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Couple's dating experts tackle your questions

The Vibe staff   |   Fri, 30 Sep 2022

Each month, The Vibe invites the Couple community to ask a panel of dating experts (a.k.a. your humble editorial team) for their sage counsel on a number of dating issues. This month's featured question addresses a challenge that many of us have experienced at least once: abject failure on dating apps.

Check out what our pros have to say ... perhaps their recs will apply to you!

Q: Hi, experts. Really hoping you can help. I’ve tried every dating app you can think of, but it is ridiculously rare that I match with someone. I’m going to my first Couple speed-dating event next week and I’m worried I’m going to have the same experience in person as I do on apps. I’m a nice guy, and though I might not be a jacked model, I'm not terrible to look at. And yet I strike out consistently. Is it me? Is it them? I’m totally ready to throw in the towel and give up dating for good. - Dude Depressed by Dating, 28

Andy’s advice: Have a friend review your dating profiles

Hey, man … sorry to hear that online dating has been such a struggle. While it’s hard for me to give specific advice without knowing which apps you've been using (and how), my general recommendation is this: ask your friends to take a really close look at your dating profiles and offer their honest feedback.

Maybe there’s something about what you’ve written (or in the pictures you’ve chosen) that’s rubbing people the wrong way. Or maybe you haven’t provided enough details about yourself or who you’d like to meet, making it difficult for matching algorithms to pair you properly. A good friend will give it to you straight. (Seriously. If you’re always striking out and yet your friends say there’s nothing in your profile they would change, they’re lying to spare your feelings.)

Your profile is also super important when it comes to your upcoming speed-dating event. It’s what Couple’s matching engine pulls from to pair you with partners. I can’t stress this enough: provide as much info as possible about yourself and your ideal date. The more data points the engine can cross-reference, the better matches you’ll get.

Good luck out there, and have a great time at the event!

Penelope's advice: Check your dating profiles for unintentional red flags

Hi there, Depressed. What a bummer that dating has been such a bust so far. I agree with Andy that taking a critical look at your profiles is the best place to start. In fact, I want to expand on that topic.

I don’t know whether you’re looking to date women, men, or everyone, but speaking as a cishet woman who reviews a lot of men’s profiles, I’ll offer this advice: be careful about the language you use when describing yourself and your ideal partner. "Dating dog whistles" -- words or phrases that are innocuous in certain contexts but which signal something pointed in others -- can undermine your intentions.

For example, even if it is 100% true (which I’m sure it is!), calling yourself a “nice guy” might raise a red flag for some women. Fair or unfair, that term has become very loaded in recent years and often conveys the opposite of its intent. (Check out this subreddit for more context.)

There are plenty of other dog whistles that communicate specific beliefs/values/etc. "Traditional" is a red flag for some women, "fit" could be another, and a quick Google search can help you ID even more. The bottom line is that language matters. Make sure you're saying what you actually mean; otherwise, you might unintentionally alienate the very people you're hoping to meet.

As for your speed-dating event, I’ve written two articles outlining tips to have stellar speed dates – here’s volume one and here’s volume two – and I hope they prove helpful! Here’s to a great event and lots of “Couple” calls!

M.J’s advice: Don’t date while desperate

Depressed Dude, I feel you. My colleagues have already covered a lot of bases, so I think I’ll focus exclusively on your upcoming Couple event. That’s where those of us “left” behind by swipes can shine. (Ba-da bum.)

Let me preface this by saying that it’s typical to feel depressed and frustrated when you aren’t scoring dates on apps. We spend a lot of time and energy on these things, right? When it starts to feel like you're the only one who isn't having success, it's tough not to despair and deflect blame onto the partners who have passed you over.

However, repeat after me: thou shalt not date while desperate!

Natural as it is to feel bummed, the trick is to not let that anxiety send you into a state of veritable panic (or, worse yet, a full-on rage). If you’re too hyperfocused on your singlehood – if you reek of rejection and desperation and deflection – your dates will know it and you’re gonna get “Cut.” There are no two ways about it.

My rec? If you’re currently too "in it" to stay calm, cool, and collected during your speed dates, delay your event. Take a few weeks off from dating altogether, re-center and reflect, and come back when you feel you’re emotionally ready to put your best self forward.

It’s only when you’re fully comfortable in your own single skin that you’ll be able to walk away from an event with lots of mutual matches. And I have major optimism that you're going to be in that position soon enough.

Do you agree with our pros' advice? Chime in with suggestions and/or hit us up with your own questions … we love to talk shop.


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