In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible for single individuals of any age to avoid a dating app or site. In fact, it’s reported that about one-third of marriages starts online. So, clearly this phenomenon has caught on and is not losing steam anytime soon — or ever. However, with a craze that spreads like wildfire comes the inevitable overdose, right? With so many eligible people online and virtually at your fingertips, it’s natural to get overwhelmed. So how does one avoid the all-too-common case of dating app burnout?
“The brain isn’t built to cope with so many options, but from a Darwinian sense, we want the perfect partner and are somewhat driven to look at many choices,” explains Match dating expert Dr. Helen Fisher. “However, we don’t know how to handle this drive to look around. It almost becomes an addiction. The brain has a sweet spot between five and nine choices and, after that, you are more and more likely to get frustrated and choose none.”
So, there you have it: There’s literally a scientific justification for your dating app frustrations and subsequent avoidance. And, while you can’t fight science, you can definitely work with it a bit. Ahead, Dr. Fisher sheds light on some ways — six, to be exact — to better find that needle in a digital haystack.
“Look for reasons to say yes to someone and start a conversation when you see something you like,” says Dr. Fisher. “The brain is built to say no, and we remember the negative. Instead, think about the positive things when looking at your potential matches, and you’re more likely to be pleased with your progress.”
Don’t Run If Sparks Don’t Fly On The First Date
“If you meet someone in person for the first time and the chemistry off, don’t be surprised,” says Dr. Fisher. “The first time you meet someone is a huge breaking point, because you have new signals to take in beyond their personality when messaging: how the person moves, laughs, listens, and even looks and smells. First meetings are powerful.”
Narrow Your Focus Down To One — And Take It Slow
“After you’ve looked at nine potential partners, stop and get to know one of them better,” Dr. Fisher. “Additionally, temper expectations and don’t expect immediate chemistry. Cupid can show up any time, even months into a friendship. In fact one of the four paths to modern relationship is ‘just friends,’ and 40 percent of singles have had one.”
Avoid Starting A Conversation With “Hey”
“When starting to message someone, our Singles in America studies at Match clearly show that most singles are turned off by very short messages like ‘hey’ that are seen as rude, unoriginal, and not a good beginning,” says Dr. Fisher. “Keep the momentum of the conversation going by making sure it’s two-sided and asking them questions about their life. The best messages are clear, funny, kind and show an interest in the other person’s interests.”
Don’t Become A Pen Pal
“Make the messaging phase with someone as short as possible,” says Dr. Fisher. “The only real algorithm is your own brain in real life where you can pick up so many more signals. Get out and meet your potential partner in person.”
Also, when you do go on that first date, try an unfamiliar place or experience. “Meet new people in new places to stay more receptive to romance,” says Dr. Fisher. “Novelty drives up the dopamine system in the brain, which gives you more optimism and energy. Additionally, meet new dating prospects for only 45 minutes. In 45 minutes you can generally know enough about someone to then decide on spending more time with them.”
When You’re Frustrated, Take A Break
“If you’re already feeling dating app overload, put your app away for a few days, go out with friends and do interesting things outside of your normal routine,” says Dr. Fisher. “If you seem burnt out, your matches will notice. Revitalize yourself before you begin again.”