It’s been 45 minutes of staring at your closet, and there’s no hope in sight. You simply don’t have anything to wear. And to make it worse? You needed to leave for your date ten minutes ago.

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Finally, you throw on your go-to off-the-shoulder top with a pair of booties and race out the door. Walking into the quiet, casual (but definitely not dive-y) bar you think to yourself, “It was so hard to set up this date, and chances are it won’t lead anywhere.”

Spoiler alert, it doesn’t.

Does this situation sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Lots of people admit to falling into this cycle of dating. You meet on a app, make small talk for what feels like an eternity, then finally meet up for a first date that took a lot of effort (and phone data) to get to.

You arrive only to find that you, and the person sitting opposite you, have little to nothing in common. Truth be told, normally within five minutes you know they aren’t “the one.”

Dating is hard enough as it is, but app culture has created a whole new wave of maneuvers, formalities, and guidelines. The fact is, with dating apps you have literally thousands of people at your fingertips, but do you really have options? The good news is, yes.

The tricky part is, how to become good at dating apps — which is entirely different than being good at dating.

Like anything new, it takes a lot of practice, and we’re here to help. Many of us think our profiles are the perfect recipe for love. Group shot? Check. Cute — but not vain — headshot? Check. Pithy bio? Check.

But, chances are that your profile, your messaging skills, and your swiping could all use a little bit of a revamp. These common dating app mistakes blew our mind, and admittedly we were guilty of like 90% of them.

And with these tips, who knows, Someone Right could be one swipe away. Or, at least Someone Right Now.

You Spend Too Much Time Talking Through The Phone

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Raise your hand if you match with someone… only to text them non-stop without ever meeting?

We have a feeling every single one of us is guilty of this mistake. It’s totally normal to try and forge a connection with someone before meeting them in person, but there’s a line. You might think you’re just being patient with this potential partner, but you could be wasting your time.

Unfortunately some people are just looking for a new texting buddy.

They will ask you how your day went without fail, but never pull the trigger on actually hanging out. We hate to say it but this is a code red, red flag. Chances are this person is just lonely (and probably doesn’t have many friends to talk to.)

Don’t make one of these dating app mistakes where you are just a placeholder for someone.

Also, according to leading relationship coaches, like Erika Ettin, the best way to sense if you have chemistry with a potential partner is to meet them in person.

Yes, witty banter is great, but it doesn’t work as a substitute for reading body language. It also leads to one of the most surprising facts at all: don’t exchange numbers.

Yes, you read that right. Exchanging numbers loses the sense of urgency to move forward and set up that in person meeting. Also, the longer you wait, the greater chance the conversation will eventually die out.

You Swipe So Much You’re Developing Carpal Tunnel

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Ever heard of the old phrase, “too much of a good thing?”

Well, turns out it’s true, and it’s one of the dating app mistakes nearly everyone makes. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and of lot of those fish happen to be very cute.

Swiping on cute guys all day sounds like the best thing in the world. Cute hockey player? The pilot who has a great relationship with his family? There’s no limit of options on dating out, but that fact is, you should be limiting yourself.

Dating apps were designed to feel like a game.

And a very addicting game at that. According to a study done by the F.C. Donders Center For Cognitive Neuroimaging in the Netherlands, dating apps work in conjunction with the brain’s reward system. Essentially when you’re feeling low, it’s normal to seek instant validation.

Each match releases dopamine in the brain, which makes us feel better.

So, what’s the solution? If you’re looking to meet someone long-term, limit your swiping to 10-20 minutes a day. It will lessen your stress and make you think more carefully about who you’re matching up with. Remember, quality is always better than quantity.

You’re Not As Open-Minded As You Think You Are

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Admit it, we’ve all dreamed of our perfect Prince Charming.

It’s totally normal to picture the ideal partner. Ours may have an uncanny resemblance to Chris Pine, but who’s to say. It’s also good to be realistic and honest with yourself about who you are attracted to.

But be careful to not fall into the hyper-critical zone. Hey, you wouldn’t want to be judged solely on your looks right?

Dating apps first and foremost are based on appearances, and it can easy to cast people off without a second glance.

Let’s be real. Suddenly it can be easy to swipe left on someone whose job isn’t to your standards. Or maybe their height, build, and hair color isn’t how you pictured your dream bae.

There’s a very good chance the love of your life will probably not look anything like what your pictured, and that’s what makes it great.

They might be nothing you’d put on paper, but that spark is undeniable.

Also, if you saw them in person, you’d probably think they were super cute. When swiping, keep an open mind, and focus on someone you’d actually feel comfortable being yourself with. And for lots of us, that’s probably not a Instagram influencer/bodybuilder with an eight-pack.

Your Photos Are All Over The Place

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Choosing the perfect dating app photo is always tricky.

Finding the right photo is similar to finding the right outfit. You want something that feels like a good representation of you.

But the catch is, it has to be a good representation of you, right now. It can tempting to choose a photo from a few years back where you’re maybe a little thinner, or feel a little better about yourself.

But trust us, it’s not worth it.

People want to see the real you, and you’re just setting up for a disappointing first encounter. Plus, we’ve all shown up to a date where suddenly the person looks ten years older than their profile photo. Our advice: keep it to photos taken within the last year.

Make sure your photos are high-res.

Photos that are hard to make out really never do you any favors. According to Ettin, “People are making a snap decision, so if you’re too far away, or if you’re blurry, they will swipe left on your regardless of what you look like.”

Make sure you are front and center with your photos, and that they are well-lit and clear.

This leads us to another surprising revelation: lay off the group photos.

Too many photos with your friends makes it hard for the person on the other end trying to figure out who you are. Also, it can seem like you’re hiding among your friends because you’re not confident in your appearance.

Trust us, everyone will assume you have friends. Focus on having solo shots, and show them how fun and sociable you are in person.

A full body shot goes a long way.

We know, we know. They can be uncomfortable to take. However, it’s the best way to give a potential partner the full picture. (Sorry we couldn’t resist.)

Not only are people’s attentions spans short, they don’t want to put in a ton of work on a app into guessing what someone looks like below the neck. Also, according to the experts, leaving someone the option to jump to a conclusion usually means they’ll jump to a bad one.

Try to keep your photos interesting.

While it’s always a safe bet to stick your hand on your hip and flash a smile, they don’t really say much about who you are. Also, they can feel stale fast, especially if they’re the only ten photos in your profile.

And guess who else is using the hand-on-the-hip photo? Everyone else in the dating pool.

We’re not saying you need to go out and stage an entire photo shoot, but try to use images that demonstrate your hobbies and how you like to spend your time.

Do you play in soccer league? Throw a photo of your at a game on there. Do you like to read? Head to Barnes and Noble and take a funny photo in a pile of books.

These photos are not only cute, but they make it easier for the person on the other end to strike up a conversation. Sounds like a win-win to us!

You Might Be Using Too Many Apps

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But don’t more apps mean more options?

This is one of those counterintuitive dating app mistakes. The apps in your area are likely all populated with roughly the same group of people, so you’re not really losing out on finding that perfect person.

Dividing your time between tons of different apps doesn’t mean more time spent on finding some, and in all likelihood it will just lead to quicker burnout with dating apps. And if you’re feeling frustrated by the whole dating app process it’s just going to lead to a negative feeling about any potential matches.

Find the dating app that’s right for you.

The right app is going to be different for everyone. We’ve all had friends meet, and marry, the love of their life on Tinder. But, we feel like we’ve never gotten anything but bros looking for a quick hookup.

Either way, it’s good to take into account which app you’ve had the most success with, and had the best experience using.

Because let’s face it: Your friends are great, but when it comes to dating, it has to be comfortable for you.

Do you research and see which apps align with what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping for a serious relationship, Match and OkCupid tend to be more relationship-oriented apps. Focusing your energy on one or two apps will help you make more selective choices.

Remember – swipe smarter, not harder.

You’re Blocked Off Emotionally

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We get it, putting yourself out there is scary.

When talking to someone new, there’s always that exciting element of flirtation and a world of possibility. Pretty soon you’re texting your friends in a flat out panic.

“Why didn’t he text me back?” “Was asking how his day was taking it too far?” “Do you think that comma in the last message means they’re angry?”

It’s a rabbit hole of doubt. It’s also the time that witty banter and sarcastic flirting tend to take up the conversation. Don’t get us wrong, that stuff is great, and having chemistry is essential.

But, try to steer the conversation a little more strategically.

If you stick to surface conversations, it can be easy for them to die out quickly. Also, while looking for a serious partner, it’s good to try and dig a little deeper, and see if you really connect on an emotional level. We admit, that we tend to be pretty closed when talking to new matches.

It’s fair to not want to share your deepest secrets.

However, there’s a good mix where you can make the conversation more personal. Ask something you’d really want to know. What’s their family like? Do they like their job?

Making things a bit more personal will help establish a real connection, and might just force you to let some of your walls down too.

You’re Being The Most Generic Version Of Yourself

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Are you really being your authentic self?

Crafting a dating profile is no easy task. It’s hard to figure out what to put in it that will appeal to people, and it’s definitely never easy to put yourself on display. Unfortunately, we tend to fall into the trend of trying to market to literally everyone.

We get it. You want to cast a wide net and get the most matches possible.

This does the exact opposite.

If you’re scrolling through a dating app and someone only has one word or sarcastic answers, you really don’t feel like they’re super invested in trying. Also, it is nearly impossible to start a conversation with them, since there is nothing to go on.

Try to work on making your bio something that highlights how unique you are as a person.

Include what you like to do, favorite show to binge watch, or what makes you weird.

Trust us, people will love the real you. Also, it’s much better to know up front if you click with someone. If you don’t like camping, and someone you match with is a super outdoorsy, chances are you will have very different ideas of fun.

Plus, finding someone who you actually have things in common with will lead to more successful (and dare we say, fun) dates.

You’re Already Picturing What Your Kids Will Look Like

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Could he be the one?

My goodness, you’ve done it. The impossible. You matched with the person you thought was WAY out of your league, and you’ve been messaging each other ever since. You send all of your friends their profile and it’s a resounding, “Yippeee!”

There’s only one problem. You don’t actually know anything about this guy.

Dating apps are built to make someone look like the perfect package. Even age, height, and job are all listed, and you can set your own perimeters. This can lend itself to putting people on a pedestal.

Building someone up in your imagination will almost always blow up in your face.

We all do it. We start picturing what their family is like, and going to their place for Christmas. (The family loves you immediately of course.)

Then it’s a slippery slope to fantasizing about your wedding, your kids, and growing old together. It all sounds perfect, but you haven’t even met them yet.

If you imagine everything about them, it’s easy to attribute qualities and personality traits they have before you even know them.

And, may we just say, they’e often qualities no one could live up to in the long run. When you meet in person and they end up saying something that contradicts the fantasy version of them you’ve made in your head, you’ll be disappointed.

Give the REAL person a chance to “wow” you. You might just be glad you did.

You’re Not Having Fun

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Dating first and foremost should be about getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people.

If you wake up and dread checking your dating apps, answering messages, or have an urge to bail on mid-week date, it’s OK. Dating should be a fun experience, and if it starts to feel like a second job it’s good to take a breather. Checking in with yourself and seeing how you’re feeling is crucial to avoiding total burnout.

Maybe slow it down a bit.

Only go on dates with someone you’re really excited about. Also, if you’re always feeling worn down, it’s OK to limit it to only meeting one person per week for a date. Have an honest conversation with yourself and figure out what works best for you.

The person who’s meant to be with you is out there, and don’t worry you’ll find them.

Dating can be stressful, but try to relax and enjoy the ride. Even if you’ve made some of these dating app mistakes in the past, we promise you’ll find love one day. And if you’ve found someone — but they say they aren’t ready for a relationship when you do — here is what to do.

 

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