- Dating apps are still pretty new, meaning they’re still really confusing.
- Three relationship experts weighed in on the biggest mistakes people make while online dating. For example, many people hesitate to say what they really want in a relationship.
- This post is part of Relationships 101, a series which aims to help us all be happier and healthier in love – and to stop fighting over who should take out the trash.
Online dating is new enough that there’s still a lot of confusion over how (or if) it works.
So if you’re staying up until 3 a.m. struggling to craft a Tinder bio that screams “single and ready to mingle!” but also “totally chill about this,” know that you’re not alone.
Over the past year or so, I’ve spoken to experts including a psychologist, a sociologist, and a dating app founder about the best approaches to online dating – as well as the worst. And boy, are there are a lot of worsts.
Here are the biggest mistakes people make on dating apps – and what to do instead:
1. Spending more than 30 minutes a day browsing profiles
According to Jess Carbino, Bumble’s in-house sociologist (she previously worked at Tinder), 30 minutes is a sufficient amount of time to spend on dating apps: 15 in the morning and 15 at night.
“People are busy, and they need to think about dating as a part of their life, as a component of their life,” Carbino said. “It shouldn’t feel like a job. Dating should feel like something that you’re doing in order to meet somebody.”
Instead of spending hours swiping, Carbino said, “It would be better if you were spending a couple hours a week on a date, or two dates, or three dates, and trying to get to know people that you’ve matched with.”
Carbino did add that, if you’re really active on dating apps, meaning you’re messaging with multiple people at once, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening is fine.
2. Obscuring what they’re really looking for in a relationship
“I sense we feel a little bit embarrassed about saying what we want in a relationship or a person,” Kang said. “There is, culturally, a trend of ‘caring too much is not cool.'”
Kang thinks this is kind of ridiculous: How will you get what you want if you pretend you don’t want it?
She said, “What I really want to encourage people to be is yourself. Cool or not, if that’s what you want, say that, because otherwise how is the other person going to know? And you really want to not waste time attracting the wrong people.”
3. Relying on an ‘algorithm’ to find their soul mate
Psychologist Eli Finkel recently co-authored a study that suggests supposed algorithms on dating sites don’t actually work.
For the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, Finkel and colleagues had students fill out questionnaires before a speed-dating session and used a mathematical model to predict who would like who. As it turned out, the mathematical model they used did a worse job of predicting attraction than simply taking the average attraction between two students in the experiment.
Finkel says apps like Tinder and Bumble are the best options out there, simply because they allow you to meet the greatest number of people.
He said, “These companies don’t claim that they’re going to give you your soul mate, and they don’t claim that you can tell who’s compatible with you from a profile. You simply swipe on this stuff and then meet over a pint of beer or a cup of coffee.
“And I think this is the best solution. Online dating is a tremendous asset for us because it broadens the dating pool and introduces us to people who we otherwise wouldn’t have met.”
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