"What’s wrong with me? Am I that unattractive? Will I die alone and childless? Who will I leave my hard earned assets to? Will I never share my bed again?" Millions would trade their lot in to find someone special.
The difficulty? People we bump into daily don't usually end up being permanent bedfellows or life partners. Perhaps it simply isn't that easy to start the "I'm interested in you" conversation when having a biscuit break, in between meetings or after spotting someone whose smell you fancy in the office lift ride up. Perhaps that's what motivates many to try their luck with matchmaking firms and online dating, hoping for a fail-proof way to find love, grand or otherwise.
Which dating platform works?
Matchmaking firms profile to determine if a fit between two persons is worth a meeting. In comparison, online dating is a cheaper and easier way to meet folks, with almost no profiling required. But it’s your job to figure out that tricky balance between cleverly advertising yourself (without lying too much) and putting the right photo-edited "goods" out there. Few situations in life hide exactly who you are yet completely expose you to the scrutiny you've been trying to avoid as you age. Online dating is one of them. How do you keep sane?
1. Be patient and hopeful but be prepared for nothing to happen
If you're 30 and below, congrats, you're using the right app. If your real age sits to the right of 35, ask yourself if you're open to the average age (18 to 30) profile on these dating apps. If your mind is made up and you're itching to test it out, swipe to "like" a photo profile or send "charms" (for a fee) to prove you've put money where your crush is. With any luck, they'll "swipe like" you back and you can both start in-app chats that hopefully lead to a meet up.
But even if you've tastefully snapshotted and cropped a cleavage, twisted yourself into poses that slim your face and give you a waist, and successfully reproduced the come-get-me look you were once famous for, there's no guarantee that anyone will swipe right.
2. Girls must be open to making the first move
Some dating app surveys say men swipe “like” a woman’s profile 46 percent of the time whereas women only swipe “like” 14 percent of the time. Yes, many women still play the waiting game of "Boy, please chase Girl." It may be 2017 but not all girls are comfortable with making the first move to signal an interest. If you're on these apps and you'll only respond if a swipe "like" is offered first, you could be waiting for a long time.
3. Be aware that you've now allowed the date app server to access your social media data
Much like Pokemon Go, many of these dating apps collect information about you, even if the info isn't displayed on your date app profile. They use your smartphone's GPS and let you know of other single folks close by who are currently logged in to the same app. Many of these apps require sign-ins with your Facebook, Instagram or Google+ account and automatically lift some private info to give your profile a more colorful view of you, refreshed in real time. Some apps link 30 percent of your latest Instagram posts and give others a visual clue of who you are by sharing what you like. Other apps let you post Spotify music links of your favorite tunes so interested parties can sample-scrub the soundtracks of your life.
By all means, show your outside-of-work persona. But if you have a past that you're not prepared to share all that publicly, create a new social media account that only shares what you want new acquaintances to know. There's no need to give someone you don't know a play-by-play of your personal life. So be careful when you sign up and OK steps A to Z. You could be giving permission to apps to rift through all your social media accounts and access info that was meant for your inner circle only.
4. A single and available person may not be as described
Accept that folks will often lie about what they do or inflate their reality to come across more interesting. So take everything you read with a pinch of salt. A "single, recently divorced" profile might mean "I still have drama in my life." A "not married" profile could actually mean "married with almost estranged wife and kids but not ready to disclose that to you yet." If they say they work for Interpol, it usually means they were a former police officer or in current law enforcement roles but not necessarily with Interpol, Europol, Navy Seals, Commandos, CIA or the FBI. Don't go into this naively. Go into it looking for friends. That way you won't be too disappointed if things end up being platonic, even if you have spilt some "milk" along the way.
5. Be prepared to stalk and be stalked
All in the search for truth behind the face you like, since people tend to lie in-app about their social, economic, work and relationship statuses. The only way you'll get a clearer picture is by a bit of online sleuthing. Good luck. What you do unto others under the guise of "I really like you" will rest assured be done back to you. May everyone have a good sense of humor.
6. Never judge a book by its cover
Sadly, we are all superficial. Our brains may advocate fairness, but hormonally we all judge someone by how they look, the confident way they stand whilst doing nothing and the way they look in person and on our phone screens, no matter how small their in-app picture is. The only way to save us from our carnal cravings is to remember that liking someone purely for the way they look at that point in time is a red flag not to be ignored. Looks have never sailed a relationship through tough times. And it highly unlikely it can now.
7. Many users think will think that sleeping together is a given
Most dating apps assume "hookups at your own risk" as part of the getting-to-know-you process. You might be one of the lucky few who gets wooed by someone you like, who likes you back and would be patient with you until you're ready. But that is more fiction than fact these days. Not putting out is a personal decision. And men will respect you for that. But many will either say "pass" or may not be interesting in taking the things from casual dating to a real relationship.
There are millions of people on Tinder and other online dating services, yet it isn't easy to meet someone special. When did dating get so difficult?
At the end of the day, swiping left and right is full of ups and downs, so don't take it too seriously. Perhaps these apps are best used during mindless toilet downtime, when you're poking at a TV dinner and want to eyeball candy without buying a physical magazine or just looking for nookie the potato-couch way. Good luck!
Karen Khng is Managing Director of Love Script International.
Find Love Script at www.love-script.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.