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10 Ways To Waste Less Time On Dating Sites

Online dating is like the universe. Constantly expanding and evolving with few clues to what we’ll discover next and where that might take us.

What started off as an awkward social experiment has become such a standard everyday tool that there’s no way of telling the coming surprises and new frontiers ahead.

One thing is certain though – despite numerous dark premonitions, dating apps have not killed love… and romance is a long way from dead. Whoever thought that apps (or dating sites for that matter) facilitate finding love was wrong in the first place – what they do is simply provide us with means to connect. A platform, an environment, a fishing rod if you like. While there is plenty of fish in the sea, you still have to do your own catching.

One thing we can agree with is that the overload of dating apps and sites presents us with so much choice that it’s difficult for us to choose – and choose well. So what to do to increase your chances of catching the right fish and wasting less time while doing so?

1. When faced with an abundance of choices… limit them

The first thing you can do to make things easier for yourself is to stick to one or two sites that you know are working for you. That is – there’s no point trying to juggle everything at the same time and sign up for Tinder, Grindr, Happn, Hinge, Bumble, OKCupid (both app and site), Match, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish and a plenty of smaller niche dating sites. Even if they’re free – it won’t make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for, if anything they’ll only make it harder. How so? If you’re inundated with choice it’s hard to stay focused, instead you’ll end up grasping for a little piece of everything. It muddles the picture and eats up a lot of time. Instead try and figure out what is you actually want – casual dating, some flirting or a serious long-term relationship – and find a platform that will be most likely to get you there.

2. Be flexible but stay focused

It’s easy to lose focus in online dating. Yes, initially you joined a dating site looking for a serious relationship but now that you’re here you might as well go on a few casual dates, maybe hook up with someone, right? Wrong. You know what you want from it and it’s not likely that your ultimate goal is going to change. Stick to the plan or change your plan, otherwise you’re just wasting your own time as well as someone else’s. It helps to keep a realistic aim in mind though: even if your plan is to find a long-term partner, perhaps even marriage material, don’t go crazy on planning your wedding if you’ve only just started talking to someone. It’s enough if you have roughly the same sort of expectations to start with, everything else will follow its natural course.

3. Skip the all-you-can-eat buffet

Don’t keep checking your account every single minute. Online dating can be incredibly addictive and it can wholly consume your life before you know it. But just like it’s clever to set yourself boundaries with your dating aims, it also pays to limit the time that you spend on dating apps or sites. As one article very eloquently put it: ‘When you use a resource more efficiently, you ultimately use up more of it.’ Online dating can be more about quality than quantity, but it’s got a lot to do with self-control. Gorging will not make the experience more pleasurable. It applies to dating just as much as to eating or drinking.

4. Slow down the swiping

Tinder makes swiping (or whatever the equivalent on other apps and sites is) look so easy and effortless. Flick – and someone’s fate is sealed. You can go through literally thousands of possible partners and dates in one afternoon, dismissing or accepting them within a fraction of a second. However, how does that help you save time? If you don’t want to waste time and actually find a proper date rather than a simple hookup, take your time and think before you swipe. Some say Tinder and other similar dating apps aren’t really for dating and that all they’re good for is hooking up but in fact it doesn’t have to be that way. Even Tinder has at least some sort of profile attached to the photos, not to speak of other sites and apps. It seems like such an obvious piece of advice that it’s almost stupid to put it down in writing but if you really want to be more productive, invest some time and read the profile.

5. Trust your gut

Profile-writing is tedious, we get it, and therefore few folk pay enough attention to it. What if someone’s profile just doesn’t give away enough for you to decide whether someone is worth your time and attention or not? This is where your instincts come into play. If you’re a seasoned online dater or app user you’re bound to know whether someone seems legit or not and if you’re not you can still tell some things by the photos, usernames or little bits and bobs they’ve chosen to put down in their profiles. It all boils down to this: if your intuition tells you the date will never really work out, it’s time to let go and move on.

6. Connect

If someone has got your attention don’t just sit around and wait for something to happen. Swiping right, winking, poking and liking their pics is all fine but it’s not very proactive. If you really want it to lead somewhere it’s important that you make an effort and really connect. Admittedly it’s a lot easier on actual dating sites or the dating app Hinge, which now has a new design so that photos are intertwined into the profile and in order to make a connection with someone, you really have to read what they’ve said and react to it somehow. Swiping isn’t connecting. It only creates an illusion that you’re doing something to find a date but in reality it’s just sitting and waiting for luck to knock on your door.

7. Interact

Once you connect, the next logical step is to interact. And by that we mean that you actually ask questions and pay attention to the answers. This initially doesn’t have to take place in an online environment at all – it’s entirely up to you if you feel more comfortable doing this face to face. However, it’s also essential not to skip this phase, no matter how you decide to do it as this initially decides it all. What do you want? What does your date want? What does (s)he like to do, to listen, to read, to eat, to drink? All these questions that really show you the personality and expectations of your date. Again, it seems like a no-brainer but it’s surprising how many people are disappointed in the dating apps because they seem to cultivate superficiality while in fact no app can ever do your hard work for you. If you really want to get down to business you have to mean business. Dating doesn’t just happen without you putting some effort in it.

8. Be honest. Even if it makes you vulnerable

Dating politics are horrible. Are you supposed to say you’re looking for a casual relationship or will that only make you sound shallow? Should you clearly state it’s a serious long-term thing you’re coveting or will that scare potential suitors away? How should you write your profile so that you sounded chirpy, cheerful and low maintenance? So that you sound like you’re ready for whatever comes your way… you know, just wing it, let’s see where fate takes us. Sounding cool and relaxed is the norm when it comes to online dating, as there is nothing as off-putting as neediness and desperation. Showing your true feelings and sharing your real thoughts makes us vulnerable and dating sites can feel like a battlefield where you want to show your strengths. Or at least leave the illusion of being strong. However, you should only be who you really are, even if it leaves you exposed to potential hurt. Don’t try to portray yourself as someone you really aren’t – in the end it will only lead you away from the path you want to be on.

9. No ghosting

Ghosting is so rife on dating sites that it almost seems an inherent part of them. But it shouldn’t be. For those of you who are not up to speed with dating lingo, ghosting is having someone you’ve been talking to or even dating for a while, suddenly stop talking to you and disappear from your contact list without any explanation. If you’ve ever been ghosted you have a clear idea of how hurtful that feels and how it can leave you reeling for a long period of time. Don’t do that to anyone else. Everybody deserves an explanation, all relationships, even online ones, need closure. And while we’re on the matter, leave no room for hoovering (trying to warm up a relationship online that has already ended), zombie-ing (a little like hoovering, only the intensity level is different, it’s more like going back to talk to old contacts who you once dismissed as non-dateable for some reason or another, usually because of better prospects on the horizon) and benching (only talking to someone when nothing better is on offer). Read more about online dating no-nos.

10. Accept failure. Then move on

Sometimes things just don’t work out. You might be doing everything right, investing an appropriate amount of time, effort and energy, being honest, contacting and interacting… but the dating game still falls through. It’s painful, we know – it doesn’t hurt any less when it happens online compared to offline. All you can do in this situation is count your losses and move on. Don’t stay brooding and pondering and trying to unravel the whole mystery of why things didn’t work out. Just move on. To a different platform. Another site. Or even take a break from online dating if need be. Remember – your time and energy are valuable. Don’t waste them chasing after things that are out of your reach.


About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+



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