Online dating has become a part of many Australians’ lives over recent years.
Data shows 3.2 million Aussies used dating apps in 2022, with most users (26.1%) aged 25 to 34 years.
But as normalised as dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble have become, navigating the online dating world can still feel foreign and awkward for some of us.
We offer some online dating advice with these tips to make the most of dating apps.
Find the right app
Sure, it may seem appealing to cast a wide net and spread your eggs across several baskets. But if you’re looking for ‘the one’ on an app that has a reputation for being solely for quick hookups, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Take the time to do some research and ask friends for their thoughts on different dating apps so you can make an informed decision based on what aligns with your preferences.
Be honest upfront
Your profile should be an accurate representation of your interests and values – and your appearance.
Being honest and clear about who you are and what you’re looking for will increase the chances of matching and meeting with people you’re actually compatible with.
For example, while it may be tempting to add the obligatory hiking photo, if you don’t genuinely enjoy getting out and hitting the mountains, don’t include one in your profile. Stick with what best represents you and the kind of lifestyle you’d like to share with a significant other.
If you have any non-negotiables or dealbreakers, mentioning these early on can save a lot of time and energy (and potentially an awkward conversation or two).
And while it’s important to include photos that put your best foot forward, make sure they accurately depict how you currently look. If you’re misleading about your appearance, a potential partner may wonder what else you’re not being transparent about.
Keep an open mind
Have a strict ‘type’ you tend to go for? It might be time to let it go.
Maybe you exclusively date people with a certain aesthetic or you only go for people who share your love of a particular hobby. Or maybe you intentionally avoid ‘gamers’ or people who have been divorced.
While it’s not uncommon for people to have a type when it comes to dating, this doesn’t mean we always choose the right partner with this lens.
Having a strict type can cause us to unnecessarily limit ourselves and miss our chance with people outside this pool who could have long-term future potential.
Try to be flexible and open to new experiences – you may surprise yourself with the diverse range of interesting people you end up connecting with.
Skip the small talk
Small talk has its place, but it can feel generic in the online dating world.
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to starting the perfect online dating conversation, but asking considered questions based on specific information in their profile is a great place to start.
For example, if they’ve shared a photo of a trip to Italy, ask them what their favourite meal was. If you notice a dog in a photo, ask what its name is.
Not only will this help you stand out from the barrage of “Hey” messages from other admirers, but it will also speed up the process of getting to know each other and finding interesting topics to discuss.
Dating should be fun, not a chore. If you find yourself getting frustrated or if it feels draining, know when to take a break from the apps.
Don’t force it if you’re not in the right headspace or if your heart isn’t in it.
Remember to check in with yourself and lean on your support network when you need to. Sharing your experiences (good and bad) with people you trust can help you see different perspectives and build resilience.
If you need some extra help defining what you want from a partner or working through any relationship insecurities, speaking to a professional counsellor can help.
You can call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment, or learn more about our counselling services here.
For more dating advice, explore our top 5 green flags to look for in a new relationship.