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Dating Apps: Friend or Foe?

March 18, 20233 min read


Recently, I conducted a poll on Facebook asking the question, “What prevents you from having a fulfilling dating life and forming a relationship with ‘the one’?” Out of the seven options provided, two received the highest number of votes: 1) Not knowing where to meet people, and 2) believing that dating apps don’t work. This is disheartening considering that the world population has recently reached 8 billion. It’s safe to assume that among these billions, many are searching for love and hoping to find the one. Yet, the common response to a lacking dating life is often “not knowing where to meet people.” Quite ironic, isn’t it? Not long ago, I started coaching a new client who made a flat-out statement during our first session: “I don’t believe in dating apps.” It struck me as odd that someone would express such a strong opinion, comparable to religious convictions. When it comes to beliefs, we usually form them based on our personal experiences or influenced by the opinions and actions of those we trust or admire. We internalize these beliefs without fact-checking or seeking evidence. My client was no exception. When I asked about his reasoning, he claimed that “dating apps are only for hookups.” So, if we were to share the same belief as he did, it would mean that all 25 million users of Hinge, 75 million users of Tinder, and over 12 million users of Bumble are solely looking for casual encounters. That’s an awful lot of hookups!

After digging into the roots of his belief, we managed to deconstruct it and replace it with a fresh belief that serves him much better. As a dating coach, I strongly believe (and I am aware of the origin of this belief 😉 ) that any avenue can be an opportunity, any dating app can be a useful tool, any social event can open doors to chances, and any person you engage with in a friendly conversation, without romantic intentions, could potentially become a gateway friend leading you to an opportunity to meet the love of your life. Many form their negative stance on online dating based on a few unsuccessful attempts. Or perhaps it was a single, extremely disappointing, and traumatizing experience that led to this unhelpful belief.

I acknowledge that using dating apps can feel like a part-time job. It takes effort to filter through incompatible connections. However, this effort is directed towards replacing the frustration of a lacking dating life with the possibility of deep connections that could lead to long-term companionship. People are quick to label things, and “dating apps don’t work” is one of those labels. Dating apps are merely technological tools, and quite ingenious ones at that, which can bring you in contact with people you would have otherwise never met. They do work! I can personally attest to the validity of this statement. Few years ago I met someone on Tinder who turned out to be in a nearly two-year relationship with me. I also have numerous friends who have met their significant others on dating apps, some of whom have already gotten married and even started families. Online dating can be a valuable resource if used with the right approach.

Creating a compelling and genuine profile that sets you apart from the crowd should be your top priority. The next step is mastering the art of the opening message. Instead of sending a mundane “hey”, take the time to comment on something from the person’s profile that resonates with you, preferably not focusing on their physical appearance. If someone is attractive, they receive countless comments about their looks, and they know they look good, so those comments won’t impress them. Instead, comment on their smile or the location in their pictures. Making an effort and making the other person feel noticed and special will most likely elicit a response. Trust me, ladies read the profiles descriptions before they swipe and they surely much more inclined to respond to a unique opener than a boring ‘hey’.

In summary, dating apps can be a great addition to an active social life and can be highly effective when approached with the right mindset.

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Irena Polyakova

Irena, a passionate Life and Relationship Coach on a mission to transform the statistics on loneliness. With a deep-rooted desire to help people find love within themselves and in a healthy relationship, she draws upon her own experiences and a wealth of knowledge acquired through rigorous academic and life education.

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