Welcome to Dating Diaries, which takes an inside look at women who are online dating and/or using dating apps to meet their potential partners. For better or worse, Dating Diaries will look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, and you’ll probably be able to relate.
Since it’s 2018, chances are that you and most all of your friends use online dating sites and apps. And why not, right? After all, you can swipe, match, and message 24/7 if you really want to — while you’re in line at the store, when you’re on a work break, when you’re not on a work break, when you have insomnia, you name it. Because dating sites and apps are available day and night, it’s easy for them to become an everyday habit. Of course, there’s a difference between a habit and an addiction, and I prefer the former. If you haven’t dabbled in online or app dating yet, that’s OK, because here’s a glimpse into a week in the life of an online/app dater: Me!
While there are pluses and minuses to each dating site and app, Tinder is my favorite app at the moment, followed by Bumble. Personally, I feel dating apps are more efficient than dating sites — on ones like Tinder, you have an endless number of potential matches.Matching, messaging, and meeting through Tinder tends to happen faster plus I've only ever gotten one inappropriate message using the app.I think the quality of your matches all depends on the quality of your online dating profile, but that’s another story.
While using the app in L.A., I’ve had Tinder dates open doors for me (from car ones to restaurant ones), pull out my chair for me at dinner, and kiss me goodnight on the cheek. Also, some of my Tinder and Bumble dates have turned into boyfriends, so I’m definitely more in favor of them than against — the more methods you have for meeting someone, the better, right? Plus, I know more than two dozen people who have met their spouses on sites and apps, including on Tinder, Bumble, PlentyOfFish, Match, OkCupid, and eHarmony.
First, Some Thoughts On Swiping
I know a lot of people tend to swipe right or left based on people’s pictures, but I actually read their profiles, too. Knowledge is power, and if you match with someone first, then read their profile and learn that they really love BDSM, yes, you can immediately unmatch if you’re not into that, too, but it’s much easier not to get anyone’s hopes up by taking a few extra seconds to read their bio. In fact, I rarely swipe right if they don’t have a written bio, no matter how cute they are. And if I do swipe right on bio-less men, once we start messaging, my first question is, “I noticed you don’t have a written bio. If you did, what would it say?” That way, I can better gauge what kind of guy the person is; if he doesn’t really answer, I’ll ask some open-ended questions for more clues as to his personality.
OK, now that we’ve gotten my right-swiping method out of the way, without further ado, here’s a week in the life of a Tinder user.
Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left… x 45 times out of 50. Yes, I only swiped right on five guys, and, cool — they swiped right on me, too. Now, should I initiate our messaging conversation, or let them? While I used to initiate, these days, I don’t. Instead, I pretend we’re meeting IRL at a party, bookstore, or at a work event and imagine them approaching me. As many dating books will tell you, guys have no problem approaching women they really want to get to know; they’ll find a way. My grandma used to always give me dating advice and loved to say, “Let him come to you.” Since grandmas are always right, I try to listen to that advice more often than not.
OK, but back to Tinder. Because so many men I know tend to right-swipe mindlessly and not actually meet matches in person, I do a test, of sorts, and gauge their interest in meeting based on if they start our conversation. That way, I feel I’m not just part of their collection of matches gathering dust in their Tinder inbox. Immediately, Guy 1 of 5 writes a message. I wonder what he’ll write… I decide to take a work break and check. “Hi.” Although “hi” can definitely work when you meet someone in real life, I feel people should try a little harder on an app since there are so many other matches who will write clever opening lines. I decide to wait and see what the other guys write…
Guy 2 writes, and his opening line is, “That’s a lot of coffee you’re drinking in that one picture. Where can I get a cup like that? ;)” OK, much better. As you’ve probably guessed, one of my photos has me drinking from a gigantic coffee mug — it goes from my mouth to my waist. So, not only did Guy 2 write a funny line, he also asked a question to keep the conversation going. Points for him. Meanwhile, Guys 3-5 don’t write at all, but I’ll give them another few days…
I had too much going on with work yesterday, so I write Guys 1 and 2 back today. The “hi” guy convo goes nowhere fast — his additional sentences are not much longer than “hi,” and I ask questions, but he barely does. Meanwhile, Guy 2 is very funny and asks lots of open-ended questions. Plus, it turns out we have some mutual friends. Guys 3-5 still aren’t writing…
“Hi” guy bores me to tears, but Guy 2 is still entertaining. Guys 3-5 are still MIA, so I decide to go on a short swiping spree; out of 50 swipes, I swipe right on three men — two swipe right in return. Both of them write later in the day, and both must have heard it’s best to start with an open-ended, yet comical, question. So Guys 2, 6, and 7 are keeping my attention…
Guy 2 suggests meeting for coffee, but I suggest a phone call first. I feel you can save a lot of time if you have a pre-date phone call. Yes, a lot of matches may be taken aback — We can use the phone for more than texting?! — but it’ll help you determine someone’s personality, and without the pressure of an in-person meeting. Even if someone doesn’t see the point of a phone call, I insist; more often than not, once you and the match start talking, it’s not as big a deal as they thought it would be and it really will save you time down the line, trust me. Guy 6 still messages, but Guy 7 is MIA today, as well as Guys 3-5.
Guy 2 and I decide to talk on the phone tomorrow and Guy 6 seems like an eternal pen-pal. Yes, I can suggest meeting, but once again, since some people treat Tinder (and dating apps overall) like a game, I’d prefer if he suggests meeting. Guy 7 is MIA again, and so are 3 and 4, but 5 decides to message for the first time. Instead of a conversation-starter about my cartoon-sized coffee cup, he brings up the Chicago Cubs (since one of my photos is with the Cubs mascot in front of Wrigley Field). He asks if I’ve been a lifelong Cubs fan and says how he’s more of a Yankees fan.
Guy 2 and I talk on the phone; luckily, he’s just as engaging and interesting on the phone as he is in his written messages. We set up a coffee date for next week. Guy 5 keeps messaging, too, saying he tries to avoid pen-pals on dating apps — hear, hear! — and am I free in a couple days to meet? I ask when he’s free for a phone call… In the meantime, Guy 6 writes more, but our conversation seems stagnant and doesn’t seem to be moving forward… Everyone else is MIA. I decide to do another swiping spree — 50 more potential matches — and swipe right on four guys, and they swipe right back.
Of course, dating varies from week to week. Some weeks, I won’t check my apps at all, and I’m also constantly deleting them to make space on my phone. Other weeks, I’ll be “talking” to several, 5-15, guys at once, though many go MIA. Like some of the above, they will seem very into messaging and meeting, but then disappear without a trace. And, at times, I’ll go MIA — usually accidentally (when I have the apps deleted or when I meet someone in person and am seeing what happens with him). But, like the millions of online and app daters out there, I continue to use them, because they represent hope. And since I know they work, there’s no harm in trying.
Alright, so, I just revealed my experience using Tinder over the last seven days. Now it's your turn. What are some of your stories? Comment below!