Left, left, left, right. With Valentine's Day around the corner and IRL dates off the cards for singletons, Jemma Forte – author of romance novel Be Careful What You Swipe For – talks us through her tips and tricks for conquering the world of dating apps
Ah, dating apps; the highs the lows, the romantic – and the seriously offensive. What an interesting, soul destroying, yet hopeful world they bring. And I should know. I met my last boyfriend on a dating app. We lasted three years, so it was a relative success – and now I have some dating app tips to share.
They’ve made me laugh, made me cry and made me wonder. They’ve even given me the premise for a book. In Be Careful What You Swipe For my protagonist meets someone online and is very happy, until things go incredibly wrong and her entire life spirals out of control. Because there’s often a gap you see, between our constructed online personas and reality, and that’s the bit which can be tricky to navigate.
During lockdown, the number of people taking to dating apps rose exponentially. Does that surprise you? It surprised me, and I’m one of them. Looking for someone to meet who I couldn’t actually meet felt counter intuitive. But as weeks turned into months, I began to crave adult company and needed distraction. Online dating represents hope, connection, potential future intimacy and/or plans which don’t involve going to the supermarket or the flipping garden centre.
So, if you’re spending this Valentine’s Day planning ahead to post-lockdown, here are my top dating app tips on how to navigate the online dating jungle, because obviously I’m doing so well myself…
1. Think about what you want and stick to it
Want children? Don’t swipe right for anyone who says they don’t – even if they have a nice smile. There’s zero point and you could end up creating unnecessary heartache.
2. Be wary of the empty profile
A profile with only one or two pictures and no text. If they haven’t bothered, they can’t be bothered.
3. If you’re looking for something vaguely serious, consider the apps you pay for
Free apps like Tinder and Bumble are fine, but they require more filtering. Not everyone goes on with the noblest of intentions. Some people may be lying, married, bored, looking for attention or freshly broken-hearted. These types are less likely to invest when they can waste people’s time for free. You get what you pay for in life…
4. Be honest
There is really no point filtering your life away, posting fifteen-year-old pictures and then wondering why your date’s face has fallen when you walk toward them. Sorry, it’s true.
5. Don’t expect miracles, or manners
You will be rejected; you will be texting someone interesting only for them to seemingly vanish, you will probably get fed up with it all at some point. Remember though, it’s not you, it’s them. Don’t take any online skulduggery to heart, you need to be built of stern stuff and if you’re not in the right headspace they can be rough.
6. You can insist on a phone call or a FaceTime prior to a meet
It’s a perfectly reasonable request. Personally, I find it off putting when people are asking you ‘where and when’ when you’re still not entirely sure what their name is, what they do or where they live. By the same token, no one wants to text for a thousand years with no hint of a date.
7. If you receive ‘unwanted’ pics – block
That’s what it’s there for. Oh, and don’t forward the images onto your mother because she won’t be able to work out what she’s looking at and will spend twenty minutes saying things like, ‘But what is this darling? I don’t get it. Is that a foot…….Oh My God.’
Good luck out there.