Culture

A Dating App Expert Reveals The Secret To Ditching Duds For Great Dates

And the three letter word that instantly kills any date potential.

By Jessica O’Donnell
Dating apps are far from a new concept. But despite their omnipresent popularity among millennials, critics still decry them as the end of 'true' romance.
And honestly, it can be easy to see where they're getting that impression. Speak to someone who hasn't had any luck on a dating app and you'll be put off for life.
"Everyone on there is so boring" they'll say, looking like the picture of despair.
And while they clearly don't have a 100% success rate, the hundreds of thousands of happy relationships (or at the very least, fun dates) that have bloomed across the platform says they're worth a crack if you're on the look out for a new partner.
To help you navigate through the duds to the hot damns, we spoke to Lucille McCart from Bumble Australia, to give us her insider expertise on what does and doesn't work on dating apps. Plus, the possible reason why you're encountering so many boring people (hint: it's you).

How to make the first move without having a meltdown

You know the feeling—you've matched with a certified Sex God and you stare at their profile wondering why, oh why haven't they messaged me yet.
But hey, it's 2020 and there's no reason why you can't make the first move. If you're nervous, don't worry, it's normal.
"The first couple of times you message first, you might freak out and spend hours analysing what to say and worrying you'll come off too strong or not be funny. But you have to just give it a go", says McCart.
"The more you do it, the less pressure you put on yourself as you'll find your groove." Practice makes perfect, even in the dating world.

Nailing your opening line

Being blessed with a Mindy Kaling level of effortless wit would certainly be a big help, but we need to be realistic.
And while being funny is great, McCart says "Anything that is personal to your match works well."
"For example, if they have said in their bio that they are a huge fan of a TV show that you also love, talk about that. If they have pictures of them on a hike and you love hiking, talk about that".
The biggest no no? "Hey."
That three letter word may seem innocent but it can instantly kill the potential in a promising match.
"The most important thing is just to get going - and all of our research and data tell us that truly ANYTHING is better than 'hey'. Send them your grocery list before you send them that."

The dreaded ‘left on read’

Giving dating apps a genuine go requires a touch of ego bruising sometimes, but try not to take it too personally.
"There are a million reasons why they might not have replied, but unfortunately, you'll never know them", says McCart. "Lucky for you, there are plenty of guys in your match queue waiting for you to make the first move".
The temptation to send a follow up after an unanswered message may be tantalizing ("maybe they just never saw the first one?" says the stubborn part of your brain that's rejecting this rejection), but McCart urges you to move it along. "Let that ship sail, and most importantly don't waste your time worrying or feeling rejected by it."

Put a stop to your conversation rut, stat

If you're finding all your conversations are following the same "Hey, how was your weekend? What do you do for work? Where do you live?" and then never speak again format, the app-burnout is bound to hit you soon.
McCart says before you start decrying everyone on the apps as boring, you'd better take a look at yourself (ouch).
"Ask yourself what you're putting into these conversations that is leading to the same results," she explains. "Are you personalising your opening line based on your match's bio or
photos? Are you asking questions that open up an interesting conversation?"
"Instead of asking the usual things about where they live or what they do for work, ask something that can spark some good banter like 'when was the last time you laughed until you cried?' or my personal favourite 'were Ross and Rachel really on a break?'."
Infusing some of your personality into your opening line and the following conversations will not only help to spice them up, but also help you figure out if someone is a good match.
Speaking of matches, think of dating app conversations like a game of tennis, you want a good rally.
Both players should be hitting back with banter that will keep it fresh and interesting. But unlike tennis, a love-love is an ideal result.
Okay, we're done with the tennis analogies now.

Getting from great banter to a date

Wondering if there's a golden amount of messaging time before it's date o'clock? No, it really differs on a case by case basis.
"Sometimes you can form a great connection with someone after only talking for a short time, other times you might be talking for a while before you feel like you are starting to get to know someone", says McCart. "Both options are fine, and don't feel pressure to move at any pace other than the one you are comfortable with."
McCart adds that while it's a great feeling to be asked out, there's no need to leave it to your match to take the charge "If they are vibing you the same way you are them, they will love that you put it out there."
"Start off with something simple like 'what are your plans for the weekend?' which is an easy segue into 'well I'm free on Friday night, let's get a drink?'. Who can say no? Easy!"
If you're worried about your safety (an aspect of online dating that should always be kept in mind), McCart says there are ways to screen for potential odd balls, "look out for matches that have a verified profile, and remember you can use features like video calls to chat before a face to face date."

How to deal with a date ditcher

If your match seems apprehensive to meet IRL (but the app chat is poppin'), it's not always a sign that 'they're just not into you'.
"Try to keep in mind that everyone has a life just as busy and complex as you, and apprehension to meet up could be down to a myriad of factors that you aren't aware of", explains McCart.
"There could be any number of reasons a match isn't committing to a date - they could be busy and don't want to let you down, or they could be nervous to meet a catch like you in the flesh!"
Which makes sense because you are stunning, obviously.
"Don't count someone out straight away, but if it carries on for too long, remember there are lots of other people on Bumble who would love to go on a date with you".

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  • undefined: Jessica O’Donnell