At our very core, all of us desire connection. Whether it's a night on the town with a new romantic friend, or looking for a long-term committed relationship, online dating has come onto the romantic scene with a fury. Swipe left, swipe right. It couldn't be easier, right? However, that's not what people are saying. If anything, it's the opposite. It's taxing, time consuming and often times, doesn't yield what we want. Here are four tips that can help make the process a little easier and perhaps create a more desired outcome.
Tip #1: Get clear about what you’re looking for
Are you wanting to meet a long term partner? Looking for something more casual? Great. The key is to know for yourself what it is that you’re wanting to get out of the process of dating at any given time and to be able to state that directly in dating contexts.
Tip #2: Use your energy wisely
Endless back and forth online conversation or texts can only tell you so much about a person. Exchange a few messages and then figure out a way to connect in person if it feels like it could be a good fit. Also, falling too quickly into messaging and texting that is more appropriate for a relationship (i.e How was your day?) can create the sense of a false intimacy that doesn’t yet exist, which can create confusion about how you might feel about someone.
Tip #3: Be open
Dating is stressful and often makes people nervous and may cause them to act differently then they might otherwise. Know that it’s possible that someone you are on a date with will likely have many more facets of their personality and more depth than might be readily apparent on a first date.
Tip #4: Don’t ghost
It’s perfectly okay to not connect with and like someone in a dating situation. It’s important to know for yourself when this is the case and to communicate this so there is no ambiguity. In your own words, create something that you can say when this happens. It could be something along the lines of “I just don’t feel a romantic connection” or “I just don’t think we are a good fit.”
- Liz Hayman, MFT, is a relationship and individual therapist in San Francisco, CA