Children of the late 70’s, through the 80’s and 90’s are aware of the transition from ‘in person’ flirting, based on personal interaction, to a more digital form. The creation of ICQ (many of you may not even know this existed), Yahoo chat rooms, MSN messenger, Facebook and most recently, the many dating apps like Tinder, is reflective of how a constraint for time (whether real or imagined) has reduced the search for love/companionship to a simple action, of either Swipe Left or Swipe Right. If you remember the adage, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ it seems archaic now, because we make our love decisions in a snap… based on, only what’s on the cover. Fact of the matter is, we have all been reduced to a profile picture and are meant to describe ourselves under the “About Me” section , where every word and picture is up for judgment to the online community.
Image source: Tinder App
The entire experience of “love at first sight” has been morphed to “love at first swipe”. As a guy using the multiple dating apps, my personal experience is what I am relying on to share my dating advice :
Things to Adopt:
- Earn respect and not attention: Since there is a fine line between being respectful and vying for attention, you need to establish respect from the get go. Your first message can make or break the match. In the long run, remember respect goes a long way and attention is only temporary.
- Good grammar: The “SMS language” was only created to deal with the limited number of characters in a text message, which has now been obliterated and the need to stick msgs “lik dis” is unnecessary. This is a huge “turn-off” for a number of people in the dating game.
- Be curious and ask questions: Do this to learn about the person you want to go out with. Think about your childhood and how you were encouraged to always ask questions ( in case your weren’t, it’s fine, now is as good a time as any to start) . This hasn’t changed in adulthood, asking a question leads the conversation to a place where both parties will have inputs to form an organic conversation. Remember it’s important to be curious but it’s equally important to share information about yourself, so that it becomes a conversation and not a monologue.
- Give the person space: To let any relationship flourish, one needs to give your partner/potential partner space. You cannot always seek for the other person’s validation or attention. Everybody has something going on, in their lives and we must respect their need to attend those matters. On the flip side, sometimes you may come across someone who finds it difficult to respond or gives the word space a whole separate dimension. This could mean a number of things, the person could be shy, an introvert or just has starting trouble.
- A Good Sense of Humor: Scientifically speaking, brain waves are most in sync when a good laugh is shared between two individuals. In my experience, when two people laugh together, they are the most connected. Start by finding out what makes the other person tick, adopt a fun and respectful sense of what makes the other person smile. Remember not to slip in a joke or a pun every couple of minutes, because it is an overkill. This may have you relegated to the friend zone very quickly
Image source: Google, copyright-free under Creative Commons License
Things to Avoid:
- Avoid being too Direct: People have their own reasons to be on these apps. Keep in mind being too direct can come off as someone who has got another agenda. At the end of the day, these apps were created to connect us on the most “shallow” level as possible. Hence ignore the premise of the app and don’t come off as someone who is on the app for just that one agenda of hooking up.
- Avoid Being Rude: At times, we might get matched with someone who’s not looking for anything other than a good conversation. It’s only natural for some people to look to connect via the app, especially if they are new in town or just want to find like-minded people. Always keep in mind, you will be remembered for the good you say/do and not the nasty impatient things that you might say because we are annoyed with the person.
- Avoid being desperate i.e. ‘Stalkerish’ behavior: Privacy is definitely a concern on these apps. In most apps, ones profile is linked to Facebook which is like a window to almost every aspect of your life. A match gone wrong, may give you the feeling that finding the person and re-initiating a conversation, may change the outcome. Remember this is a very slippery slope and more often than not is perceived to be desperate.
- Avoid too many Emoticons: I’m guilty of this act! I do find a well placed emoticon can express a little of your character. This is fun, but can quickly get annoying and hence needs to be used in moderation. Going overboard could give the person on the other end the impression, that you are struggling to make a conversation, or just maybe, you don’t have a good command of the language which you are trying to hide.
All the advice aside, the best thing to do is to be yourself and try to let your personality shine through. Think beyond the clichéd “Hey, how is it going” as an opening sentence. Most people on apps have probably got hundreds of messages like that, so they have no option but to judge you by only what’s on the cover. The simplest way is to be transparent and still not stay confined to a box, so that the person on the other end quickly realizes that you are exactly that book they have been looking for the whole time.