There are 300 million people using apps Dating sites like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. I studied the many ways people use them and communicate, including conversations about health care during the pandemic and how they form relationships while traveling.
I learned that while apps While dating services are a great way to meet people, the aspects that people value, such as comfort, can also be a drawback. The social expectations of the use of apps in meetings can lead people to ask for dates too aggressively, or make it easier to do ghosting to someone, just when that person was getting excited about the idea of a date.
From crafting the perfect first message to off-line conversation, here are some things to consider once you’re done. match with someone.
Read (really) the other person’s profile
People don’t always read the other person’s entire profile before “liking” them, or dismissing them. Which is a shame, because people attach too much meaning to profile pictures and the way they present themselves — and it’s not about being as attractive as possible. People want to be liked for who they are. And they express this by selecting photos that show what their hobbies, personalities and values are.
Write an opening message with this in mind. Don’t just share details about yourself, or a generic hello, or shower the other person with compliments. Ask a question or two to spark a longer conversation. Mention something specific that the person wrote on their profile or did in a photo. For example, if the person has a photo of them hiking, you can ask them what their favorite trails are, or if they have any other hobbies.
This is also something to think about when creating your profile. Add a thoughtful question or phrase that encourages people to send you a message. Something as simple as “ask me what my ideal weekend is” can keep the ball rolling.
Be clear on your intentions
Make it clear what you want from the interaction, whether it’s meeting new people, a one night stand, or something long term. This can save you time and lead to a better experience. No one wants to waste energy communicating with someone who doesn’t want the same thing.
If you want to go on a date, you can suggest something like: “I’d like to come out and show you why I cacio e pepe it’s the best Italian meal.”
If you’re only interested in one night, clarify that you’re looking for something casual, but don’t talk too fast or too aggressively about sex – people find that off-putting. Instead, say that the other person caught your eye and you’d like to see if there’s chemistry in a night together.
Respect other people’s intentions and different comfort levels when it comes to taking risks—emotionally and physically. You can start by sharing what is important to you in terms of security. This can be health-related (like Covid-19 testing or monkeypox vaccines), or safety-related, like meeting in public places. It doesn’t have to happen in the first message, but these issues are worth discussing before a face-to-face meeting and it’s usually easier to talk about it online.
My research with other colleagues on gay men during the pandemic found that in apps of encounters, people gradually begin to move away from government safety regulations, to establish their own strategies and boundaries. Just because you feel one way about healthcare doesn’t mean your partner feels the same way.
Don’t take things to heart
It’s hard not to take things personally. Rejection, even online, can be painful. Could it be ghosting — when someone abruptly stops messaging you without warning — or simply when you don’t get a response after the first message.
You might think: “We gave match, which means the other person likes me! So why would you ignore me?” Unfortunately, this often happens in apps of encounters. Many factors influence whether the person will talk after making match, including sexual orientation and gender. For example, heterosexual women are more likely to have many matches interesting to manage than a straight man.
Women also often have the burden of security — filtering out matches to protect themselves. Whether it’s selectiveness, not reading profiles carefully or simply ignoring the inbox on a busy day, a match it doesn’t always lead to a conversation.
My research suggests that there are incompatible ideas about social etiquette in apps. Not replying to a message might seem rude because you would never ignore someone who spoke to you in real life. But other people can see the ghosting as a rule of thumb that the speedy interactions of the apps of encounters provide.
people are in apps meetings for different reasons. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s probably someone out there for you.
Exclusive PÚBLICO/The Conversation
Rachel A. Katz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Salford