Is Online Dating Hard For Men, Women? Dating App Frustration, Depression, Mental Health, Psychological Effects: Does Online Dating Work? Is Online Dating Bad?
As an online dating consultant and someone who has worked with thousands of clients I am here to say online dating sucks. It is something you will not hear from any other person in my position, but it is true. Why would I say this? Easy. Most people have no clue what they are doing and have no clue why they are experiencing the results they do.
I can bucket the reasons why people are so miserable with dating apps into a few categories.
Bad Dating Profiles: Self-sabotage of Photos, Profiles and Answers
Most people take awful photos, boring cliche photos, don’t know how to write about themselves nor know how to write good messages. Lots of people copy and paste awful prompts, pickup lines, bios and photos. If you try to play prevent defense on your dating profile, you will end up like the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
Be bold. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Be yourself. Playing it safe and using vague, generic short answers will make it hard for you to stand out from the competition. Use lesser obvious references to establish stronger connections online. Make it easier for others to comment on a prompt, react to a photo and inquire about something in your bio.
THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT WITH YOUR PHOTOS, BIOS, PROMPTS & MESSAGES!
YOU ARE ONLY AS ATTRACTIVE AS YOUR WORST PHOTO!
Not Knowing What They Want: Timewasters On Dating Sites
Most people on dating apps do so because of loneliness, busy lifestyles or offline inexperience with meeting people. I have a tip for you, online dating is no better than offline dating.
Dating apps are merely introduction apps. You will be introduced to hookups, pen pals, catfishers, spammers, lonely people, creeps and occasional folks looking for dates with relationships as a possibility.
If someone is vague, generic, uses laundry lists of adjectives or has lazy low effort bios, don’t make excuses for them. Most people are exactly who they describe themselves as online but that doesn’t mean you should take them at their word.
If someone is only asking you to meet at their place for a first date, insists on drinks for a first date, is too aggressive and asks for your number or requests to take conversations off the app quickly, take that as a red flag. People who are too smooth with witty pickup lines, are slow to respond to messages or only respond to messages but never initiate them, proceed with caution.
Patience, questions, difficult situations, time will reveal people’s true colors.
Dating App Anonymity: Inability to Screen and Filter People Effectively
If you want a hookup, great, have fun! Live your life. But if you are expecting to turn sex on a first date into a relationship, you will be sorely disappointed.
Know what you want, what you don’t want and don’t make excuses. Someone who takes excessive selfies is either self-absorbed or narcissistic or doesn’t have friends.
Someone who dresses provocatively, has half naked photos on their dating profile likely needs validation, is insecure or doesn’t want a relationship. There are always exceptions to the rules but with dating apps, you have to make quick decisions based on photos, bios and messages.
Assume nothing, assume everything.
Wrong Dating App Choices: What Are The Best Dating Apps
Not everyone is looking for a hookup on Tinder but to assume most people want a monogamous relationship is ridiculous. Cities where CMB, Hinge and Bumble are popular, Tinder is viewed as a hookup app. In more remote places, Tinder is the only choice.
Similarly, just because someone is on Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge or Bumble doesn’t mean they want a relationship or date. Don’t take people at their face value (THIS IS NO DIFFERENT From MEETING SOMEONE OFFLINE).
Lots of people treat dating apps like Uber Eats while you should be treating them like an app like Couchsurfing. The smartest people I know in terms or reading people know how to filter and screen Couchsurfers. For tips on which dating apps you should use, read this post.
Problems With Online Dating: Impatience, Too Eager On Dating Apps
If you think you can find the one right away or in a matter of weeks, dating will be rough for you. Just because your taller, slimmer, more attractive friend met someone asap, doesn’t mean you will. Love takes time. You can’t expect to flip the switch and meet someone instantly. Yes, it can happen quickly, but it is not the norm.
If you want to prioritize meeting someone of quality, make the effort with time, emotional availability, energy, effort and thoughtfulness. Be realistic with your expectation, develop self-awareness.
Dating App User Error: Online Dating Mistakes To Avoid
Many people do not know how to use dating apps. They think all apps are the same or all apps are similar to non-dating apps they have used for work, pleasure, productivity etc.
Dating apps main focus is monetization. They will get your hopes up, send you notifications frequently and prey on your vulnerability. Paying for premium features will not make you more attractive, desirable.
You can meet amazing people on dating apps but you can’t expect them to do all the work for you or have your best interest at heart. Don’t expect them to conduct exhaustive backgrounds checks or screen out creeps and time-wasters.
Am I Too Picky? Being Too Picky On Dating Apps
This article title Why Women Need to Date Carpenters Like Men Date Yoga Instructors does an excellent job of highlighting how men are less picky about women when it comes to age, education, height and income.
Similarly, for men being too picky because you feel entitled because of your physique, job title, salary or position doesn’t make up for character and personality. Women these days are far more educated than men and can afford to be more picky than ever before. There is a fine line between preferences and deal-breakers – it’s up to you where you want to draw the line.
Tighten your age range as leaving it too wide will cause you to receive worst profiles over time.
Online Dating Reddit Sub-Reddits & Forums
If you look for advice and tips online like forums like Reddit, you will go down very dark, disturbing rabbit holes. r/Tinder is filled with screenshots conversations, r/RedPill will talk about how women are the reason for men’s failures, r/HingeApp will make fun of women’s prompt choices.
There are some good pieces of advice here and there but it is important to understand the type of users who frequent such boards – single boys and men who have struggled to succeed with dating apps.
Dating App Fatigue + Dating Profile Fatigue: Getting Nowhere With Dating Apps
If you spend too much time on an app, either you will get frustrated and fatigued or the people seeing your profile will. It helps to update your profile completely (not small incremental changes) or take a break for a bit. Being on a dating app too long is not a good look for most folks.
Change your main profile photo, always aim to update/replace your worst photo (people will judge you by your worst photo). Get unbiased feedback on your photos, bio, prompts, first lines, app choices, smiles, wardrobe and approachability.
Over Swiping, Swiping Right Too Much On Tinder, Bumble; Liking Too Much On Hinge
Beggars can’t be choosers but if you swipe right or like profiles too much, too quickly, it can hurt you. Few likes or matches can lead to a downward spiral of despair forcing people to swipe more and get even more frustrated. Apps like Bumble and Tinder can penalize users for appearing like bots or not being too discerning (spending time reviewing profiles) by displaying their profile less and less. Some users then swipe even more to avoid repeat profiles while others pay for boosts that merely don’t do much.
Why Online Dating Doesn’t Work: Dating Apps Are Merely Introduction Apps. You Date Offline.
Online dating requires effort, knowledge, good judgment, time and good mental health to have a good chance at success. People too much pressure on first dates to be their everything, be their best friend be their confidant or be their therapist. This is too much to ask of a stranger.
If you are unable or unwilling to meet people organically offline, you will likely not fare better online. You meet online but date offline (flirting, planning dates, dressing up, being thoughtful are all traits that are need offline and online).
One thing most people fail to work on is on their communication skills, writing skills and general social skills. Expand your reading, musical tastes, food preferences, show/movie/podcast binging and keep up with local trends.
Is Online Dating Worth It? Online Dating Success Rate (Can Online Dating Work?)
I outlined some frustrations around dating above, but you may be wondering, is online dating it worth it? The short answer it depends on many factors around you, what you want, what you are willing to compromise, demographics and more. You can’t just show up, create a profile and expect results. Dating takes time, patience, self-awareness and being mentally, socially, emotionally ready and available.
If you self-sabotage your profile with bad photos, profiles, writing skills, don’t expect to be successful. Most people never seek independent, unbiased feedback. It’s like trying out for a sports team without training ahead of time. Can’t just show up and expect to make the team. Sure some people are more gifted than others, but you can’t expect one-off immediate successes to be common. Just because your hot friend met someone great in one week doesn’t mean you will.
Dating apps are a supplemental way to meet others outside your routine, daily life. Dating apps are merely introduction apps, you date offline. It doesn’t matter what you are in real life if you don’t know how to effectively market yourself online.
Don’t use apps like food order apps – you can’t expedite the process to find love, you still have to date, still have to be patient and still need to learn how to screen people. Bad dates are inevitable, but they help you get closer to what you seek if you know what you want and are willing to put in the work.
Why Dating Apps Don’t Work For Guys: Why Online Dating Is Hard For Guys
Many guys make the mistake of creating a profile without putting much effort into it. Would you send a resume with typos to your dream job? Creating a great dating profile takes time. It requires patience, self-awareness, realistic expectations and most importantly knowledge of dating app user bases. It’s always better to invest in yourself and your profile rather than pay for boosts that don’t work for most guys.
Some apps have high male to female ratios while apps like Bumble require great photos, bios and captions since men cannot message first. Other apps tend to fair better for short guys while other apps are best for more quirky, artsy and non-mainstream men. Even if you are an attractive guy, you can still do miserable on dating apps. Photos and profiles that worked on Tinder in your 20s may not work on Hinge and Bumble in your 30s.
Having a great profile and photos means nothing if you don’t know how to send a first intro message to a girl or if you just send likes without comments.
Read this post to see if you are optimizing on all fronts with respect to your dating efforts.
Why Is Online Dating So Bad: Online Dating Is Not For Me (Online Dating Is A Waste Of Time)
When all is said and done, dating apps are not for everyone. Whether it’s lack of self-awareness, realistic expectations, self-sabotage, ability to screen profiles, ability to ready people or unfavorable location, age or preferences, dating apps take time, patience and luck. Even if you have all this down, you still need to learn how to flirt, communicate well, engage in conversations and go on dates.
Many people lack the skills to filter out people, transition from online to offline or simply not willing to do the work to prioritize dating. Dating apps are not ordering apps, this is not Burger King – you can’t always have things your way. The purpose of dating apps is to get to know people offline through a digital introduction. Trying to rush it is a recipe for disaster. Enjoy the dating process, all the ambiguity, all the butterflies, all the possibilities but most importantly, know what you and learn how to screen for it.
Why You Should Quit Online Dating: Online Dating Is Depressing, Frustrating
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Spending more time on apps, downloading more apps, paying for apps and updating your profile may not yield any improvement with online dating. Having success with dating apps requires knowledge, focus, patience, awareness, and self-improvement.
If you spend too much time on dating apps and pouring your entire self-worth into it, it can affect others parts of your life. If you don’t get proper help from an experienced, trusted professional don’t continue down the dark path of despair. It’s not worth it. It can lead to depression quite quickly, easily.
Personalized Online Dating Profile Critique
Strategy (App Choice + Timing + First Messages), Photo Critique, Bios + Prompts + Photo Captions, Wardrobe Feedback, Body Language, Smiles & More
Additional Reading: Problems With Online Dating & Is Online Dating A Waste Of Time
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.
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