Should I Try Dating Apps? Or Are They Just For Hooking Up?

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I’ve always been a big fan of online dating.  When I was single, I met wonderful men online, and as a dating coach, I teach women how to date online effectively.  My clients have extremely high success rates – almost all end up in relationships, so I’m totally sold on online dating (for those who want to put in the time and effort). There are so many awesome singles online!

But what about dating apps?  Are they just for hooking up or can you actually find committed relationships and true love on the apps as well?

I used to poo-poo dating apps, thinking they were only for promiscuous players.  When Tinder came on the market, it seemed like it was the straight people’s version of Grindr, and most people were using it for hooking up (having sex with strangers).  But that’s not the only way it’s being used now.  

These days, sites like Tinder, Hinge, Happn, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel are very popular with commitment-minded singles. Believe it or not, many of my marriage-minded clients have tried dating apps and have had very good experiences.  In fact, some prefer dating apps over traditional online dating sites!

Here are some of the advantages of using dating apps…  

  • It’s super easy to start a conversation.
  • It takes less effort than online dating.
  • You can limit who contacts you by indicating interest (or lack of it).
  • There’s less rejection – in most cases you’ll never know who wasn’t interested in you.
  • You won’t overthink or disqualify people (because apps don’t give that much info).
  • With GPS location-based apps, you can see where people actually ARE (as opposed to where they say they are) and you can date someone nearby.
  • Some apps interface with Facebook, so you have a “friend” frame of reference.
  • Apps are quick and easy to use.
  • You can be spontaneous and meet someone right away.
  • You can go out on more dates than with traditional online dating.

Each app is a little different, so here’s a breakdown of some of their features…

Hinge connects you with friends of your Facebook friends, so you meet people from similar social circles, and you have a frame of reference – you can see which friends the two of you have in common (and do a little pre-date research).  This app gives you the person’s last name, so privacy might be an issue.  You’ll like this if you want to Google someone before meeting.  Hinge gives you a few matches per day and you have only 14 days to begin communicating (that is a motivator!).  I’ve heard more positive things about Hinge than any other dating app.

Happn connects you with people you cross paths with on a regular basis. Men and women indicate interest by “liking” each other and sending “charms”. If there is mutual interest, both parties can begin texting.  But I had one client turn off the app because she got matched with someone in her office, which she wasn’t comfortable with.  Depending on how you look at it, this app is pretty cool or kinda creepy.  

Tinder allows both men and women to show interest by swiping right or left, and there is no limit to how many people you can “like”.  I’ve heard from a female client that some men (and probably women too) swipe for the ego boost, with no intention of taking it anywhere.  So don’t take it personally if you match with a bunch of people and only a handful actually message you.  On Tinder, it’s especially important to indicate that you’re looking for a long-term relationship and not a hook up.  Tinder also lets you know if you’re connected with someone on Facebook.

Bumble is a great app for women who don’t want to get overwhelmed or hear from men they aren’t interested in.  On Bumble, both men and women indicate interest, and when they are matched, only women can reach out via text and they have just 24 hours to make contact, which I like.  

Coffee Meets Bagel (love the name) gives you only one match per day, which I love!  This app does away with overwhelm and what I call “online dating ADD”.  Studies show that people are more likely to make a decision and take action when they have fewer choices and for that reason alone, I highly recommend the Coffee Meets Bagel app!  As added bonuses, the app uses Facebook integration and singles can only connect if there is mutual interest.  

Here are a 5 important things to remember when using dating apps:

1. Your photos say it all.  With some of these apps, you can only use one or two photos and there is very little personal information, so those photos better be good!  Photos tell stories, so you might want to choose one that’s not only flattering but also interesting or fun!  If you’re not getting the response you want, try using a different one.

2. Make sure to indicate that you are looking for LOVE.  There are so many different ways you can do this – it’s up to you – but just do it!  If you’re ready to find “the one”, don’t waste your time talking with people who are dating just to date (or have sex).  Your time is too valuable.

3. Be careful!  Please use your common sense and be super careful.  Meet people in public places, let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting, and don’t give out personal information until you know this is someone you can trust.

4. Insist on a phone call.  Dating has become so impersonal, which is why I teach my clients that they must always set up their dates via phone.  If someone isn’t willing to pick up the phone and call (not text), then they’re not worth meeting.  ‘Nuff said!

5. It doesn’t really matter HOW you meet people – it matters THAT you meet them!  So regardless of whether or not you use an online dating site, a dating app, go to happy hour after work, or get fixed up by your great aunt Myrna or a matchmaker like me – just keep dating!  A smart strategy coupled with consistent effort is a proven recipe for success!  

I hope you find this information helpful.  I’d love to hear which are YOUR favorite (and least favorite) apps and why.

And remember, dating isn’t always easy, but you’ve got to make sure you’re having FUN.  Decide to be authentically you, have a positive attitude, be kind, enjoy being in the moment without worrying about the outcome, and just ENJOY it.  Sometimes it takes longer for our love to show up than we’d like, but “the one” is on the way, don’t you worry about that!  All good things come to those who wait (and put in the time and effort)!  

Have a GREAT day!  And go download a dating app!  What the heck – give it a try!