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On dating apps but still single? Here’s why

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Gender Stereotypes Plaguing Online Dating, Study Says

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I saw this meme once that said something to the effect of:

Me: I hate being single.

Also me:

Doesn't reply on the apps for weeks

Cancels dates if I don't feel like getting dressed

Cuts people off for the dumbest things

ExploreDating coach explains what 'success' in dating looks like

I hear things like this almost daily from both clients and friends. They complain about not wanting to be single. But when I ask what they’re doing to better their dating life, I’m often met with avoidance, a shrug or a response of “um… not much.”

I’m going to say this again in case you forgot: Dating takes work.

We’ve all heard a story about a couple who met on the train or at the grocery store, locking eyes over the frozen broccoli. It’s a lovely story, but it’s also an outlier. Or how about that couple who happened to be at the same birthday party and couldn’t believe they’d never met before That’s lovely, too. But we can’t rely on serendipity. We can count on hard work … and even then, there’s no guarantee.

When coaching clients like this, I first look at their activity on dating apps or sites. Too often they have a lot of matches but not a single conversation with any of those matches. So we go through the app slowly but surely until it’s organized and efficient.

First, we clean out those matches. We look at the profile and decide whether to send a message or not. For the ones who don’t interest my client, we “unmatch” them, and for the ones who do, we send a short, often humorous message to catch that person’s attention.

ExploreIn online dating, more isn’t always better

Once we go through the matches, we swipe a bit. I like the rule of thumb “50 swipes or five matches — whichever comes first.” (On the larger sites like Match.com, try to send at least 10 messages a week.) Once we get any new matches, we write them a message immediately. By the end of the hour, the client should have a date lined up for that week. A little bit of work, either with my hand forcing it or not, to get a date or two lined up seems worth it to me.

I have a friend who is 43, accomplished and beautiful. Every time I see her, complains about dating, saying, “It’s so hard.” I love my friend, but it gets exhausting to hear,.

On a weekend trip away with her, I saw her swiping through Bumble numerous times. More than numerous, actually. Pretty obsessively. But for all that swiping, I never saw her send a message to anyone. Not one. And she has no upcoming dates on the calendar.

Unfortunately, this is how too many people do online dating... by not doing it. Whether it’s laziness or a just defense mechanism to then say, “I tried and it didn’t work,” I don’t know.

ExploreWhat to do if you hate dating but still want to date

If you need a new job, you take the time to put together your resume, maybe do some practice interviews, buy some new clothes and send your resume out to as many appropriate positions as possible. People don’t browse job postings simply to see what’s out there, never send a resume, and then get upset that they haven’t gotten a job. And then, of course, there’s the interview, or, in this case, the date.

So much comes down to people realizing anything in life that’s worth it takes effort, time and sometimes money.


Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.

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