Dating apps are where fun goes to die. Kidding! I actually know several couples who found love in a hopeless place (online). In fact, that's how my best friend met her soul mate, and now they live in an adorable house together in a part of town I can’t afford. And I am not jealous whatsoever. Why, do I sound jealous? I’m not!
Okay, fine, I’m jealous. I’ve messaged with countless people, only to have it lead nowhere. I’ve been ghosted after so many first dates that it’s hard to to imagine ever having a successful second rendezvous, let alone a third. I've been stood up. (I thought that only happened in movies?!)
But listen (LISTEN TO ME), although online dating can be frustrating, your future partner might be out there swiping for you, so you shouldn't give up. Plus, when you have the right tools, dating actually doesn’t have to be such a bummer. You’re finding love—from your couch! Once you change your approach and perspective, you’ll see dating apps as a blessing, not an exhausting curse.
So here are some ways to stay sane while using a dating app, because finding love is supposed to be happy and fun—and it can be if you follow these moves. I swear.
Focus on a single app.
I recently looked at my phone and noticed that I had four dating apps downloaded in my desperate attempt to find love without ever having to leave the house. Somehow with all those options at my fingertips, I’m still single. So instead of spending all your money, attention, and cellular data on every app under the sun, just choose one that actually works—and put your focus there.
Keep it quality over quantity.
This doesn’t only go for dating apps themselves, but also for people. Several right swipe matches in a row might give you satisfaction, but it won’t help you find an actual, supportive, dependable, loyal partner—if that’s what you’re really looking for. Don’t only swipe for looks. Pause to analyze pictures and read bios to figure out if the match could actually be right for you.
Don’t get attached too early.
That guy you’re messaging with? No, he’s not your boyfriend. Just because you’re messaging, or even texting, doesn’t mean that you’re in a relationship or even having “a thing.” Avoiding premature attachments also helps you keep your dating expectations low and any "what if?" tendencies in check. (That might include, but is not limited to: talking to your friends incessantly about dating or social media stalking your matches.)
Come prepared with standards.
Standards, lol! What are those? No,“standards” do not mean“looks.” Brown hair, tattoos, and likely to piss off my parents are not my dating standards. However, interested, consistent, and kind are. If your match isn’t meeting your standards in the messages, then move on. Best to weed out the bad boys early.
Yes, this one is obvious. But maybe...it’s not? Online dating used to stress me out because I wasn’t authentic in my profile or during my conversations, and I knew my matches would pick up on that during our first date. How long could I make the charade last? My profile photos were of me drinking in college, and I am now thirty years old…and sober. I’d agree during convos that I love dogs when in reality my last relationship ended because I’m deathly allergic to them. The truth always comes and finds you. So just be honest and authentic from the start. It’s better than finding you’re not compatible with your partner several months in.
Ask yourself: Do YOU like THEM?
I, perpetual doormat and life-long people-pleaser, spend way too much of my time wondering if people like me. In fact, someone can say something pretty off-putting, and my main concern is that my reaction to their inappropriateness is attractive. Not good.
Make sure to switch your perspective to keep your sanity. Are you enjoying your match's behavior? Their conversation? If not—it's on to the next one. Your match should be wondering if YOU like THEM. You’re the prize, remember that.
I once messaged with a guy for weeks before finding out he was not only not looking for a relationship, but had no interest in meeting in person, either. So ask this question early: What are you looking for?
If your match is actually looking for a relationship, this question won’t scare them off.
Keep it fun and flirty.
Don’t fall into the dreaded friend zone. Keep the conversation light and complimentary, and keep your match wanting more so they lock you down for a date ASAP. But avoid getting overtly sexual, or you could end up with an unwarranted dick pick from a psychopath. You never know these days.
Avoid the inevitable swiping stupor.
Take breaks from the app. Dating isn’t a game, but if you swipe for too long, it can start to feel like one. Only spend a few minutes a day swiping and responding to messages, and then put your phone away. This will also encourage your matches to move things offline ASAP.
Move from online to IRL quickly.
Are you looking for a pen pal? Me neither. I’m not in elementary school anymore. And if you are in elementary school, what are you doing on a dating app and reading Cosmo? Where are your parents?
If your match isn’t asking you out after an extended period of messaging, then they aren’t interested in dating. They’re just another bored person on a dating app, looking for a way to kill some time. Suggest meeting in real life, and if they don’t take you up on your offer, it’s time to move on.
So when it comes to keeping online dating fun, sanity is the key to success. Follow these tips to change your perspective, and next thing you know you could be living in a house in an expensive area with the love of your life you met off a dating app. Who knows! A person can dream, right?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.