I met my husband on Tinder – call me a ‘Tinderella’ if you will. It doesn’t make for the most glamorous story of how we met but it’s becoming a new reality. I mean how else are you realistically supposed to meet people outside of the bar? Personally, I always preferred sitting in my pajamas and swiping to a night full of cocktails and disappointments. Yet as convenient as Tinder, Bumble, and other online dating apps are, they can be super daunting—you’re basically sifting through a massive pool of single men. How will you ever be able to spot ‘the one’?
I am a firm believer that you can find lasting love on a dating app, you just have to be selective. While I don’t claim to be an expert, here are a few of my strategies that helped me find my dream guy and can maybe help you find yours too.
Create a list of the qualities you must have and stick to them.
Before you even start, ask yourself: what are the qualities your ideal partner must have? Be realistic; if you can’t meet these qualities then don’t expect them from someone else. For me, a guy had to be college educated, have a career, be close with his family, be a non-smoker, and love dogs. These then became the non-negotiable items for me moving forward. If a guy didn’t meet one of these criteria, I would graciously bow out. You might think this is crazy, but do you know what I think is even crazier? Making allowances for someone you’ve just met. Choosing a life partner is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, so why settle for someone that is ‘good enough’? In my opinion, that’s just not good enough.
Be upfront with your intentions.
I think it’s important to communicate what you’re looking for so that you’re not wasting your time or someone else’s. Before I even made plans with a guy, I would ask them: why are you on <insert dating app>? If you’re looking for something serious, why would you even entertain a date with someone who just wants a hookup? Too often I feel like women are afraid of coming across as ‘crazy’ by stating their wants, but in my opinion, if a guy is creeped out by this question, then he is not looking for anything serious and he is definitely not a mature adult.
Treat the first date like an interview.
I approached first dates as an opportunity to learn as much as I could about a guy. For example, I wanted to know their thoughts on marriage and kids, how their friends and family would describe them, why they are single, how their last relationship ended etc. I’m not suggesting you interrogate the poor guy, but work these types of questions into the conversation naturally so that you can gain insight into whether they are the right fit for you and identify any potential red flags. The more you know upfront, the less likely you are to enter into a relationship with someone who does not value the same things as you.
Dating apps have made all of us a little too complacent—I can’t tell you how many guys I came across who asked me to ‘hang out sometime’ and then left the rest up to me. In my opinion, the person making plans, should plan! At the beginning, you are seeing guys on their best behavior and if they are lazy from the start, then things are not going to get better. One of the things that really stood out about my (now) husband is that he gave me days and options to choose from for our first date. It’s such a simple gesture but it made me feel like he was dating with purpose and intention and that was the kind of guy I was looking for.
Don’t force it.
So you had a great date and then you never heard from him again? Cut your losses. It really doesn’t matter why things didn’t work out, the fact is that you only met this person a couple times so don’t get hung up on them. Consider it a favor they are doing you by making your selection process easier and don’t try and force things with a guy that doesn’t like you that much.
On the flip side, don’t try and convince yourself of someone either. If you’ve been on a couple dates (my go-to number was three dates) and you’re still undecided, take that as your answer and move on. Don’t give into the fear of not being able to find someone better because there will always be other options. I remember dating a guy that checked all my boxes on paper but in real life the chemistry was missing. Without that essential component, all your must haves amount to nothing more than a great friendship.
Dating for love in the digital age is challenging. Do yourself a favor and keep your standards high and your priorities clear so that you can navigate through the clutter, use your time wisely, and seek out real prospects.