Finding love through a dating app is a millennial pursuit - a world away from what older generations had to contend with. Tinder, Bumble, Happn, Plenty of Fish – online dating can be awkward, but, dare we believe it, there have been fairy tale endings. If you’ve ever used a dating app - whether as a complete dating novice out of curiosity, or every day - these are some things you may know to be true...
1. You didn't think it would happen
Everyone you know has dabbled in online dating, and while you used to mock your friends as they urgently swiped to find love, mentioning again and again how you would never resign to such measures, you did eventually sign up too. Alas, times are hard.
2. You have become more shallow
You learn a few things about yourself when using dating apps, namely that you find 99 percent of people online unattractive. This doesn’t sit well with you - looks aren't everything - but the name of the game is to judge at first glance, so you are uncharacteristically brutal.
3. You are offended when you don't 'match' someone
You are weirdly disheartened when you like someone and they don't swipe you back. 'They don't even know me,' you may ponder before you remember that the online dating world is an unforgiving and superficial place (see #2).
4. Everyone has the same pictures on their profiles
Boys are the worst culprits when it comes to generic profiles. The five pictures that you will inevitably come across are as follows: the one posing with a tiger while travelling in Asia, the one of a lads holiday, the one of a night out, the shirtless pic, and the one with a baby or younger relative.
5. Being confronted with a picture of a torso works in opposition of its desired effect
I don’t want to see your abs.
6. Height is more important than ever before
Putting your detective prowess into practice, you meticulously study pictures in attempt to gauge how tall somebody is. You wouldn’t think it would matter so much, but you’ve heard the story about that friend whose date turned out to be shorter than expected, and they were wearing their heeled boots...
7. You are sceptical when someone never smiles with teeth
Is this their photo face, or are they hiding something? What if they don’t have teeth? (It's actually happened before.)
8. You hate small talk online
Small talk is dull at the best of times, but online it's arduous. Receiving a ‘hello’ isn’t exciting (come on, get creative), but anything too ‘out-there’ is not permitted either (we’re picky like that, sorry). Oh, and while on the subject of date-chat faux pas, there’s always a joker who tries to chat you up with a derogatory comment. Get away from me.
9. You realise no one can spell
Grammar snobs may want to brace themselves if they wish to delve into online flirting.
10. You worry you are being catfished
Enlisting the aid of Nev Schulman crosses your mind a few times as the words, 'am I being catfished' become the soundtrack to your dating life. When all you are dealing with is five pictures, a name and an age, you become unsettled and your inherent itch to cyber-stalk goes into overdrive. We’re going to need your Instagram handle at least.
11. You talk to the strangest people
Why are people so weird? You may have replied to somebody once, but now they won’t leave you alone despite your blatant display of disinterest. Oh, and now they’re getting rude. Go away please - messaging-harassment is not OK.
12. Sunday nights are for swiping
That Sunday evening malaise is increased tenfold when you're in the cyber-dating sphere. What is typically a day spent being lazy (and often hungover) has become mating season in online form; lonely hearts across the country uniting to find love, as desperation (and boredom) reaches its weekly high.
13. You use online dating success stories as motivation when all hope is lost
You hold sacred those rare stories about people that have found love through dating apps. A bit of inspiration and motivation is needed at times of dating trial and error.
14. You wonder when dating became so difficult
In the good old days – like when your grandparents were young, or like in The Notebook (a fictional reference, yes, but we can dream) - it was the norm for two people to meet, say, on the train or at a dance (yeah, at a dance), and they would fall in love. Just like that. No digital woes or dating apps involved (or possible, granted).
15. Meeting someone for a first date is a bizarre experience
So, you’ve been chatting to somebody for a week or two and decide to meet for a drink. Then you remember - stranger danger! - so you make sure your friends know where you're going in case you don't hit it off and you need to be rescued. (Tip: to avoid the awkward bar/pub entrance and room-scan-for-the-person-you-sort-of-know situation, get to the date location early.)
16. You are convinced more than ever before that you will never find the right person for you
You may find yourself questioning why you got rid of that boyfriend from your early twenties, because the future is looking bleak and persistant online dating has quashed all hope you had.
17. You’ve deleted and then re-downloaded the app(s) more times than you can remember
A bad experience; a good experience; boredom; your interest in dating apps comes in bouts, or is short-lived altogether.
18. People will pop up on all social media platforms
So, although the novetly of using Tinder may have worn thin and you are no longer using it, people will continue to come out of the woodwork in pursuit of your attention. An Instagram message request is creepy enough, but how on Earth did they find me on Facebook?!
19. You hate seeing someone you know on a dating app
Your heart stops momentarily when you see someone you know, because that means they know that you’re on...Tinder... Spotting the profile of a co-worker or distant acquaintance is awkward, seeing an ex is not fun, but the worst is seeing the partner of someone you know... What. To. Do.
20. You become meaner
In most circumstances you wholly disagree with ‘ghosting’ someone. However, in the cyber-sphere the rules differ, and you have become well-versed in the art of ghosting, because that person just got really weird and you need to do damage control. You can’t really be hurting their feelings anyway because they don’t exist in your real life, so therefore aren’t real, right?
21. People are unpredictable repliers
One minute you're talking to somebody non-stop for hours, and the next they will go cold and ignore your messages. This strange yo-yo interaction seems to be common with dating apps, unfortunately. Actually, most of the people you speak to online you will probably never speak to again, so what is the point?
22. You swerve so quick when you bump into someone you've messaged online
What, this isn’t on the script? How dare they cross from my cyber-space into my real space. And how on earth is this situation handled? Headphones in, head down, quick U-turn.
23. You realise that no one is looking for love
As hopeful and as willing as you were to find love in the early stages of online dating, you soon learn that most people just want to hook up.
24. The third date is make or break
So the first date went well and the second wasn't bad, but for some reason people freak out after the third date, whether that person is them or you. Oh well, that brief smitten feeling was fun while it lasted.
25. If you’re in a relationship with someone and you met them online, you don’t say so
The unspoken rule: we did not meet on Tinder. A new story of how you met must be fabricated and put in place in case you get married. (But if you do you marry you will join the ranks of online dating success stories that we will remember - see #12.)
READ MORE: The Dating Glossary: Your Terminology Guide