Does Online Dating Work? Should You Use Dating Apps? Pros & Cons of Online Dating vs In Person, Real Life? Is Online Dating Worth It? Frustration, Exhaustion & Fatigue.

As an online dating consultant based in San Francisco, I have worked with numerous people over the years with respect to their profiles, photos, bios, app choices, wardrobe, first impressions, vocal tonality, date ideas and more.

Before I jump into assisting folks who reach out to me for help, I evaluate their current status with respect to demographics, mental state and personal history to see if online dating is worth pursuing. Online dating is not for everyone but with that said it can be effective if you know how to approach it, know what it can/cannot do and know how to improve your marketability to others.

If you haven’t read this, please do:

Online Dating vs Traditional Dating (Online Dating vs Real Life, Online Dating vs In Person)

It’s almost harder to find someone who has not tried online dating than those who have – that was not the case 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. The stigma around dating apps has dwindled as people’s lives have been busier, more apps have flooded the market focusing on relationships rather than the casual hookup, and as more and more people have embraced how they met and shared their success stories.

Despite the growing numbers of users and success stories, there is a growing sentiment around the frustration, ambiguity and horror stories around scammers, cheaters and catfishing that flood the media. Everyone has heard a success story from a family member or friend who met their significant other within days of creating a profile but rarely do people share their misery about spending years on the same dating sites with little to no success.

Online dating can be brutal, there are a number of factors that contribute to success or failure including:

Location, Gender, Age, Height, Appearance, Mental Health, Photos, Approachability, Wardrobe, Career, Education, Politics, Lifestyle (Smoking, Drinking, Diet, Financial Stability), Kids, Ethnicity, Religion, Writing Skills

These are just a sample of criteria people are considering when looking at a profile IF they manage to get past your main profile photo. That is a lot of information to process in a few seconds or even minutes.


Deal-breakers vs. Nice-To-Haves, Dating App Preferences

Some of these can be nice-to-haves vs others are viewed as deal-breakers. It goes without saying that offline efforts are less discerning and less judgmental but when it comes to online dating, you are being compared to dozens of other people in the stack. With offline efforts, you are usually evaluated in isolation on fewer factors.

Online dating sounds awful – doesn’t it? Yes, on the surface, it sounds exhausting and tedious. Even if you manage to find someone who fits your criteria, then comes the validation. Did they lie about their age?

Are the photos old and the person no longer looks the same? Did the person lie about being single? These are items that require some in person verification only after some messages exchange and dates agreed to. Many connections never lead to a date. They fizzle, others end abruptly while some end before they even start.

I can trace most discontent of online users into three buckets: lack of options (location, demographics), lack of quality people (bad dates, lack of chemistry, misrepresentation), or lack of traction/engagement (no likes, no matches). This is no different from offline complaints but what is different with online dating is that judgment is usually applied more quickly due to availability of options on arrangement of concise, brief profiles.

It’s easy to try to correct the problems with more apps, more swiping, re-arranging photos, more messages – items I call a volume approach. Like in a basketball shot, people don’t necessarily become great with taking more shots, they work on their technique, they look at where they take shots, and they often times get help from coaches.

Online dating is a personal matter and I estimate over 80% of people either never get help on their profiles and the ones that do, get bad advice. See this article on Photofeeler about asking friends for advice.


Dating Profile First Impressions: Photos, Bios, Captions

When viewing a dating profile for the first time, I look at their photos, their bios, their app choice. I then ask what their intentions are, what their efforts have been to date to meet people offline or through apps. I look at their social life, friends, career, appearance, and see what state of mind the person is at.

It is very difficult to meet someone if you are struggling to keep your life together intact. Everyone is always working on themselves or should seek to improve aspects of their lives but it is hard to sell someone on you if you can’t sell yourself to yourself. Much like a resume, you don’t want to create a poor initial impression to someone you are trying to impress.

For one reason or another, some folks will have a challenging time having success with dating apps but rather than focus on a volume approach, focus on what you can control and influence. Look at what your photos, bio and app choice signal.

Are you creating the profile for yourself of the person you are looking to attract. Does your profile suggest someone who is looking to add someone to their lives to grow, learn, explore and be vulnerable or is your profile suggest you are hiding something, are insecure or are not sure what you want?


Online Dating Soft Skills: Writing Skills, Conversation Skills, Interesting Background + Hobbies

Just because setting up a dating profile might be quicker and easier than approaching someone at a bar or cafe doesn’t mean it is going to yield success. Online dating requires patience, effort, feedback, awareness as well as leap of faith, due diligence, being present, giving people a chance rather than trying to judge people too quickly.

These skills are also needed for offline efforts – there are no shortcuts to dating apps, they will not do the work for you. They are merely introduction apps – they can’t screen people for you. Online dating requires self-reflection – are you being unreasonable? Are your deal-breakers really deal-breakers or are they preferences?

You attract who you are, not what you seek. Don’t worry about others – focus on what you can control, what you can influence. Don’t blame matches, don’t blame apps, don’t blame your height or your weight etc. If you are someone who makes a great first impression in person, meet people offline.


Does Online Dating Really Work? Is Online Dating Worth It? Are Dating Apps A Waste Of Time? Should I Get On A Dating App?

Dating apps are not apps like DoorDash – they are not ordering apps, they are merely introductory apps. You can’t cut corners, and you can’t rush things – you have put in time to let things unfold naturally with pressure. If are not ready to take the time to get to know people or let people get to know the real you, dating woes will only compound.

It’s important to remember that even though dating apps provide an opportunity to meet more people outside your daily routine, it also invites more competition. You no longer are being analyzed in isolation, you are being compared to the person before you in the stack, existing matches. Dissect every piece of your approach and see where you can improve upon because if you don’t others will in their profiles.


Is Online Dating Safe? Can Dating Apps Make You Depressed? Psychological Effects and Mental Health Of Dating Apps

People are used to getting things immediately – food orders, packages from Amazon, order ahead apps, waitlist apps etc. Dating apps are different. They require patience, self-awareness, good photos, great communication skills and ability to screen people and identify red flags. If you are not in a good place mentally, they can cause anxiety and further depression.

You can’t just sign up for an app and expect to have immediate success. Even if you do well at meeting people offline, that doesn’t mean that ease or success rate will translate online to dating apps. Online dating requires additional skill sets beyond what you need to approach someone you like in person.

Relying on friends and family can be hurtful especially since they are not always truthful and brutally honest. Seeking unbiased feedback on your app choice, photos, smiles, wardrobes, poses, first lines, bios and prompts can go a long way to improving success rate on dating apps.


Why Is Online Dating So Bad, Why Is Online Dating So Hard For Guys? Is Online Dating Worth It For Guys?

If you go to any forum, discussion board or comments section of an article, you will see mostly negative opinions about dating apps. Yes, many people have zero success with dating apps and getting matches or turning conversations into in person dates but there are a few things to know. First, many people self-sabotage their profile with bad photos, lazy bios and boring messages. Dating requires focus, effort and self-awareness.

Others struggle with getting dates after matching. Not everyone is on dating apps to meet people, some are lonely, others are looking for attention or validating while others are just a waste of time. Improving your appearance and profile as well as app choices go a long way to getting more matches so you don’t have to settle. The brutal truth is many people are not ready for dating apps whether it’s their profile or mental health.

There are too many jaded people out there that should not be dating. It sucks to hear but is the truth. Many people don’t want to hear the truth and never get honest, candid feedback on their efforts and thus spiral into a pit of frustration. Ignore these people, they will drain you emotionally and physically.


Online Dating As An Average Looking Guy, Not Attractive Enough For Dating Apps

There is a lot of negative, mysognistic sentiment out there on dating apps that suggest men blame dating woes on not being attractive enough for women or that women only focus on the top 5% of attractive men.

Yes, being attractive helps but more so than just looks, it helps to learn how to smile, dress well, look financially stable, be approachable, take care of your health, and take care of your skin. You can’t control looks but you can control these items. I have seen tens of thousands of men’s dating profiles to know there is an insane amount of self-sabotage in photos and profiles (bios, captions and prompts) in general.

The other thing to consider is that being average looking doesn’t mean you have to appear boring, come off as ambivalent or indecisive or lack energy and enthusiasm. Many guys lack the abiltiy to show expression, be vulnerable, have social interests and passions rather than individual, introverted ones only.

Blame a tech culture that favors people who don’t have to interact with humans or societal norms that say people who are outgoing are more attactive. Either way, this has nothing to do with average looks as it does the way you approach life and present yourself.

Check out this post on how to be more photogenic in your dating photos.


Is Online Dating A Waste Of Time? Why You Shouldn’t Use Dating Apps

If you live in a remote area, are aiming for people too far away, lack self-awareness (realistic expectations) are impatient, don’t have good photos, don’t have thick skin, or hate writing about yourself or hate text messaging or hate video chats, dating apps are probably not for you.

There are many things required to be successful on dating apps so it’s good to see how committed you are not just to put yourself out there but do what it takes to attract the person you want.


Are Paid Dating Apps Worth It? Are They More Successful? Can Online Dating Work?

Yes, some free apps are not worth the effort but not all paid apps are better than free apps. Read this post to learn more about paid dating apps and premium features to see if they are worth upgrading for. Typically, focusing on your profile will yield a better ROI than paying for apps.


Is Online Dating All About Looks? Are Dating Apps Worth It?

Looks help but good photos are needed. You can be more attractive with quality photos but you can self-sabotage your looks with bad photos. Some dating apps are more superficial than others but if you know how to screen profiles, read people and attract who you want, then you can attract quality people rather than those just focused on looks.


What Is The Success Rate For Online Dating?

It varies. It depends on one’s self-awareness, realistic expectations, writing skills, photos, facial expressions, location, gender, age, lifestyle and more. For tips on how to have more success on dating apps, read this.


Why Do People Use Dating Apps? What Is The Purpose Of Dating Apps?

Some people use it because of their busy schedules, some use them to cheat on their partners, some use them as for penpal services, others use them for validation or instagram followers, a few use them to scam others and some use them to see what dating apps are all about. The purpose of dating. The purpose of the app is to use it more like a discovery tool and less like a food ordering app.


Advantages & Benefits Of Online Dating | How Online Dating Works

One is able to meet people beyond their routines, social circles. It’s also helpful for those that make bad first impressions offline. It’s merely an introduction tool so it’s up to people to get to know each other offline to discover compatibility, interest, attraction etc.

Dating Coach Services

First date ideas, wardrobe styling, places to meet singles, where to sit at bars and restaurants, body language, vocal intonation, eye contact, conversation skills, how to flirt over text, how to be more approachable and get people to start conversations with you, mock dates and more.

Additional Reading About Dating Apps: FAQ’s, Resources, Stats, Guides, Tips & Safety

Online Dating Red Flags:

What Do Your Dating Profile Photos Signal:

Online Dating FAQ’s:

Harsh Realities Of Online Dating Apps:

Psychological Effects of Online Dating:

How To Be Successful At Online Dating:

Is Dating Online Worth It? Online Dating Misnomer

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, 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, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally. 

Dating App FAQ's  |  Online Dating Resource Guide  |  How To Be Successful With Dating Apps

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