How to App Date Without Losing Your Mind
Tinder, Bumble and Hinge – AKA the trifecta of terror. Dating has never been weirder. Hundreds of virtual encounters are just a swipe away, but what happens when you actually meet? Whether you’re gunning for something casual or a full-time bae, app dating can feel like navigating a whirlpool of hot trash.
So, don’t panic if you’re up dick creek without a paddle! Instead, learn from the mistakes (and triumphs) of Harpy’s longest serving dating app veterans…
1) Safety first. No – we’re not talking about contraception (that much is obvious). If you’re meeting a total stranger, ask for their last name and do a quick social media sweep. Tell someone where you’re meeting and send them a photo of your date. That way, if you do get murdered, they won’t have to waste time with an e-fit.
2) One date at a time. Try not to get ahead of yourself. If the first date was fun, resist the urge to fantasise about sharing spaghetti on your Italian honeymoon and instead just focus on the next one. If it’s early days, having another date lined up with someone else always helps (but so does eating your feelings).
3) Have integrity. There’s no harm in showing your best side on your dating profile, or bringing the most sparkly, charming version of yourself to a first meeting. But if you find yourself dressing differently or listening to wizard rock (it’s a thing) just to please your new Tinder flame, then it’s time to re-evaluate. Trust that if your date doesn’t like you the way you are, they’re not worth seeing again.
4) Set your boundaries. Getting swept up in a new crush can be the beauty of it, but app dating has a tendency to escalate those heady feelings to a whole new level. Checking your phone 65 times a minute to see if they’ve replied, scrolling through their Instagram until you’re in 2009 - it’s as tempting (and destructive) as picking a spot. Give yourself time to breathe with a few simple rules, like setting your phone to ‘do not disturb’ at night and while you’re out with friends.
5) Accept your feelings. Rather than be terrified of ‘catching feels’, try listening to them instead. If you’re anxious, it’s valid. If you’re invested, it’s valid. If you want to run screaming from the room because your date turns out to be a Tory - still valid.
6) Consult your mates (but don’t always take their advice). Whether you’re viewing a new ‘situationship’ through rose-tinted glasses or overthinking every interaction, having a trusty pal to give you a bit of clarity will never go amiss. And even if your best mate’s mantra is “men are trash, dump his ass”, you don’t have to agree… (but you probably should).
7) Ask before you spiral. You’ve been on a couple of dates and exchanged a few texts, but you’re still strangers, and that makes it easy to get mixed messages. You might be super, but you’re not a superhero and you (probably) can’t read minds. Don’t subject yourself to hours of torment; just ask the other person what they’re thinking. Even if you don’t get the answer you hoped for, at least you’ll have an answer.
8) Don’t ignore red flags. You can’t judge people entirely on first impressions – we all get nervous, order too much wine and accidentally spend ten minutes aggressively recommending Fleabag. But generally, things which bother you at the beginning of your relationship aren’t going to disappear overnight. There’s no point overlooking a deal-breaker for the sake of your own hopeless optimism.
9) It must be give and take. Whether you’re always the one supplying the condoms or suggesting the next date, doing all that work alone is exhausting. Sometimes it’s okay to take a step back and see if they step in. Sure, it’ll be disappointing if they don’t (especially if that means no condoms at all) but the person you’re dating should at least want to hang out with you.
Wherever you’re at with dating, it helps to know you’re not the only thirsty thing out there looking for a good and/or long time. We hear you! To tide you over, here are some of our fave Instagram accounts whose perspectives on dating give us life…