By Emma Stessman
Sure, dating apps can be a fun way to meet new people and maybe even find love. But they can also lead to a whole lot of terrible first dates, ghosted messages, and awkward encounters that could drive even the most Zen yogi crazy.
But before you hit the delete button (now that we’ve reminded you of some terrible Tinder experiences…sorry!), clinical psychologist Jenny Taitz, PsyD, is here to help.
Dr. Taitz is the author of How to Be Single and Happy, a book that offers science-based strategies to help you stay sane while navigating the often stressful process of looking for love—which, of course, includes dating apps.
Keep reading for some of her expert tips and mindful tools that will make you want to keep swiping without completely losing your sanity.
5 Mindful Tips for Using Dating Apps
1. Create a schedule.
“I think a big risk [of using dating apps] is that half of you is doing what you’re doing and half of you is on the app,” Dr. Taitz says. To avoid getting sucked into a black hole of endless swiping, establish a time once or twice a day to check your apps and respond to messages. That way, you can be fully present in your conversations both on and off the app.
2. Don’t be afraid to make the first move.
“Why wait?” Dr. Taitz asks. If you’re interested in someone, take the leap and send the first message. It might just pay off, since research shows that women who make the first move are more likely to have successful outcomes.
3. If you feel like you’re in a rut, switch it up.
If a couple of bad dates have got you down, try to switch things up by going to a new restaurant or trying a fun activity. Doing something different from your norm will help you get excited about the date and the person you’re with. “If you tend to meet people in the same location, like a bar, and it all starts to seem like a continuous, monotonous, negative experience, try to purposely change the environment so you’re able to connect with the newness,” she says.
4. Take some time off.
Dating can be overwhelming. So if you’re feeling discouraged or are in need of a break, don’t hesitate to take a few days or a week to disconnect from the app. It’ll still be there when you get back.
5. Look for a deeper connection.
If you’re looking for a meaningful relationship, an initial message that makes you laugh could be more telling than a swoon-worthy profile picture. “The most attractive person is not necessarily the person you’re going to connect with,” she says. “As much as chemistry is amazing, I think most people realize from their own experiences that it’s not enough.” To establish a real bond with someone, figure out what qualities you’re looking for in a potential life partner and use those as your matching criteria.
The bottom line is: dating should be fun. And apps are a great way to do it. So instead of treating a potential date like a disaster waiting to happen, think of it as an exciting experience with endless possibilities. “Approach (dating) as a new question mark rather than something you know the ending of,” Dr. Taitz says.