How To End The Conversation On Dating Apps, Ghosting Online Dating, Unmatching On Hinge, Bumble. How To Tell Someone You Are Not Interested
Spend enough time on dating apps, and you will hopefully get past the stage of a few empty back and forth messages and arrive at a point where simply unmatching, blocking or not responding to messages is bad etiquette. There will also likely come a time when you will have to cancel a date, end a date before it starts, express you are no longer interested in seeing the person or decline a second date.
This can be extremely uncomfortable for most people. Anonymity provides an excuse for many to engage in bad manners, poor etiquette and disappear. For many, dating apps are the first dating experience people have and most people tend to keep for themselves or ask advice from those around them that are likely to engage in bad etiquette.
Online Dating Etiquette, Manners: Unofficial Rules For Dating Apps
Online dating etiquette is rather a newer concept given the various apps out there and the way they let users match and interact. In the good old days, users would just message a person directly that they liked. Not there are likes, hearts, emojis, favorites, queues and super likes and swipes. All these communication variables demand some pause and understanding so you have a proper sense of how to terminate conversations, matches and relationships.
Here is my guide to navigating the murky waters of dating apps when you realize you are no longer interested in a match, no longer up to meet for a date or wish to cease communications with said person on dating app.
How To Measure Initial Interest, What Does A Like, Match Mean
Not all apps are created equal. Some allow users to message others instantly, others only let women message first while most apps allow people to message each other only after exchanging mutual blind likes. These might seem like subtle nuances but depending on initial contacts, certain etiquette is recommended when ending things with others.
It’s also important to understand the business models and functionality of a dating app. Some allow for limitless matches, contacts while others throttle profiles, so you can carefully spend more time reviewing vs mindless swiping without much thought. Sometimes a like is all someone can do until matching while apps like Hinge allow for users to like a photo, caption or to comment on them. Knowing the difference is one key to gauging interest, effort on dating apps.
On apps like Hinge, likes are low effort signals of interest. It’s always better to comment. I recommend people not to respond to likes on Hinge – focus on those that put in effort to write something interesting, engaged and insightful. Similarly, even after matching, don’t assume there is something there where there is not.
Do You Owe A Response To Everyone Who Messages You On Dating Apps?
Not everyone is on dating apps to meet others for a date. Some are lonely, some are bored, others are bots/spammers while others are seeking attention. Rather than get caught up on profiles, superficial compatibility and attractiveness, don’t ignore effort, responsiveness and etiquette. Liking/matching is the first step towards signaling attraction, it’s not a major indicator, only indicator.
Just because someone matched with you, doesn’t mean they want to go on a date with you or think you are attractive or compatible. Dating apps are merely introduction apps. Matches are meant to be explored and see if there is additional interest beyond what is observed in the profile. As such, sending a message to a person or a match is a reflection of your effort, sincerity and manners.
Why Don’t People Respond To Your Messages On Dating Sites
On that note, just because you wrote a very thought out message to a person on a dating app, there is no requirement for them to respond or acknowledge messages. It’s not uncommon for some women, especially new to apps, to get dozens or hundreds of likes and messages in a day. Women in particular don’t spend as much time glued to dating apps like their counterparts. It’s not uncommon to get a reply end of day or next morning.
Not all apps display these likes, matches and messages at once. Many throttle the communications to maximize monetization efforts on the site. More so, don’t expect a response regardless of your thoughtfulness if you don’t meet their preferences, deal-breakers (height, religion and political affiliation). Expect even fewer responses if there is a large physical distance between you, large age gap or cringy photos in your profile.
It’s Not Ghosting If You Never Met Up Or Only Exchanged A Few Messages
That is the honest truth. With the popularity of online dating slang, people like to toss out the G-word way too often, prematurely. In some ways it stings less than rejection and casts a character flaw in the other person. Sorry to tell you this but it’s not ghosting if you never had plans to meet up or if you only exchanged a few superficial, empty message.
Similarly, it’s not ghosting if the other person discovers something about you that you failed to disclose up front i.e. located in a different city, lied about height, kids or marital status or if you look materially different from your profile. There is no difference between actively lying and forgetting to acknowledge things about yourself. Expect people to do a quick Google search, look you up on Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram and reverse image search your photos.
Your photos should reflect who you are, what you look like now AND ideally be taken with the last 2-3 years. Notice I said ‘AND’ not ‘OR’. If you dated the person’s friend or have a bad reputation, expect others to find that out. Online dating is as much as being honest and self-aware as it is marketing yourself effectively.
Online Dating Etiquette: Politely Rejecting Someone On Dating Sites
It takes a lot of patience, vulnerability to open up to someone with an opening message. Superficial messages usually get ignored while verbose messages that read like novels seem excessive and rather creepy or overly eager.
First messages should balance thoughtfulness and brevity. In such cases, it’s recommended to politely decline someone’s message if they clearly have demonstrated they read your profile, curated their message to you and most importantly put effort/did research about your photo or prompt.
Lazy, stupid questions that can be Google’d don’t deserve a response. If someone lists a non-profit as their job, don’t ask what the non-profit does. People have no patience for those that could have used LMGTFY to answer their questions.
If someone looks something up, ask you a specific question that is thoughtful and genuine and sends a compliment that is not body based, I think it’s reasonable to politely say you are not interested in them. No need to get into specifics. You can say you have decided you are focusing on someone else or don’t think you are compatible. If you get a vulgar, disrespectful reply, it is recommended you report the profile to the app and document (screenshot for future reference).
Unmatching On Dating Apps: Unmatch, Block or Ignore
If you do decide for whatever reason to end a conversation with someone, there are a few way to do it. If you don’t send a message with an unmatch, block or simply decide to ignore and let matches expire, some people might be hesitant to believe things are over and you have moved on. I am all for being direct rather than avoiding uncomfortable situations when possible.
If someone sends graphic photos, vulgar material etc. no explanation is needed. In fact, it’s best to screenshot and not reply but rather block as unmatching or ignoring can result in a re-match down the road. Not all apps are great apps – most are buggy and it’s possible messages are received/sent so keep that in mind in case you decide to leave matches as they are. From a safety perspective, you don’t want people to see your updated IG feeds or updated locations on apps.
Apps like Hinge allow you to only see one like at a time and so in order to see the next profile in your like queue, you need to skip or like. Skipping the profile removes the like from both users (as if it never occurred). Sometimes this is intentional, sometimes it’s by accident especially if the user is new to Hinge.
UnMatching While Dating, Still Chatting With Someone
One possible red flag to be aware of is when a user deletes their profile right after exchanging numbers or agreeing to go on a date with you. This tactic can be innocent but all too often it’s a sign they are trying to avoid detection and being reported for a scam or something worse. Apps like Bumble have made adjustments to still view/report profiles that unmatch with you but use caution, look for other red flags in these scenarios.
Another reason people unmatch is to free up space to talk to other people in their queue or to prevent you from seeing their updates/changes to their profiles, photos etc. In either way, it’s a sketchy move and it’s something that you should take note of as it’s not a good sign to send to someone you are talking to on dating apps and trying to arrange a date with.
Online Dating Etiquette After First Date
Some people like to wait after the first date to see if/when someone replies about their thoughts about how the date went and any possible interest with respect to a second date. If you are waiting to express interest in a second date after the first date, it might be too late. Showing enthusiasm and subtly mentioning another date is a good way to increase chances for a second date. If a date can’t positively read you on a first date, there might be doubt and corresponding lack of interest in a second date.
A good way to follow up on the first date is with a text message after the first date to express gratitude for the person’s time and providing clear indication that you either want to see the person again or don’t wish to see the person again. Leaving things ambiguous or not communicating at all is immature. Many people (especially women) might feel uncomfortable making this known at the end of the first date due to safety concerns or unsure how a guy will react.
In some cases, neither party makes a move after the first date and things just hang in limbo. No one wants to be someone’s second choice and no one wants to see someone who isn’t enthusiastic about them. Dating is about matching etiquette, responsiveness while being vulnerable, taking chances and being enthusiastic and clear about intentions. Unless it’s obvious the date was a disaster or the person was an a-hole during the date, make it obvious that there will not be a second date. Don’t ghost.
Not everyone is as they appear on dating apps. There is often lying and misrepresentation in profiles and photos. It is one reason why I suggest staying on the app’s communication tools rather than divulge private numbers and contact information. People are too trusting these days and there are a lot of bad people on dating apps that prey on others. It’s important to be optimistic but cautious when using dating apps.
Remember, it’s hard to open up to strangers on a public forum. Be kind, courteous and think of the golden rule when communicating with others. Put yourself in their shoes. On the flip side, being courteous can pay off as it’s not uncommon for people to make friends on dating apps through failed dates or introduce matches to friends or other more compatible acquaintances. Keep your options open, don’t overly invest yourself in someone you haven’t met.
Dating App Etiquette – From liking to matches to dates
Online Dating Resource Guide: (studies, stats, surveys about the dating industry)
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
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