Hooking Up Or Locking Down? How to Navigate Dating Apps Today
Like many millennials, I have had my share of online dating ventures. If you’re in a relationship, my experiences may help strengthen your relationship and encourage a newfound appreciation for your partner. I hope that sharing my encounters as a young woman in the dating world will change how you approach dating in the future.
We have all come across those viral online dating stories. I have heard many positive ones, even with a modern fairytale ending, but I have not had that luck! I have been catfished, stood up on dates, ghosted despite numerous hours of conversation, and endured awkward silence during an hour-long car ride. I still don’t know what went wrong there! So what do years of not having any luck make a person do? In my case, I tested a theory I had and conducted a small experiment with a group of men on a dating app. Check this out, a couple months ago, I decided to do two things: one, send a “I want to hook-up” style message to 20 matches, and two, send a “I want to be in a committed relationship” style message to another group of 20 matches. My final replies to all the matches were the same to ensure a true testing of my theory.
I will begin with how the men reacted to the committed relationship message. Most women I speak with describe joining online dating apps or websites as ways to find someone to have fun with, date casually, or find a partner. If you fall in that spectrum, great! However, always clarify your expectations. In my case, for this experiment, I didn’t want to waste any time. For the first test, the message was clear.
“Hey! To be honest, I’m looking for something serious, more than just hooking up, and someone I can introduce my family to.”
I received mixed reactions, but the overwhelming responses appreciated that I was so straightforward with what I wanted, despite differing opinions. I also only got responses from about seventy-five percent of matches, and out of those that responded, less than five percent agreed that that’s what they wanted too. All the men were kind and respectful even if they expressed the opposite opinion. I set no expectations about the reactions I would receive, but due to my past experiences, I expected this to happen. This made me wonder, are men that are dating online really looking for a relationship? Why do they make profiles if their final goal isn’t to date someone? What is the point of dating apps then? For entertainment or just to see “what’s out there”? I was disappointed to not have received more positive responses to my offer because most women I know want quality over quantity. So what did these men actually want? I think the next theory proves the answer to this final question. In contrast, the next message I sent to the other group of 20 matches read like this:
“Hey! Just wanted to let you know, I’m only looking for something casual, no commitments, and someone to make my night better.”
This message was uncharacteristic of me to send but I felt like I got my point across. The variety of responses I received surpassed any expectations I had. Not surprisingly, I received one hundred percent replies immediately, and was given fifty percent confirmation that they were available to take me up on my offer that night. Only one match did not take me up on my offer and in his words, “you seem too good to be true and I am probably getting catfished.” He did not believe that a woman could be so straightforward with her wants.
Of the nineteen agreeing parties, the outstanding majority immediately responded in overtly sexual, forward, and direct ways. I was given a handful of cell phone numbers, even physical locations, and two matches shared physical information about themselves to provide more appeal. Slowly the courteous responses gave way to more straightforward messages, as my boldness gave the men permission to do the same. Are being straightforward and upfront the only way to qualify if the person you matched with is a true match for you? If I was more upfront with my wants and needs in my past dating experiences, would I be happier now? Overall, the most important takeaway is that before you join a dating app, it matters to decide within yourself, what you want. As women, we do not have to play any games or waste any time in deciding if a “match” is or isn’t the right one. We should mention our needs or wants up front to decide whether or not this person is the right choice.
In the past, I would give most men chances and allow natural conversations to lead me to answers. I have had fun and met great men, but I am single today. I have a solid idea of what I want so moving forward, I will only give time and energy to men that align with my standards, needs, and wants by asking the right questions upfront before getting too involved. We have all been there, sending screenshots of replies to our friends to get a second opinion about what they thought a message meant. We should no longer have questions or doubts in our minds. We should seek quality conversations with a tone that desires to know early on what a person’s intentions are. If they don’t align with your current need, then that means move on and keep searching. Whether you’re looking for a hookup or a relationship, lock down your intentions.