5 Not-So-Obvious Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Yourself on Dating Apps

Lately, I’ve found myself getting fed up with dating apps. The prospect of having a never-ending carousel of eligible singles at your fingertips felt initially exciting, but now, after a handful of failed matches that barely made it out of the talking stage, it’s easy to feel like the online dating pool is nothing but a swipeable deck of disappointment. 

However I've recently learned that there were some ~dating profile don'ts~ setting me up for failure—and you might be making these mistakes too. Just like dating IRL, online dating comes with its own set of nuanced rules and expectations that can make or break your experience. Here are five ways you may be self-sabotaging on dating apps without even realizing it. 

Sharing too much too soon

It’s easy to get comfortable within the controlled environment of digital communication. You’re able to pour over your responses and present your most witty, articulate, and entertaining self. However, this also makes room for every PNG’s (Perpetually Nervous Gal) best friend: oversharing. When you’re trying to be charming through an app messenger, it’s easy to say things that are off-color. Oh, you went out with friends last night and drank one too many beers? That reminds me of the time I got so drunk at homecoming, I threw up in the periodical section of my campus's library. Big yikes. 

We all want to be loved for every part of ourselves, especially the vulnerable areas—but when you overshare at the wrong time, this can feel inauthentic and uncomfortable (no matter how hilarious your friends think these stories are). It also may determine whether or not you get a message back. Don’t give it all away at once—you can keep conversation lively while keeping some stories close to the cuff. Don’t toss around the most chaotic parts of you, instead let them be earned.

Swiping while under the influence

I’ve been guilty of this. As someone who suffers from dating anxiety, it’s easy to take advantage of the rush that liquid-courage gives you. You’re less conservative with your swipes, and more likely to make contact first. However, this habit is a dangerous one, and should prompt a moment for self-reflection to ask yourself what you really want out of the dating app game. Do you want to meet someone you could really connect with, or does your wine-drunk self just want a digital encounter that’s disposable and temporary? Neither answer is wrong. However, if you are swiping to find something of substance, maybe put the bottle down and try searching with a sober headspace.

Refusing to message first

I would like to make a disclaimer: I know that not ALL women insist on being messaged first. Many of you have no problem with taking charge (and if that’s you, go off queen). But, for those of you who are going into online dating with the “I don’t text first” mentality, let me stop you right there. You are interesting, fun, and totally capable of making the first move. Refusing to speak unless you’re spoken to not only means participating in an archaic system of gender roles, but it also automatically casts out a good portion of your matches, who will remain nothing but a tiny profile picture.

If someone’s profile stands out to you, say something! If you want to test out a new joke or give someone an earnest compliment, take a chance. What’s the worst that could happen?

Offering a weak introduction

I know it can be intimidating to come up with a  good introductory message. But have you ever been eager to get to know someone—only to have them reach out with a measly what’s up? It's a bummer. Use their profile as a sort of tip-sheet, then start conversation with an anticipated topic that you’re interested in and can speak about. This guarantees that the initial conversation will get off the ground and jump the hurdle of stale small talk.

Not being upfront about what you want

The beauty of online dating is that you can really find any type of match. This includes a relationship, a friend-with-benefits situation, a one-time hookup, or a platonic friendship. However, you automatically set yourself up for failure when you aren’t direct with these intentions. Life is too short to wait around, or walk into a situation where someone isn’t meeting your needs. You also owe it to whoever you’re getting involved with to be open about what your expectations are, so that they aren’t disappointed later on. Not only does this prevent you from wasting time on something that will ultimately go nowhere, but it also re-centers you to remember what your own goals are. The minute you start owning what you want and making it known to your matches, you’ll find more satisfying connections.