It’s a familiar story to anyone who has ventured out into the world of online dating: You want to meet someone new, your friends are urging you to “put yourself out there” and so you finally sign up for your site of choice and throw yourself into the fray. After a few busy weeks of messaging and coffee dates, you suddenly come to a stark realization: You’re exhausted.
Because there are so many options out there, and because it’s so easy to do from your mobile device, it doesn’t take much for the whole process to quickly become overwhelming.
Since 2007, online dating coach Virginia Roberts has been working with singles to guide them through the ups and downs of dating online through her work as The Heartographer. She shares tips on how to online daters can avoid burning out.
Know which sites work for you
Remember that each dating site has its own culture and vibe, and one may be a better fit for you than others. “Only return to the sites that give you results,” advises Roberts. “Don’t feel like you constantly have to check the sites where you aren’t really getting responses. Go with what’s working for you.”
Don’t overthink the process
“You want to emulate behavior that is low-level output,” she says, meaning that you don’t always have to send out detailed, crafted messages at first, but instead can just hint at your interest. “With Tinder, you should swipe right a lot [to indicate you like the person] and not overthink it. You can apply that same philosophy to OkCupid by rating people five stars. When you wink at somebody on Match, it’s a way to let them know that you are interested. You should do that for people who meet your minimum criteria and put that out there very liberally.”
Manage your messages
Don’t let dating mobile alerts and a constant stream of emails stress you out.Roberts also suggests that users utilize email filters and other tools to send your dating messages to a designated folder. That way, you can look at your messages when you are ready to do so. “Remember, you are allowed to control this,” says Roberts. “Make it manageable.”
“It’s a good thing to take breaks,” Roberts points out. “Rather than going on a bunch of different dates all at once, you should spread your dates out further out than you think you need them to be.”
You don’t HAVE to reply to everyone
“When you are new to online dating, many people blast a lot of likes out there into the universe,” notes Roberts. She gives the example of starring or swiping right on 40 profiles. “If you don’t respond to all 40 people, that’s par for the course in online dating,” she points out. “The culture kind of expects that.”
“You can always go back to that person later. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed.” she says.
Remember, online dating is just one option to meet people
“Online dating should just be one tool in your toolbox,” says Roberts. “Keep in mind that it is not your only option. Find groups, activities and meetups that are built around things that you would do anyway. ... You’ll start to value every interaction over time,” she adds.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.