Learning how to use dating apps in a healthy way in 2018 means adjusting your intentions, understanding and your approach.
1. Adjust your intentions – Use the apps to “meet lots of people”
A new study published in the Journal Psychological Science indicates that matching with somebody on an app like Tinder does not “translate to a love connection in real life”. Although we do not necessarily need Science to tell us this, let’s use this fact to re-evaluate what dating apps do offer.
Dating apps offer an incredible opportunity to meet lots and lots of attractive people and to people who you otherwise would not have met. So, use them for this reason.
Aim to have a drink or a coffee with lots of people. Expect not to be “find a connection” with most of them in real life. Then if you do find that, this is a bonus.
It’s a misnomer that they call these things “dating services.” They should be called “introducing services.”
Anthropologist, Match.com Helen Fisher
2. Adjust your understanding – Understand how the process works
A number of studies link online dating to the lowering of self-esteem. According to a presenter of one piece of research:
As a result of how the app works and what it requires of its users, people who are on Tinder after a while may begin to feel depersonalized and disposable in their social interactions, develop heightened awareness (and criticism) of their looks and bodies and believe that there is always something better around the corner, or rather with the next swipe of their screen, even while questioning their own worth.
American Psycological Association
It is important to understand how the process works. If you write to somebody, do not expect a reply. If somebody writes to you, you do not need to reply. If things do go further and you do get chatting to somebody, expect that one of you may abandon the conversation at a certain point.
Keep in mind that in a world of endless dating prospects, this behaviour is completely normal. “Ghosting” is when one party abandons the interaction without explanation and this can happen before or after meeting.
You need to approach dating apps with healthy expectations. Expect to “ghost” a lot. But do expect the same back to you.
3. Adjust your approach – Take it slower
A study published in Sciences Advances two weeks ago found that online daters “tend to pursue people 25% more desirable than themselves”. Desirability was uncovered by using the algorithm to assess their popularity on the dating app.
It is important to acknowledge that pursuing only the most popular daters may mean that it will be be more challenging for you to get too far.
The US Association of Psychological Science found that reviewing multiple candidates causes people to be more judgemental, and more inclined to dismiss a not-quite-perfect candidate than they would otherwise in a face to face meeting.
Take it slower and try to filter less aggressively. Check out more than one photo. Read their bio. Take a second look & give them a chance.
4. Finally, Take a break when you need to
A study has indicated that those who displayed addictive behaviours were the most likely to have their mental health negatively affected.
Give yourself a daily time-limit on the app. Also ensure that you give lots of time in your life to other healthy activities, such as exercise & real-life social interaction.
If you do find it all too much, and find yourself feeling disheartened or overwhelmed, log off and give yourself some time out. Treat yourself, go see a film or book a massage! Nothing better than some quality “me-time” to get your mental health back on track.
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