Dating apps aren’t the problem, how you use them is

Without fail, there will always be a new article about why dating apps are the problem with dating. These articles, much like the “I’m leaving New York for {smaller, less diverse locale}” are a genre of think-piece all on their own. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, believe me. You’ve probably read at least one of the many, often recycled pieces on why dating apps are ruining dating, and wouldn’t the world be so much better if we dated the way our parents did, and so on and so on.

Here’s the thing: Dating apps aren’t the problem with dating. How you use dating apps is the problem.

 

While there are a ton of factors that go into whether or not we can be successful using dating apps, how we use dating apps determines how successful on them. What isn’t likely to impact your dating efforts in a negative way is the fact that you use them. Dating apps are neither inherently negative, positive, or anything else. They’re tools. If you hit your finger when you’re trying to hammer a nail, would you call a hammer “bad”? Is the hammer the reason that you hurt your finger? Dating apps aren’t the problem, how we use (and misuse) them is the problem.

There isn’t a universal right or wrong way to use dating apps, but there is a right and wrong way to use dating apps for you. If you were like me, and you’re very particular about who you go on a date with, but you’re not using dating apps in a selective way, you’re using dating apps in a way that is wrong for you. If what you’re looking for is a serious, monogamous relationship, and you’re filtering out who openly state that they only want casual sex, you’re using dating apps in a way that is wrong for you.

I’m not saying that the user is entirely to blame for their negative experiences on these apps, but in my experience, how people use dating apps contributes to their dissatisfaction. You can’t control whether or not people will flake on you, ghost on you, or send you copy pasted message, but there are so many other aspects of dating apps that are within your control. If you think dating apps suck, and your experience on dating apps has always sucked, have you looked at why that’s the case? Have you tried to change any of your habits and behaviors when using dating apps?

My advice to you is this:

  • Identify what bothers you about dating apps
  • Identify what bothers you about your pool of matches
  • Identify what bothers you about the dates you go on
  • Come up with solutions

If you’re not looking at why dating apps aren’t working for you, taking a break in April, or any other month, is just delaying your inevitable exhaustion when you re-download all your dating apps. Don’t get me wrong, I think taking a break from dating apps is always a good idea. That said, the solution to a problem isn’t to ignore the problem. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take a break, but I would encourage you to look at ways that YOU can improve your experience. Time might heal wounds, but it doesn’t make your problems disappear. If you are going to use dating apps, maybe it’s time to change your approach.

Change how you message people. Change your profile. Update your pictures. Try new dating apps. Get rid of the old ones that aren’t working for you. Change your swiping habits. Stop paying for sites that are full of fake users, or people you’d never want to go on a date with. Don’t double book dates on the same day. Stop going on dates you know you’ll hate. Stop using dating apps the way you’ve been using them for who knows how long when your approach consistently does not work for you.

And if everything you’re doing to change how you approach online dating seems to fail, who says you even need to use dating apps? You should use dating apps to supplement your dating efforts, but if they’re only adding to your life in a negative way, and no matter what you do, they just don’t seem to work for you in any way, shape, or form, maybe they just aren’t for you.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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