“Why am I single?” Now, that’s quite a complex question to ponder in our time of digital dating and the endless opportunities that are presented to connect with potential love interests. On average, I’d say that most people find themselves attractive, and not even in a narcissistic way. If you’re in college with a job, a well-rounded slew of extracurricular activities under your belt, a few interesting hobbies, a sense of humor or quality taste in music you may even consider yourself the full package—I know I do. So, why has no one swooped in and changed that “for sale” sign to sold, permanently labeling you “off the market?” If I’m so perfect on paper, what could I possibly be doing wrong?
Let’s start with Tinder. When I envision my very own fantasy man, I usually picture a well-dressed six-foot guy standing next to his ex-lover with a smiley emoji pasted over her face. Psych. No one visualizes this, yet so many Tinder profiles that I swipe through feature these boys surrounded by throngs of women and ex-girlfriends (at least have the common decency to crop her out of the shot) with a cheeky bio that reads something like “this could be you” or “I don’t message first.” Someone cue an eye-roll. I’m well aware of the fact that most men typically lack the portfolio of selfies that women can acquire in a single Sunday morning girls’ trip to brunch, so the best photos that you have are probably those taken by and for your ex-girlfriends or female friends. I can also understand a guy’s logic: showing evidence of hot girls hanging out with me will attract more hot girls. However, when a woman sees a picture of you draped with other women she’s not thinking: “Wow, what a catch! All of these girls want him, and I should too!” Her thought process is probably more along the lines of “Hmm, seems like he’s trying really hard to look like a prime candidate for a one-nighter.” Choice words like “tool” or “douchebag” may even make an appearance. Swipe left.
I can’t speak for men, but I would assume a similar standard probably applies when swiping through women on Tinder as well. Whatever you’re searching for on Tinder, there’s a pretty simple formula for representing yourself: the first picture should be a solo photo of yourself—no exceptions. We shouldn’t have to guess which one is you, and your dog shouldn’t be a scapegoat either. Feel free to add photos with friends, regardless of gender, but try avoiding pictures with someone who was obviously an ex (i.e. they’re kissing you, or they have that trademark hand placed on your abdomen). Top off your profile with a short and non-creepy or threatening bio that gives swipers an idea about who you are and what you’re looking for.
Moving on, let’s say you semi-recently got out of a relationship. You’re living your best single life and holding your head high (but not too high, because you don’t want to freeze out even the good guys). You’ve made the decision to not look back, which is a great tactic if only your past wasn’t pasted smack-dab to your forehead. Moving on and finding new love isn’t possible if you continue to compare every potential love interest to your ex! Thinking things like “Oh well John always remembered my class schedule” or “But Brad bought me really thoughtful gifts” will not aid in your search for an upgrade. Let’s face it: there’s a reason that door closed, no matter how the relationship ended, and there’s no benefit in trying to reopen it. No other person that you meet is going to be that person, but that’s okay because they’ll surely have many other qualities to offer you if you give them the chance to do so.
With that being said, go on dates. A lot of them. Kiss some frogs (ew, not literally). Break some hearts if you must! It’s a sick and twisted trope that you are to be chosen from the crowd of all the girls at the club who are also twerking to an EDM remix of “SICKO MODE.” Stop waiting around to be handpicked from a pool of blonde ponytails just like your own and take the initiative. The same goes for guys. If you’re not willing to go on a few failed dates, you’ll never figure out what you like and dislike in a partner. Also, get creative with first dates. If you can, avoid restaurants at all costs; they’re breeding grounds for vanity and disappointment. Go anywhere else—the pool, a park, the aquarium or a museum. Anything that will get you out of your comfort zone will allow you to loosen up and really show off that charm.