Does Online Dating Work For Average Guys? Do Dating Apps Work? Are Dating Apps A Waste of Time For Women? Are Dating Apps Worth It?

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. I can tell you right off the bat, dating apps are not for everyone.

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.

Being successful requires more than just a good profile, location, height, appearance, smile, style, lifestyle choices, deal-breakers matter. Swiping etiquette matters as does understanding preferences & deal-breakers and messaging strategy.

Related read: Psychological Effects of Online Dating


Online Dating Pros & Cons, Advantages & Disadvantages Of Dating Apps

Below are some things to consider when deciding whether dating apps are for you. Online dating experience can vary from person to person so it’s important to be self-aware, brutally honest with yourself as dating apps require time, effort, communication skills, social skills, patience and continual self-improvement.

(related read: Why Am I Getting No Likes, Matches On Bumble, Hinge)


Who Is Most Likely To Use Dating Apps? Dating App Target Audience?

Those who are 18-75 are most likely to use dating apps whether they are curious to see what they are about, make friends, connect with people out of boredom.

People, however, should wait to use apps after college i.e. 22/23 years old at least and after they have experience meeting people offline.Ideal age range should be 25-55 depending on location, self-awareness, patience etc.

Not all locations, demographics, lifestyle choices are represented on apps so it’s important to research all app choices.


What Are People Using Dating Apps For? Should I Try Online Dating? 

People shouldn’t use apps if they are lonely, shy, or have never dated. Dating apps should merely be another way of meeting people in addition to organic, offline methods.

Dating app audiences are those that are looking to supplement those looking to meet others outside of their routines, schedules and social circles.

Related read: Online Dating Addiction Signs

Online Dating Opinion: Does Online Dating Work? Are Dating Apps Worth It?

Online dating is not for everyone, dating app fatigue is real 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.

Dating apps are merely another channel and may not expedite meeting quality people if you don’t know how to screen profiles, read people and put forth a profile that attracts the type of people you seek.

If you haven’t read this, please do:

Online Dating Reddit Post, Right Swipe Men vs Women

Online Dating vs Traditional Dating (Online Dating vs Real Life, Meeting 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. Dating apps are merely another channel to meet others outside your routine, social circles, neighborhoods and day to day life.

Related read: Is Paying For Dating Apps Worth It?


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.

Related read: Online Dating Preferences, Filters & Deal-Breakers


Dating Profile First Impressions: Photos, Bios, Captions, Prompts

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.

Related read: Questions To Ask On Dating Apps


Is Online Dating Worth It? Are Dating Apps A Waste Of Time? 

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.

Image Consultant: Wardrobe, Social Skills & Lifestyle

Eddie is an image consultant in San Francisco with clients in NYC, LA, and beyond. He assists clients w/ fashion sense, social skills, hobbies & interests, etiquette, being more approachable around others & making friends.


Can Dating Apps Make You Depressed? Psychological Effects 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 the 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 the success rate on dating apps.


Why Is Online Dating So Bad, 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, misogynistic 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 ability 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 attractive. 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.

Online Dating Coaching For Men, Women

Help w/ swiping, timing, app choice, messages, filters, deal-breakers, paid features, screening profiles, reading people, ID'ing red flags/liars/time-wasters, date planning, & using dating apps more effectively & efficiently.


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? Do Dating Sites Actually Work?

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.


Do Dating Apps Work For Guys? Do Dating Apps Work Anymore?

Like all things in life, nothing is guaranteed. Poor photos, hygiene, self-awareness, patience, effort, focus, approachability, location, deal-breakers will yield less success.

Sure being a person of color, being short, being introverted, being an awkward engineer can hurt you but you can overcome these things by improving your profile, strategy, timing, messaging, app choice and more. Dating apps do work but only if know how to use them. It requires skills, patience, self-awareness and strategy.


Are Dating Apps Good For Shy People? Is Online Dating Worth It For Introverts?

That depends. If you are a woman, yes. Lifestyle, shyness and a homebody preference doesn’t matter to guys as much. Add to that the gender ratio imbalance on dating apps, well guys can’t be that picky.

As for guys, it’s much tougher to do well on dating apps if you are a homebody, introvert and shy guy. You still have to market yourself and stand out from the competition given the gender ratios. All things being equal, extroverted guys will stand out more easily than introverts.


Are Dating Apps Superficial? Are Dating Apps Shallow? Is It Lame To Use Online Dating?

Yes, they are. Most people are pickier on dating apps than they would be at a bar. Lack of realistic expectations, amount of choices, and inability to take in other aspects of a person/profile (style, body language, confidence, vocal intonation etc.) make it difficult for people to look beyond appearance, bio for snap decisions.

Look at your app choice, talk to someone in your area to see what works for them or talk to a dating coach or professional.


Is Bumble A Waste Of Time? Is Bumble Really Worth It?

It can be if you are not located in big city or have awful photos. It’s really competitive and even if you get matches, there is no guarantee the other person will initiate a conversation or reply to your messages.

Similarly, just because you get a match doesn’t mean the guy is interested. Some guys swipe right on everyone on Bumble for efficiency because they can’t send messages and not every woman initiates a conversation after matching, so they end up using a volume approach.


No Matches On Bumble, No Matches On Hinge

Some people lack self-awareness or realistic expectations. Others have self-sabotaging items in their profiles and photos while others live in remote areas where distance is hurting their chances for success.

Take a look at this post to see where opportunities to improve yourself, photos, profiles and app choice exist to help you get more matches on dating apps.


Taking A Break From Online Dating, Taking Time Off From Dating Apps

Dating is a marathon, not a race. Things take time. Be sure to make time for yourself and don’t neglect other aspects of your life including health, friends, hobbies, family, career etc.

Pause accounts and come back when you can devote time, be present and not just dabble in apps. If you haven’t seen any success in 3-6 months, get off apps asap. Get some independent feedback, help (not from friends nor from Reddit). More on taking a break from dating apps here.


Online Dating Doesn’t Work, Dating Apps Suck, Online Dating Experience

It can work, but not for everyone. There are so many factors that can determine success, it’s impossible for someone to figure out if it can work for you. One thing is for sure is that a negative, jaded attitude won’t help you at all.

You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t have much hope and optimism paired with focused effort, good profiles and other soft skills.


What Is Online Dating Like For A Man, Dating App Fatigue, Burnt Out From Online Dating

It can be brutal but you can reduce frustration with some help, decent photos, writing skills, haircuts, grooming skills, wardrobe help, patience and social skills.

Much of the frustration a man experiences on apps is due to lack of patience, self-awareness, realistic expectations (location, distance, age, height), self-sabotage, poor app choice, lifestyle choices (politics, religion, hobbies, activities).

Some men never get likes, rarely get matches or ever go on dates. Dating apps can worsen depression (need thick skin, patience to have a fighting chance). Too many men rely on apps rather than work on themselves offline or try to meet people in person.

Dating apps are not a replacement for in person interactions, they are merely a complement (another channel).

Read: Dating App Fatigue


Online Dating For Average Looking Guys, Are Dating Apps Worth it For Guys

Online dating doesn’t work for average guys because the average guy has low-effort, unrealistic expectations, lack of self-awareness and is not ready to date. Dating is more about marketing yourself, being in a position to offer yourself rather than shopping on an app like if it were Doordash.

You can improve yourself by eating well, expanding hobbies, exercising, grooming better, practicing better hygiene, smiling (look alive), seeing a dermatoligist, dressing better, and improving your lifestyle choices so you attract more of what you want.

Looks are not just about what you are born with but how you take care of yourself.

Related read: How To Look More Attractive In Dating Photos


Tl;dr: Is Online Dating Worth it For Men? Are Dating Apps Worth It For Women?

Dating apps are worth it for some, but not all. Don’t have to be 6ft, rich or a model if you are guy despite what red pill incel forums on reddit say. You do need to work on yourself and not rely on apps for all or even most of your dating efforts.

Similarly, women can’t expect trash to take itself out. Don’t expect a guy to change, don’t expect matches to have read your profile or actually like you. Likes mean nothing. Evaluate effort.

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.