Why There Is No Such Thing As Online Dating And Why Dating Apps Are Merely Introduction Apps

Online dating is a term that has been applied loosely to anything involving digital apps and websites aimed at connecting people via online profiles, photos and some sort of swiping, clicking or messaging. Creating a profile on Tinder — is that online dating? Uploading photos to Bumble — is that online dating? Sending a message, wink or like — is that online dating? Depending on who you ask, you might get a slew of contradicting answers.

Online dating is a misnomer. You don’t online date — you meet someone via an online dating website or app. It is merely an introduction — view it as another channel to meet people in addition to your day to day life i.e. work, school, bar, art gallery, grocery store etc. Once you meet someone via online dating site/app you exchange a few messages and agree to meet offline.

Typically, 3–5 messages are needed to secure a date or at least present the initial date idea (a few additional messages might be needed to confirm a date, time, location and details). This is a rough framework in which you should approach messaging a girl once you match (or vice versa if on Bumble and the woman needs to initiate conversation)

-1 message to say hi and mention something you saw on her profile and a follow up question regarding clarification or more information re: photo, experience etc.

-1 message to introduce a date idea with specific day, time and location and nearby alternative plans i.e. walk, event or walking tour*

-1 message to confirm the date or present another option if plan A does not work for her

The biggest problem people face when exchanging messages is spending too much time going back and forth with endless banter or flat comments. Look at other references, background info or other more interesting queues in which you can comment on from photos and profile info. If you and/or the person you matched with does not have anything interesting on your photos or profile from which to initiate conversation, go back to the drawing board. Get better photos and rewrite your profile — help the other person out but do not go overboard and write your entire life story.

When it comes to the date idea — be unique, be creative and do some research! Grabbing coffee sounds boring but if you suggest grabbing coffee and going for an architecture tour, street art walk or floating houseboat tour, that sounds more interesting. Researching dates, curating experiences and putting forth the effort go a long way. Do not become jaded if a woman turns you down. Move on. Similarly if a woman seems unenthusiastic or dull, move on as well. Guys need to set the tone and put in the effort not only to get the ball rolling but to gauge interest.

Do not waste your time messaging back and forth. Be polite, enthusiastic, and direct. The more you try to play it safe or try to beat around the bush the more likely the other person will lose interest. If the woman has already matched with a guy, she has expressed interest in him and he should respond accordingly. If a woman flakes, do not take it personally. Move on. There are a lot of people on apps/sites who are curious or lack serious motivation to meet in person. Use good judgment and stop making excuses for the other person.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have any questions, drop me a note below! Read this online dating FAQ for more information on what to expect, some basic rules for creating a profile and more.

For additional tips about dating apps, profile photos, bios, prompts, check out my blog.