I met my husband on a dating app. “Once” is the app’s name; it claims it’s a “slow dating app.” And it is. With one or two matches sent to you a day, it’s a pendulum swing over from the forever available swipe of Tinder or Bumble.
After a client shared a poor dating experience with the app Bumble earlier, I wanted to provide the critical takeaways from the conversation.
Them: Mid-twenties seeking a serious relationship.
Their date: Mid-twenties seeking “I don’t know.”
I ask the obvious: Why did you choose to go out with someone with a different commitment level? Their answer surprised me. “I didn’t want to be picky.”
Isn’t that the point? I thought. In knowing them for the past year, I knew there was more to their story than that. “So tell me what you mean,” I asked. “After swiping 50 or 100 people, it’s fatiguing. I feel bad for people, like they deserve a chance, right? So I do even if they want different things. Analysis paralysis, I suppose.”
They hit the nail on the head; stress impacts our ability to process information meaningfully while, at the same time, the thought of a reward (someone liking us) keeps us like a mouse in Skinner’s experiment.
With no one stopping us, we will swipe ourselves sick. (Before Once I’d done it myself.) Without intention or rules, we’re at the mercy of our programming.
What followed was a conversation about intention and their plans for the next time. They thought downloading the app on a whim wasn’t the best idea, or using it to feel better about themselves wasn’t the best either.
I proposed, “What if you set a limit of five or ten at a time, then only chose people after you’d inspected their profile, even returned to it later, before deciding to swipe?”
They’ll be ready for (in their words) “the incredibly vulnerable space of dating” by holding themselves to a more systematic approach when they enter the dating world again.
They’re pushing pause on dating until the new year, but once they return, perhaps I’ll provide an update.