Ah, the wonderful world of dating apps—swipe to your left, swipe to your right, block that one loser who won’t take no for an answer. It’s like some sort of weird dance and nobody quite knows the moves. We’ve all been there, and while I might not have all the answers, I definitely have your back. Here are some tips for trying to find love online:
- BE THE FISHERMAN, NOT THE FISH. Yeah, OBVIOUSLY you’re a catch, but what happens to a fish after it’s been caught? Its head is chopped off. You don’t want to be the fish— you want to be the fisherman. Cast your line into the ocean (the salty, salty ocean) and reel in some, er, big ones. You can throw back the ones you don’t want, keep the ones you do, and never have to worry about getting lightly breaded and baked and fed to a family of four. In other words, you’re in charge—act like it.
- IT’S OKAY TO BE PICKY. We’ve all been there. A guy mentions your favorite TV show in his bio, you swipe right. He has a picture with his mom (proving he MUST be harmless), you swipe right. You come across a nice guy you’re not very attracted to but you swipe right because you vaguely know him and don’t want to be a jerk. STOP IT. If you want to catch ‘em all, there’s a different app for that. Try to connect with guys who could potentially be good first dates.
- BUT DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE… SWIPE. I know how exciting it is to meet someone you immediately like. Fireworks pop. You can see your heartbeat. You’re already planning your vows. This is it; you don’t have to search anymore. You delete your dating app because YOU (basically) HAVE A BOYFRIEND NOW. But, what happens when he ghosts? What are you going to do when the infatuation fades and you realize you aren’t actually that into him? Keep your options open until you have an actual reason not to.
- LET YOUR HAIR DOWN. You’re a beautiful, real woman, not a perfectly airbrushed doll-looking thing without a glimpse of a noticeable flaw. Masking all of your insecurities on your dating profile will only make you more nervous and insecure when you meet your date in person. Put a picture or two up in which you really feel like yourself. Maybe it’s a no-makeup selfie you snapped after a hike. Maybe it’s a picture you don’t feel is the most flattering, but you’re laughing in it and having a good time. The people worth meeting will understand what it’s like to be a human person on planet Earth. They won’t expect perfection, and that’ll be such a weight off your shoulders.
- STAY SAFE OUT THERE. This rule can’t be passed around enough. Stay safe. Be aware of your surroundings. Always, always meet at a public place. Keep your phone number private until you’ve met in person and feel comfortable with sharing it. Make sure your friends know where you plan to go for the evening and have them check in with you throughout the night. Strive to keep your dating life fun AND safe.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I’m not suggesting you perform a full-on background check on the guy you’re meeting, but it doesn’t hurt to type his name into a search bar to make sure nothing crazy pops up. It’s nice to be surprised by your date once in a while… unless that surprise is discovering he was recently released from prison. A little Google-ing never hurt anyone.
- GET SOME FRESH AIR. Left, left, left, right, left, right, right, right, left, left, left, UGH! That was supposed to be a right! Girl. I’ve been there. I know how addicting this swiping stuff can be. It’s so easy, so accessible, so… exhausting. There’s a whole wide world out there full of people you can talk to in person and with your voice! Hell, maybe you’ll meet someone interesting while you’re walking your dog. Don’t be so enraptured by the dating app matrix that you forget about the real world.
- DON’T SHOW HIM YOUR BOOBS BEFORE YOU KNOW HIS LAST NAME. Or that tattoo right above your lady parts, or the sexy pictures from the photo shoot you did for fun, or the new sheets you got for your bed that he just has to try. Basically, keep your goodies for yourself on the first date… maybe even the second or third. Place your focus on getting to know this new person. Is this someone you even want close to your vagina? It’s hard to tell when you’re busy sucking face and discreetly taking off your panties in the back of an Uber on the way to his place. Remember, it’s okay to be picky. And in the case of who you’re letting in and around your body, being picky is encouraged. However, on the other hand…
- DO WHAT YOU WANT. You don’t have to conform to any social norms or expectations. If you want to have sex on the first date, that’s entirely your decision. If you want to stay the night at his place and score free breakfast in the morning, do it. If you want to leave in the middle of the date because you’re bored/creeped out/missing out on a night with your girls, go! You’re an adult. There are rules for dating in every magazine and corner of the internet, but only you can decide who and how you date.