April 20, 2024

Why is it so difficult to get a date using a dating app nowadays?

W.When I was 28, around 2015, dating apps were fun. It’s not as fun as being in a real relationship, obviously, but it’s more fun than sitting home alone on a Friday night. And really, you never had to do the latter, not if you didn’t want to. You could simply spend 10 minutes browsing Tinder, make a few matches, send a couple of messages, and boom: you’ve secured yourself drinks for the weekend. Without messing up without problems.

You could even turn it into a game if you were out with your friends and so desired, enlisting their help as you scrolled through the endless catalog of potential suitors to decide whether it would be a thumbs up or thumbs down, like a Roman emperor evaluating gladiator warriors and deciding whether their destiny was to live or die.

It’s not that the dates themselves were wonderful: I’ll never forget the guy who put his hand on my knee three minutes later while looking deep into my eyes and said, “I think we both know why.” Are you here”. But the thing is, it wasn’t hard to get one. You weren’t forced to endure an overwhelming amount of date-min just to secure an in-person date, unlike in 2024.

I got back on apps, or the “dreaded apps” as many singles have started calling them, in early December of last year. Now, there’s a difference between reluctantly reanimating the corpse of your previously inert profile and proactively throwing yourself back into the pool. I must emphasize that I did the latter: I decided I was ready to find a long-term partner, and the only way to do that was to invest time and energy in the process.

Primarily on Hinge, I spent whatever free time I had perusing profiles and liking or matching as many of them as seemed vaguely suitable. Being a cishet woman, once a match was made, I usually gave it a day to see if they messaged first (the thrill of the chase and all) and, if not, I bravely worked out my own initial tactic.

And I really mean “craft”, not to me the start of the lazy woman saying “how are you?” or, worse yet, she just “heys.” She would look at a potential client’s profile and try to ask something specific: “I’ll bite: Is that your dog?”; “How strange to find a man who knows the superiority of Sancerre!”; and even “You’re giving me Jonathan Creek vibes with that duffle coat and curls combo. Do you also live in a windmill and solve crimes through the power of magic? It’s a desperately specific niche in early posts, but I can’t emphasize enough how little most of these guys gave me to work with.

Will dating app culture break in 2024?


Beneath the profile “prompts” (conversation starters designed to reveal interesting details about oneself) men had written such revealing responses as “Dating me is like… Dating me” and “The best way to ask me out is… asking ”. Get me out.” Enlightening things.

After spending a significant amount of my time on this nonsense for almost eight weeks, do you know how many people I’ve gotten an in-person date with? Two. Both men were absolutely charming, although they felt more like friendly connections than romantic ones. But I felt very bad; Surely the great effort I put in should have translated into a higher success rate. So is it my dating profile and messaging game that’s down, or has dating app culture simply broken?

If you leave it for a few days before responding, the other person feels a lack of interest. Momentum is key

Hayley Quinn

To find out, I sent my Hinge profile to dating coach Hayley Quinn for analysis, a much more daunting prospect than allowing large numbers of strangers to view it online. I shudder to see it through an expert’s eyes: the self-conscious selfies, the jokes that try too hard to be funny. What will she do with it?

“There’s a lot of your personality and original opinions, which is great,” he says. “And I love your photo in the green dress; it’s pure Christina Hendricks.” (At this point I feel so flattered that I have to avoid asking his on a date.) Room for improvement? “You don’t have voicemails or reels right now, which can really help with engagement,” Quinn says. And the reason she likes the green dress is because “there is a lot of color, it is daytime, very well framed: all the characteristics of a good photo. I would like to see you replace some of the selfies with more photos like that.”

If I were brave enough to let strangers rate my images, he recommends services like Photofeeler, a site where you can upload photos and get feedback on which ones are the best (a pretty scary idea). Quinn also advises experimenting and periodically changing the order of your profile pictures.

Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge, suggests that daters “include photos that clearly show your face, your entire body, you doing something you love, and you with friends or family. Don’t make it difficult for us to see what you look like by including filters, sunglasses, or other people who look like you.” The rule of thumb, says Tinder global relationships expert Paul C Brunson, is to include at least five photos. Bumble’s research found that people in the UK who added at least three photos to their profile saw an average of 79 percent more matches than those who didn’t.

Choosing a photo in daylight where you are clearly framed is better than a selfie

(Helen Coffey)

Words are also crucial. Ury says you should choose your messages carefully: “Don’t opt ​​for one-word responses or your Instagram feed. Make an effort and avoid clichés.” Completing your bio correctly generates 40 percent more matches, according to recent UK-focused Bumble research.

However, as I’ve discovered, matching is one thing; getting a date is another. What really baffles me are the legions of lost men, the ones who enthusiastically send messages, even suggesting a date, before falling off the face of the Earth. As far as I’m concerned, they could have died, suddenly and tragically. (Sometimes I prefer to believe so).

Apparently I’m not the only one having difficulties. I can at least take some comfort from the 2022 Pew Research Center survey, which found that most singles experienced dating as more difficult after the pandemic, even though the level of interest in finding a committed partner It remains the same. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of Generation Z are frustrated with dating apps, according to youth research agency Savanta.

“Several factors make turning matches into real-life dates more difficult in recent years,” says senior therapist and relationship expert Sally Baker. “For many singles, their expectations about finding love online are quite low. They have an online dating profile that’s a bit like a gym membership: It’s something everyone does, but that doesn’t mean you put any time or energy into it or think you’ll end up with killer abs.” Just because someone is on an app doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in a position to date, Quinn agrees: “A lot of people aren’t actively creating time and space for dating.”

The dopamine hit of a new connection can become addictive and make the face-to-face encounter seem superfluous.

sally baker

Another growing trend is that people go online but rarely get past the messaging stage, Baker says. “It’s like connecting is enough on its own. The flurry of communication back and forth is exhilarating until it inevitably fades and is replaced by the excitement of the next new connection,” she says. “The dopamine hit of a new connection can become addictive and make the face-to-face encounter seem superfluous.”

To avoid this rather disappointing fate, Quinn suggests scheduling a real-life date ahead of time. “If you’re not sure you know someone, instead of letting the situation fall by the wayside, arrange a video or phone call. If you can’t commit to that, say ‘no, thank you’ and move on to another possible connection,” she says.

One way to increase your success rate, at least on Hinge, is to use your voice. Research from the app in 2023 found that voice note conversations were 48 percent more likely to lead to an actual date. According to Quinn, being emotionally open and prepared to show your personality in messages can help. “If we have the same old cliché-filled talks, it’s hard for both of us to realize that there’s a different human being in the end,” she says. Being receptive at the right time also helps: “If you leave it for a few days before responding, the other person feels disinterested. Momentum is key.”

But if you have If you reach app exhaustion, consider hitting pause and trying a real-world alternative. Bored of Dating Apps (BODA) is one such model. Created by Jess Evans in 2021 after her own heartbreak and subsequent disgust at the “mentally exhausting” process of returning to online romance, BODA organizes social events and real-life events where singles can meet. Its popularity has grown enormously in the last 18 months, which is not surprising given that, in a survey of 12,000 singles, BODA found that 91 percent of people said they would rather meet offline than online. Then there’s Thursday: a dating app that only runs once a week for 24 hours and also hosts real-life singles events in bars in cities around the world every Thursday night.

Getting matches is one thing; getting dates is quite another.


But it’s clear that apps still work for many of us, no matter how difficult it may seem at times. About 37 percent of millennials have met a romantic partner through a dating app or website, according to YPulse’s February 2023 Dating and Relationships Report. “We know dating can be tough,” says a spokesperson for Match Group, owner of the largest global portfolio of popular online dating services, including Tinder, Hinge and Match.com. “There have always been ups and downs for singles. But we’ve always been focused on trying to make it easier for singles to connect, and we’ll continue to innovate and improve our products so people date better.”

And, as Baker says, “the benefit of online dating is the chance to meet someone special that you wouldn’t have met in your daily life.” His parting advice? Believe that there are good people who want to know you as much as you want to know them. “They can’t find you if you’re stuck at home and never come out,” she says. “Be open and brave; The more you embrace your life, the more you will attract the right person to you.”

As far as I’m concerned, I still have a glimmer of hope when it comes to applications. Looks like I just got my third date in real life; time will tell. But if he puts his hand on my knee, he looks me dead in the eye and says, “I think we both know why we’re here,” I’m out.

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