By Erika Ettin
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From boring conversation starters to “too much Texting”, dating expert Erika Ettin shows why that dating app may not be working for you.
Tribune News Service
Many people have said to themselves (or to everyone around them!), “These dating apps just don’t work.”
Have you said that?
When we delve into why the dating apps “don’t work,” it turns out that you may be committing one of the 10 mistakes I’m about to share. They aren’t rules, but rather tried and tested methods that work. Most of these mistakes are surprisingly simple. Let’s see how many you’re guilty of making.
–– Not writing a profile. Writing nothing makes you appear either lazy or like you’re not invested in the process of meeting someone. Neither is an appealing look. Regardless of how attractive you are in your photos, if you haven’t written a single word, then people have no idea what you’re even doing there. It doesn’t take much. I recommend 20 to 40 words on a dating app like Tinder or Bumble. What should you say? What you do for a living, a few fun facts about yourself, some random skills, a favorite food, where you’ve lived –– anything that might set you apart.
–– Too many pictures. Just because a dating site allows you to upload a certain number of photos doesn’t mean you have to. Four or five is the optimal number because people have a tendency to find one photo they don’t like and not swipe right or write to you because of it. Let’s not let that happen.
–– Group shots and pictures with others
Don’t do it. You’ll be compared with your friends. You’ll be dismissed because people don’t want to play Where’s Waldo. People want to see the person who is going to show up on the date. Period. No “social proof” that you have friends is needed. Just make sure they’re not all selfies. Then people wonder.
–– A first photo that doesn’t show what you look like. It’s too far away, it’s the side of your head, you’re with friends, you’re blurry. You’re making it difficult for someone to figure out who you are. People make snap decisions, so don’t make it harder for them.
–– No full-body photo. With no full-body picture, people jump to conclusions. And those conclusions are generally not favorable. Don’t let people fill in the blanks with their own assumptions.
–– No interesting photos. No need to have photos of you at Machu Picchu or running a marathon, but you should still put up a photo of you doing something interesting. This just makes things easier for the person matching with you because it will generate questions. Especially on Bumble where the woman has to write first, I recommend a photo that she can ask a question about. I call that “message bait.” For example, if you do public speaking, add a photo of you at a microphone. People can ask where/why you’re speaking.
–– Boring conversation starters. If the person has given you something in their profile to reference, either that message bait picture, or something interesting written, just ask a question about it. For example, if someone has a picture of him or herself playing soccer, you can ask if they play in a league or if they’re a fan of any particular team. This is much easier than answering “hey, how are you,” 20 times a day. If they’ve really given you nothing to go on, then you have to get creative and think outside the box.
–– No momentum.
When you match with someone, try to arrange a date within a week. People are busy, so don’t lose momentum. Ultimately, the apps are just a tool for meeting people, so get to the “meeting” part sooner rather than later.
–– Too much texting.
I call texting “the death of the first date” for a reason. Often, if you text too much, a date never comes to fruition because of a lack of momentum or someone saying something that may be misconstrued. If you’re texting too much, where’s the urgency to meet? There’s no substitute for meeting in person to see if there’s chemistry.
–– Keeping a backlog of matches you haven’t talked to.
Some people see collecting matches on dating apps as some kind of game. But really, there’s no point in having matches you never speak to. They just take up space.
If you match with someone and then think they’re not for you, you should simply un-match them. I’m a fan of a clean inbox in general, and in life. Same thing with the dating apps. If you have too many matches in there, it means you may open the app, see all this stuff you don’t want to reply to, and close it. So try to keep it only to people you’re actively communicating with.
(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.)