By Simon Spencer
So it’s back to the good ol’ dating game once again. It can feel a little daunting to dip a toe back into the pool of dimly lit dinners and awkward conversations. And the multitude of dating apps and websites—and navigating your way through them—may seem intimidating. Here are some tips to help you feel confident and ready to explore the dating world.
Be single for a while
Sometimes it’s nice to have some time to yourself in life. I’ve been single for a while now and it has been a very reflective eight months (and counting!) so far. Take this time to work out what you actually want from a relationship. You will start to realize that you’re a very different person when you’re alone as opposed to when you’re with other people. Even though some would say that being single is lonely (and they’re sort of right), I can guarantee that you will learn more about yourself in that time than you will with any partner.
Go out and meet people!
With my degree of obsessive–compulsive disorder, it can be hard for me to go to a bar or club to meet someone without feeling the need to perform a compulsive activity while I’m out. In fact, I get trapped more when I’m out than when I’m at home! While this is a turn-off for some people, it certainly gets conversations started. Be bold—we’re living in an increasingly inclusive world, so take advantage of it.
Start using dating apps
As a millennial, I can remember a time when society told us that online dating was taboo. It was only desperate and needy individuals who resorted to match.com, the first online dating service, back in 1995. How times have changed. We’re now the Tinder generation. So, if going out to meet people at bars is not your thing, spend a little time online.
Update your dating profile
Been there, done that? But when was the last time you updated your profile picture? Put your best foot forward and post a good image of yourself. No blurry shots and no silly hats. Next, take the time to write an interesting bio. You want people to get to know you a little and feel comfortable with starting a meaningful dialogue.
Where to start?
TINDER. Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Price: Free; Tinder Plus: $9.99 ($19.99 for users aged 30+).
The OG of the swiping game, Tinder is fun, easy and addictive. Some call it a hook-up app, but its makers and plenty of others swear there’s much more to it—especially if you’re willing to be transparent about what you’re looking for. If you really don’t want to see mirror shots, gym selfies or pictures from a person’s last fishing trip, this is not the app for you.
What you need to know:
• You get unlimited potential matches, so the fun doesn’t stop.
• You can swipe right, left or up (a.k.a. “Super Like”) on potential matches. You only connect when there’s a mutual match, but a person will be able to see if you have “Super Liked” them.
• Your profile pulls in information from Facebook: pictures, first name, age, college, pages you’ve liked, etc.
HINGE. Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Price: Free.
If you’re more comfortable meeting a person through friends then this is the dating app for you. Your potential matches will only be friends of (Facebook) friends or third-degree connections. Hinge is working hard to distinguish itself from Tinder, and with options for profiles that reveal more about your personality and timed matches designed to get you offline quicker, it’s doing exactly that.
Simon Spencer is a previous editorial intern with the Canadian Abilities Foundation. He is now a marketing communications coordinator with Tourette syndrome.