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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

It’s no secret that dating is a huge part of the college experience, and nothing facilitates that quite like dating apps. 

According to a research article published by researchers at the University of South Carolina, “30% of adults in the United States use a dating app.” Furthermore, dating apps are especially prevalent in the queer community. According to a Pew Research Survey, about 50% of LGBTQ adults use dating apps, whereas only 28% of their straight counterparts do. This speaks to the unique difficulties faced by LGBTQ people when it comes to meeting people in person; difficulties that straight people don’t have to worry about. Dating apps are often the easiest way to meet potential partners. 

Even though many people use dating apps, they can cause a lot of anxiety and apprehension. But there are ways to stay safe and have fun when meeting people. Here are a few tips you can use, whether you’re using Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, HER, or Grindr. 

Don’t Use A Standard Opener 

Everyone I’ve talked to with a dating app can relate to matching with someone only to get a “heyyy” from the other person. That doesn’t leave much to build off of if you want to strike up a conversation with someone. Make sure you’re unique and give the other person room to respond in an interesting way. 

Be Upfront 

People use dating apps for a variety of different purposes. Dating apps are a part of hookup culture, but other people are looking for long term relationships. Whether you’re looking for your next partner, something casual, just sex, or anything in between, it’s important to be clear about what you want when talking with another person. There’s nothing worse than being led on when the other person just wants a hookup. If you and a match don’t align on expectations, that’s totally fine. It’s better to figure that out sooner rather than later. 

Be Careful when Meeting Up 

So, you’ve really hit it off with someone. You’ve been messaging back and forth for a while, and now you want to go on a date. Congratulations! While this might be a little nerve-wracking, but it can also be an exciting experience. However, this person is still mostly a stranger, and you don’t know if you can trust them fully yet. So, when meeting up in person, follow these guidelines. 

  1. Meet during the daytime 
  2. Go to a public place (coffee shop, restaurant, etc)
  3. Tell your friends where you are and when they should expect to hear from you 

Trust Your Gut 

Our intuition rarely leads us astray. If you meet up with someone and you feel an instant connection, by all means keep seeing the person you’re with. But if you ever feel unsafe, creeped out, have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, a little voice in the back of your head saying “don’t trust this person” you’re probably right. If someone is giving you bad vibes, you can stop seeing them at any time. You don’t even have to finish one date! 

Even with these tips, it’s no guarantee that you’ll have a perfect experience when it comes to online dating. But hopefully, you can have a fun time while still staying safe.

Charlotte Tolly

Bradley U '25

Charlotte is a third year UX design major with a passion for art and writing. In her free time, you can find her baking, reading, or spending time with her friends.