Thanks to dating apps, there are hundreds of thousands of potential partners at your fingertips. You can sort them by location, common interests, mutual friends, religion, occupation, and even based on your salad order (yes, seriously). But can all of that swiping really find a long-lasting love? The short answer is yes. But according to therapist Lee F. Carson, MSW, LSW, it's all in how you use them. Read on to hear about this expert's do's and don'ts to make the most of your matches.
Do: Keep an Open Mind
When you're filling out a questionnaire about your idea of a perfect partner, it can be easy to get caught up in the "must-haves" column. But having such a rigid set of expectations could hold you back from seeing all of the other potential dates out there. "Be open to meeting people that are not your exact type—most of us are looking for an ideal and it's not realistic," says Carson. This advice applies in terms both personality and physical chemistry, he adds.
Don't: Create a Negative Profile
"Don't talk about all the things that you are not looking for," Carson advises. He says negative profiles get passed over quickly, and you're only robbing yourself of an opportunity to put your best foot forward. "You have one snapshot to show who you are, so fill it with positive text."
Do: Be Smart
We're sure you know this one by now, but it bears repeating. Carson stresses the importance of meeting in a public place and never giving out personal information, like your address, until you truly know this person. But in terms of actually using the app to find love, you also must be smart at reading between the lines of a profile description. "Some people are good at selling themselves and dishing out a bit of embellishment," he warns. "Don't believe everything you read on profiles. In short—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Don't: Let It Get to You
When you hear time and again how many people are on dating apps, yet you aren't seeing them in your inbox, it's easy to let your confidence take a hit. But Carson says that sort of thinking would be a mistake. "There seems to be lots of supply and demand, so that makes it a challenging dynamic," he explains. "If you are struggling to meet people, have a few trusted friends review your profile and give you suggestions. The issue may be with how you are presenting yourself."
Do: Keep It to a Minimum
Although you may be willing to do whatever it takes to find your soulmate, Carson suggests keeping the number of dating apps or sites you use to a minimum—he recommends joining just two or three at most. With so many options, it's important to do your research on each platform and decide which you think will offer the most meaningful matches.
Don't: Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
If you're putting all the above advice into practice, your work isn't done yet, says Carson. "Attend meet ups or other social events that will bring people out who may share something in common with you. Believe it or not, people do still meet the traditional way!"