Are You Ready to Quit your Dating Apps?

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There’s no doubt about it: online dating has become even more popular, and at the same time, more frustrating than ever. Believe it or not, there is a correlation between the two.

Dating apps work very similarly to a game. You swipe left and right, amassing lots of matches to your dating bank account, and feeling great. More people, more possibilities. But in reality – how many of your matches are you actually going out with? How many send you messages, and how many respond to yours? Unfortunately, more often than not, the numbers are low. (Or worse – female daters tend to be the recipients of unwanted and aggressive texts.)

So what do we do with this information? Do we declare this to be "the end of dating" along with The New York Times? Do we delete those apps from our phones, as one writer for website Bustle has declared she will do?

You do have the option to drop out of online dating altogether, but I would argue for keeping it a part of how you meet people to date. Dating apps are here to stay, so it's time to embrace them. But we also need to learn how to date - in real life.

The problem doesn't lie with dating apps per se - technology in general is changing how we behave and interact. People are spending more time updating and commenting on their social media accounts than they are having actual conversations or meeting up with people IRL. Take a look at any bar or restaurant, and inevitably you see a group of people at a table, and none of them are talking to each other – they are staring at their phones.

There is an element of social anxiety that comes along with dating, but our phones are giving us an easy way out, rather than learning to overcome this anxiety. It’s much easier to drop a conversation online than try to think of something witty to say. And the thought of making small talk on a first date for half an hour can terrify many young daters who have grown accustomed to safely hiding behind their phones.

Instead of complaining about the technology, it’s time to do something about what we would like to see in the dating world. Ask someone out on a real date. Pick up the phone and have a conversation, don’t just text until one of you drops off. And if you don’t get a response? On to the next.

Most people want to find a connection to someone else. Online dating provides a way to meet people, not a way to actually date them. Instead, the search for connection is totally left up to us – a scary thought. (Why can’t we just blame the dating apps for peoples’ behavior?)

If you want your online dating experience to change, you first need to change your own approach to it. Don’t endlessly swipe. Talk to more people over the phone or in person. Look them in the eye when you are having a conversation. Don’t become distracted by your phone, or lean on it like a crutch when you get bored. Learn the art of making conversation, of flirting. Practice it!

There’s no shame in asking someone out, and to follow through and go on a real date. In fact, it’s the only thing that will lead to a real-life relationship.