways to use dating apps:
1. Be authentic.
Dating is about being known and assessing compatibility; it’s not about doing whatever you can to be liked and “get the guy.” You are starting off dating in a manipulative and dishonest way if you shape who you are, how you present yourself and how you discuss your life based on who you think your date wants you to be.
Dating is often about learning that you are not a match, and that’s OK. Be honest, and date as yourself.
2. Don’t have an ego list.
Many daters post exhaustive laundry lists of what they are looking for in a partner on dating apps. This is your ego and anxiety talking, and also how you stay single. Post broad desires, and stay open. Studies also show that these lists and stated needs become nullified if all parties are attracted to each other.
Those truly serious about relationships are open to the idea that love can come in an unexpected height, weight or gender expression, and that a set of good abs doesn’t promise a lifetime of partnered happiness.
3. Get on the phone before meeting.
This is one of the best ways to assess compatibility and interest. Hearing their voice, how they engage you and how much chemistry there seems to be will help you in deciding if there is interest in more time together and moving forward.
I have all my patients doing this, and it leads to either more interest or the cancelling of a date. This has saved many from having to suffer through a dinner with someone they have nothing in common with and whose company they do not enjoy.
4. Creep on their social media.
People are marketing themselves with what they post on their social media. They are showing what is important to them, their value system and how they spend their time. Their social media is a reflection of their psyche and politics.
5. Meet as soon as possible.
Messaging through dating apps only can allow for a fantasy to be created of who that person is, and for a full-on relationship to develop without having ever met to assess full compatibility and chemistry. Having a lot to talk about and enjoying each others’ text company does not promise sexual or romantic compatibility and may actually mean you are best suited as friends.
If interested, be assertive and plan a date as soon as possible.
6. Discuss sex.
Talking about sexuality is a powerful form of getting to know a very important part of someone. Yes, discussing sex is a sign of being interested in a relationship and does mean someone is serious about intimacy building, because sex is part of dating.
Please don’t think that because you are attracted to each other that sexual compatibility and chemistry just shows up. Have no shame in asking about sexual preferences, kinks or preferred relational styles to assess compatibility, because of how serious you are about long-term commitment and partnership.
7. See everything as a starting point.
Potential mates and dates can only project what type of future they want based on how they feel and who they are while sitting on the couch, single and unaware of who they may be once in love. Those never wanting kids or a dog, lacking any interest in moving to the burbs or not wanting to date someone long distance can become those exact people once in love in a healthy relationship.
You meet people where they currently are at, impacted by the traumas of their last relationship, and you cannot know who they will grow to become. Stay open.
8. Show interest.
Interested people like signs of interest. They will be happy you asked them out again quickly or texted immediately. Remember, be authentic and don’t play games or use manipulative tactics. Seek true desire instead, which is outside of your control and unrelated to how long you wait to text.
I personally like a lot of attention, intimacy and closeness, and seek others who are similar. Text and make plans as soon and as often as is authentic for you.
9. Unfollow after.
This is troublesome for some to hear, but after you match and exchange numbers, quit following them on dating apps. Neither of you have the need to know if or when they have been back online, which adds needless confusion and anxiety.
Tell your match you are doing this, and why. Until commitment, exclusivity and possible monogamy, neither of you have the right or the need to know each others’ dating habits.
10. Take a break.
Burnout from dating apps is a real thing and can seriously impact your mood and self-esteem. If you are not having fun or feeling good on dating apps, take a break from them. They’re meant to add joy to your life, not misery. Boredom, frustration and aggression are signs you have “dating app burnout.”
Dr. Chris Donaghue is a lecturer, therapist and host of the LoveLine podcast, a weekly expert on The Amber Rose Show, and a frequent co-host on TV series The Doctors. He authored Sex Outside the Lines and has been published in various journals and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek and National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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