From our guest writer Kait Warman
Let’s talk about dating apps...
Who should we swipe right on, and how do we know how to pick out the good ones? Why do some of us have such a hard time when it comes to using online dating methods, and can a Christian truly be successful with online dating?
Some people don’t believe that good Christian couples can truly meet over dating apps. But the reality is that people are meeting online, including Christians, and the stats are there to prove it. Less than 2.6% of people now meet in church, and over 1/3 of people are meeting online, with this number climbing more and more every year.
I also personally know of a few great godly couples that met through dating apps, and there are tons of famous people that meet on them too. So it is possible to find success this way!
But if you’re having trouble with dating apps and feel like you’re swiping until you’re blue in the face, I want to help you understand why you might be having issues, and what steps you can take to help you experience more success in this area.
4 Reasons You Might Be Swiping Into Oblivion
Let’s get straight into it.
1. Lack of intention
The first mistake we make is that we aren’t intentional while looking for potential partners. Are you scrolling and swiping while watching a movie or sitting at a red light? This is like showing up to a workout and being on Instagram the whole time. Yes, you’re still there, but you’re not really present or focused.
Make sure to carve out some time during your day and be really intentional and aware. Don’t just do it when you have a random spare minute.
2. It’s a mindset issue
Lots of people have this mindset of ‘been there, done that. Online dating doesn’t work, there are no legit guys, everyone is only looking for casual.’ When you show up with a mindset like that, your brain will look for exactly that. So it’s possible that you’re setting yourself up for failure before even opening your app at all, because you’ve already decided it won’t work!
So much of swiping into oblivion starts with your mindset. Instead of thinking negatively of it all, think of the positive. It’s possible for God to have someone incredible for you online, and it’s possible that you can have fun doing this. Look for evidence of that, because you’re creating your own reality.
3. You’re too attached to the results
It’s really good to have clarity and know what you’re looking for in a serious relationship, but there’s a difference between having clarity and having a chip on your shoulder. Online dating is all about being open to possibility. If you’re too attached to a certain result or outcome, you’ll be showing up with way too much pressure which will make it hard for things to work out. Nobody wants to date someone they feel is just sizing them up for marriage.
4. They just aren’t your type
I did a compatibility series a few months ago on my podcast, and I talked through the reasons why we might be potentially eliminating people. And it often comes down to the fact that we have preferences that we are holding onto so tightly and treating like a non-negotiable. Maybe we don’t straight up say that, but we subconsciously treat it like that. And this shows up most on dating apps, because on dating apps we usually swipe left or right based on things like a person's age, height, ethnicity, weight, and location. Without even reading their profile and interests, you’ve already made a decision about this person.
So be honest with yourself. Why are you swiping right or left on these people? Maybe it’s time to shake up your idea of type and preferences. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? You swipe right on a guy who’s a little shorter than you and it doesn’t work out. Or you swipe right on someone that’s a different ethnicity than you’d normally date, and you end up having a great connection with them, realize you share lots of core values, and build a friendship together. You never know without challenging yourself.
And if you still don’t want to let go of some of your preferences, ask yourself this: would you like it if someone swiped left on you because they think you’re too tall? Or because of your weight? Think about if you’re doing this to other people and swiping based on things they cannot control.
Maybe you won’t transform all your preferences overnight, and that’s okay, but you can start by picking two things, like height and ethnicity for example, and being a little bit more flexible with them when doing your daily swiping.
So, what should you avoid doing when using a dating app?
One of the top things that we look for as Christians is to see if this person is legit a person of faith. But it can be a little triggering when someone dm’s you and suddenly starts interrogating you on your faith and relationship with Jesus. My relationship with Jesus is the most important thing to me, and so it puts me on defense when a person I don’t even know starts trying to figure out if I fit the mold of what they’re looking for.
When you’re getting to know someone online, you want to get to know the person, not make them feel like they’re being interviewed. This person has a life, and if your only objective is to find out how legit a person's faith is, it actually speaks of pride. We are not the spiritual or morality police. So instead be curious, get to know the person, and let their faith reveal itself as you get to know them.
Another thing I want to bring up is that we have put a lot of spiritual expectations based on what we think is right. And we think that if other people don’t speak or act a certain way, then we can’t be with them. But in this case, you’re just putting your expectation of what this other person's relationship with God should look like, without seeking to understand who this person really is and how they connect with God. You can’t judge a person’s relationship with Jesus over a dm.
So, what should you look for in someone’s profile?
You obviously won’t know everything about a person at first glance, but really look at their profile and pay attention to what they wrote and posted, because that is the impression that they are trying to leave you with.
What kind of photos do they have? Are they party pictures, mirror selfies, shirtless gym photos or bikini pics, just typical thirst trap photos? Do they have a thorough and thought out profile, or does it look like they just skimmed through it?
These things are a good indicator whether a person has a good character or not. Lots of times what we do is look at the first photo only and swipe right just because the guy is hot, without taking into account that they put zero effort into their profile. Then we wonder why things aren’t working out with anyone. What a person shows on their dating profile is what they are trying to tell the world.
This is one of the easier things to tell on an online dating profile. If a person has been intentional with their profile, they should be sharing what they are interested in.
You should be paying attention to this and see if you share common interests. Do they like dogs, read books, do they like CS Lewis, etc.
I say this to help you stop swiping into oblivion. A lot of the time things don’t work out simply because you don’t share common interests. This is easily avoidable by taking a good look at their profile prior to swiping on them.
Life and romance is not like rom-coms. In reality, you’re looking for someone to do life with. It’s important to be with someone that you can do life with during the daily, mundane things. You can’t put too much weight on physical attributes, because that’s not what’s most important about living with a partner.
So moving on, what are the biggest mistakes you should avoid in the dm’s?
Specifically to the ladies: not asking a guy out
It’s a myth that asking out a guy makes you look desperate. You can ask out a guy. Just do it, because the goal of a dating app is to get in person. So be willing to initiate a FaceTime call or date. If Ruth proposed to Boaz, you can ask a guy out too.
Using super ‘Christianese’ language
You should avoid all the ‘Christianese’ talk in the dm’s. This includes asking people how they came to faith. This is a very personal story that should be discussed in person. You don’t want to share all these special things over the dm’s and then have nothing meaningful to talk about in person.
You should also avoid sounding like a really weird Christian by getting way too spiritual in the dm’s before you even know the person. Wait until you really know them well before talking about these things.
Finally, what apps should you be using as a Christian?
I don’t want to share all the do’s and don’t without pointing you in the direction of an amazing dating app, because that just wouldn’t be fair. One of my favorite apps of all time is called Upward, and I want to encourage you to download the app and give it a shot.
This app is a catered community of singles looking for real, meaningful relationships that will lead to marriage. It’s perfect if you’re a person of faith and want to be with someone who is also in alignment with your faith and values.
This app allows you to really dive deep into who you are, why your faith matters, and what it is that you’re really looking for.
In this app, you can create a statement of faith and see what denominations other people are. And not only that but there are tons of success stories, even from people I personally know that have found their match on Upward!
So I really want to encourage you to try it out, especially if you don’t think dating apps work for you.
In conclusion, the results you get from online dating often depends on you, the steps you take, and what you believe about it.
If you really analyze your actions and change a few things in regards to your mindset, you might just end up having a great time, or even find your match!