Ah online dating. A world of stale chat, mixed signals and dodgy dick pics. Okay so I’m being a bit cynical there – I know lots of people who have had online dating successes. I’m yet to be one of those lucky people, so as I still wade my way through this stream of sexual innuendos, crap chat up lines and cryptic messages, I thought I’d write a little post all about my experiences and some advice that I’d wish I’d had at the start when I first downloaded the apps.
First off, it’s SO easy to become someone you’re not when online. We see it all over social media anyway, people living their best lives on Instagram, being perceived as having it all together and being 100% happy. Well, we have to remember that it’s not reality, it’s just a perception after all. A snippet of someone’s life cannot be an accurate representation of everything that goes on behind the scenes. The same applies to online dating. Fake profiles, limited information, facetuned photos. You can be this confident, bold and exaggerated version of yourself on your online dating profile, behind a screen, tapping out things on your keyboard that you’d never say to someone’s face in real life. This is why I try and keep it real. My bio, my pictures and my tone of voice in messages – I want them to convey the real Tiff. It’s always nice to showcase your best pictures all dolled up, but what about a nice natural one? Or a picture of you doing something fun and different? I get it, it is hard to feel comfortable doing that when apps like Tinder and Bumble are like a game where you swipe based on appearance. But I truly believe the more real you are, it’ll shine through and be waaay better in the long run.
I’ve had some great dates from these apps, met people that I otherwise wouldn’t have. And three of my best friends met their other halves on a dating app. It works, it’s a great way to connect people in an otherwise very busy world, where people don’t have time for pub introductions and striking up a conversation in the supermarket with a stranger.
Saying that, I have also written a post all about how exasperating and frustrating online dating can be HERE. Go have a read as you may have experienced some of the things I cover in the post. I’ve had people not look like their pictures when we meet, been stood up, had jewellery bought for me, been ghosted an hour before we planned to meet, had to deal with obsessive stalker-ish behaviour and one guy thought it a good idea to say I had a lisp on our first (and only may I add) date (FYI, I don’t think I do have a speech impediment buy hey, he did).
So following on from that, I just wanted to share my top tips for staying safe, strong and positive when going through the online dating process! It can be so easy to lose faith, take offence and get down when things don’t end up as you’d like, but you’ve just got to dust yourself off and get back out there if you want to find your person 🙂 so here goes…
You don’t have to reply to anyone if you don’t want to (and vice versa).
If that first message from someone does nothing for you, you are not inclined to reply. End of. You don’t owe a stranger anything. Remember that. This is the same if you message someone first and you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. Sadly, that’s life.
Ghosting happens. It means they’re not right for you.
This can happen at any point. You may exchange a few brief messages and they never reply to your latest one. You may meet them a few times and they never arrange to see you again. It’s shit, but it says more about that person than it does you. Never think you have done anything wrong. If that person isn’t able to tell you that they’re not feeling it any more, it’s their loss. Delete, un-match and move on!
If you’re not getting the effort reciprocated, chances are they’re not right for you.
I think showing effort and interest is one of the most attractive traits. If someone wants to get to know you, they will make the effort to message or call. Don’t put up with anything less than you deserve. If you feel like they don’t message enough, it’s probably because they’re not as invested in you, which ultimately isn’t fair and not worth you wasting your time on.
Always let at least one person know who you’re meeting.
Going on a near-enough blind date with someone is a scary thing which is why it’s always good to let atleast one of your friends know where you’re going, the name of the person you’re meeting and timings. If your date goes to the loo, send a reassuring text to your friend to let them know it’s all okay.
If you go on a date, it’s 100% okay to leave.
Luckily this has never happened to me. But if you are offended/unsure/feel uneasy, get yourself out of there and excuse yourself. Chances are you can go to the bar and hang out there whilst you call a taxi or get a friend to pick you up. (Kind of linked to above – it’s always good to have your go-to mate that can rescue you from a bad situation!).
One thing I always try to be is honest on these dating sites. When asked what I’m looking for, I’m always clear with my intentions. I try and choose pictures which showcase me and my personality properly and always take time and effort to write a detailed few lines on my bio. It’s all about putting in what you want to get out.
Don’t let the douchebags get you down.
There will always be that person that wants to get you onto Whatsapp straight away, that one that wants nudes asap or be sleazy and nasty if they don’t get their way. Sometimes people cannot handle rejection well, which is normally where unkind words come from. Don’t even absorb this trash talk. Unmatch, report them to the app and block. Abuse from a stranger is unacceptable and we don’t have to tolerate it.
Report any problems to the app.
I have tweeted abusive messages that I’ve received before to the relevant app accounts on Twitter and sadly, only Bumble have ever replied and actioned an issue I had. Even so, keep reporting, tweeting and taking note of any horrible/weird messages or incidents and the app should take action.
There we go! Some quickfire tips to staying safe online and getting the most out of it. You’ll have good and bad conversations, some that lead to dates and some that don’t. It’s never simple, but if we can stay safe and happy whilst going through this process, hopefully things will turn out okay in the end! 🙂
With love (and hoping to one day find it)