“Online dating is a bit like Costco, there’s an enormous range of options. You have to look for the fresh produce aisle,” says Coles. “If you grow up in a small community, you’re desperate for a friend’s cousin to come to town for some new person to connect with. Dating apps are fantastic in that they provide incredible options. You just have to use them carefully.” So before you begin liking, swiping and private messaging, it’s crucial to learn the rules of the road, so you can successfully make meaningful connections in the digital landscape. Here are Coles tips for doing just that:
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
You joined Bumble — but that doesn’t mean your perfect match is just swipes away. “Online dating is merely a tool to connect you with other people” says Cole. So don’t stop meeting people in real life: go out for happy hour after work, join an intramural soccer team, try a new workout class. Dating apps are meant to be an addition to your repertoire; they are not the cure-all. And they certainly won’t do the dirty work for you when it comes to falling in love, says Coles.
Take it offline as soon as possible
When conducting the research for the book, Coles was most surprised to see a central theme crop up: people were keeping their communication online for a long time before meeting in real life. “People will have texty, flirty exchanges without actually talking on the phone or meeting in real life. And you see people giving up days, weeks, months … ” she says. While they are brilliant tools to meet new people, digital exchanges shouldn’t be used as a means to determine if someone is relationship material.
“The key thing to inject the real person into it is get offline. Figure out whether or not this person is someone you actually want to meet in real life,” she says. “You want to try and connect with someone. And my strongest piece of advice is do not waste your time in a lengthy text, flirty exchange with someone, which people often do, because it may turn out that you are connecting with someone online, and you have nothing in common at all.”