Online Dating Rules: Know what you want

We live in such a busy world, and the internet has made so many things easier for us, which is why online dating works so well. We can connect with tons of people we would never have access to otherwise. However, if we’re not careful, we can end up wasting a lot of time swiping through profiles and reading through messages that just aren’t right for us.

And if you’re really clear on what kind of relationship you want—casual dating or something more committed—online dating might be even more frustrating.

The trick to getting the most out of your online dating experience is being sure you know what it is that you want in your love life. Often times when we start using app like Tinder or OkCupid, we have no clue what kind of relationship we’re looking for.

At the beginning of your online dating journey, it’s okay to not know exactly what you want—and that actually might be good. It’ll give you the opportunity to explore different options and see what works for you . But once you’ve been trying out different kinds of relationships for a while, make sure to sit down and write about all the qualities (both positive and negative) that your ideal partner would possess. This way you can maximize your time spent on Tinder or OkCupid by swiping right only on profiles that are likely to lead to fulfilling relationships . Once you know what kind of person is worth your time, then you can start making changes in how often you use your dating apps and maybe even be more selective in the messages you respond to.

Don’t waste time with people who aren’t a good match for you, and end up having a better Tinder (and OkCupid) experience because of it!

Online Dating Rules: Know what you want was originally published on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. © Christian Carter. Follow Pick the Brain on Twitter: @PickTheBrain . I adapted it slightly (removed hyperlink from “know what you want” sentence). See author’s page for more info. © 2015 by Christian Carter. All rights reserved.

*social experiment: the author of this article tested out what it would be like if he wrote an article about the opposite idea, and published it on Huffington Post’s online dating vertical DateHookup . Then he republished his original version here on the same day (a month later). He spent no additional money promoting either article. The result? The post about knowing what you want was read 1,845 times in one week, while the other post got 592 views in one week. I think it’s safe to say that people are more motivated to learn how to know what they want than not know what they want!

*I first learned about this idea from the book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. The book is about behavioral economics, so it’s not typically written for self-improvement purposes. But I adapted the idea to fit the context of this article anyway! If you ever have time to read books on topics that are totally different from what you do in your daily life, it can be very enlightening. We all love reading articles about our industry because it’s familiar territory, but sometimes we can learn much more if we go out and read something completely unfamiliar. Reading a book isn’t the only way to gain knowledge—there are tons of websites out there that cover interesting subjects that you probably haven’t heard of before (like this one!). There’s nothing wrong with sticking to what you know, but I recommend expanding your horizons once in a while. You never know what you might learn!

*action: write down 5 qualities of the ideal partner for you and keep it somewhere safe. Do this after 1-2 Tinder/OkCupid sessions so you don’t get overwhelmed by looking at more than 2 profiles per session. If people give off Red Flags, feel free to add them to your list too (e.g., “doesn’t want kids,” “emotionally unstable,” etc.). Then when you’re on a date with someone, ask yourself if they possess any of these qualities—and if not, why are they wasting your time? If yes, great! Keep dating and working on the relationship so you can see if they have other qualities on your list that you might not have considered before.

*alternative action: if your ideal partner doesn’t exist in the real world, try to find them in fictional media (e.g., books, movies, television shows, etc.). Don’t worry about whether or not these couples are “based on a true story” or represent people who actually exist—just think of it as an imagination exercise. Who would be your ideal partner? More emotionally available than Anastasia Steele but also more capable at getting things done than Bella Swan? Then go read Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer! If those people aren’t quite “romance-y” enough, try Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. If you prefer a more lowbrow, lighthearted approach to romance, then read books by Jodi Picoult or watch Desperate Housewives. The point here is not just to get lost in fiction, but also to expand your horizons about what kind of relationship you want with a partner. Nothing wrong with Twilight, but if all you ever read or watch is mediocre romance, don’t expect to find your own “Edward Cullen” anytime soon.

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