By Amy Chau, NP
Department of Family Practice
It used to be that people often met their future spouse at a high school dance, in college, at work, or through friends. However, in recent years our culture has changed and dating apps have become one of the major ways people meet each other and develop relationships. If you have tried Internet or “app” dating, you’re probably aware that it has both positives and negatives. So, whether you have been “ghosted,” “love bombed,” or found a great match recently, here are some tips to keep things in perspective and make this way of meeting someone special a little easier on your mental health.
- Realize the advantages
In the “old days,” people tended to date within small social circles and limited geographic locations. Dating apps have changed all that and allow users to meet people they wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. This can give you a better chance to meet someone who you are (hopefully) compatible with.
- Have realistic expectations
Finding the right person usually takes time. Chances are, your partner is out there if you are persistent and have a positive attitude. However, although the Internet has made many meeting people a whole lot easier, dating is still as challenging as ever. In most cases, finding love still takes time and effort. It’s helpful to be realistic and expect some ups and downs along the way.
- Not everyone you meet will have the same goal
When you start interacting with people through dating apps, try to determine early on what they are ultimately looking for. Some people may be looking for a long-term relationship and others may be thinking a lot more short-term. A relationship has a better chance of success when both people want the same thing from it.
- Understand that dating apps tend to encourage superficiality
Since the main feature of virtually all dating apps is looking at and quickly scrutinizing photos, it’s important to understand that most people may make quick judgements about whether they want to meet you based mainly on your appearance. Try not to take this personally, as it’s simply a limitation of this way of meeting someone.
- Avoid endless swiping
Having endless options available on multiple dating apps can make it hard to decide who you want to meet. Try limiting your pool of potential candidates to between five and nine people and avoid constant swiping. This will allow you to engage better with the people you find interesting and hopefully find a good match.
- Virtual Interaction Doesn’t Replace Meeting in Person
Try not to spend too long communicating on a dating app with someone you like. The real test will come when you meet in person and see if there is a real connection. If someone keeps coming up with excuses about meeting in person, let them go and move on to someone more interested. Remember, eventually, you have to get off the app into the real world! For safety’s sake, always meet someone for the first time in a public location, and let a friend or family member know you are doing so.
- Don’t engage with anyone who harasses you.
We all know that trolls – those pesky people who like to harass or deliberately upset others – exist in cyberspace. If you encounter one, don’t give them the favor of a response. It’s best to just ignore them or block them entirely. If someone’s behavior truly concerns you, report them to the support team of the dating app to help protect others.
- Don’t be afraid to take a break for a while.
If you have a bad experience or if dating online is becoming too much of a chore, put things on hold for a while. Finding activities to enjoy can help ward off dating app burn-out. Meet some friends, watch a movie, or go on a hike. You can always go back to favorite dating apps later!
About Amy Chau, FNP
Originally from California, Amy first started her career in medicine as a nurse before becoming an advanced practitioner. “I decided to become a nurse practitioner because I wanted to care for my patients on a different level,” she explains. “I want all my patients to feel heard, cared for, and know that I am on their side.”
What Amy loves the most about primary care and family medicine is the opportunity she gets to educate...View profile View posts by this doctor