Dating apps are a necessary evil, especially when your day-to-day consists of all kinds of self-care to keep your chronically special (favored term over ill) body running its best. Between acupuncture, therapy, infrared sweat sessions, yoga (I would NEVER date someone from a yoga class. One, I think it’s fun to have different interests and two, it could potentially kill a favorite class), pilates, attempts at tiring Hansel out, grocery shopping (I have a theory that all the single men in SF either eat at work, order food, or order groceries via instacart), meal prepping, cooking, seeing clients, writing, and unwinding at home. There is no space to magically just run into a guy (you would think it would happen at a dog park, but alas, no luck there — I’ve tried multiple). I would have to go seriously out of my way to try to meet someone IRL and that just takes even more time and energy than dealing with app culture. You have to choose your battles.
If you’re single like me, I’m guessing you’re on dating apps, too….multiple.
A few questions that have been coming up a lot —
“What is your favorite dating app?”
“Which dating apps are you on?”
“How do you navigate the apps?”
I don’t have a favorite, none have “worked” so far or I wouldn’t be writing this post.
Because of the above answer, when I’m on them, I’m on them all (hinge, bumble, raya, jswipe, the league and most recently downloaded inner circle and for the sake of research am taking it for a spin) — let’s note, I take myself off of all of them, focus on myself, and then jump back in. When I’m in it, I’m in it and when I’m off, I’m turned all the way off. I will say that out of the bunch hinge feels most “normal” and personal. I’ve met and dated people from them all with the exception of raya (most of the people on there aren’t SF based and the ones who are….I have had meh feelings about and can tell we won’t jive) and jswipe (I’ve been on first dates but never a second dater from here — though I have dated jewish boys from other apps).
So the real question, at least in my opinion, has to do with navigating them. Dating is anxiety producing on its own. The apps just make it worse. They’re draining, take time out of your day, and 9 times out of 10, the conversation dead ends or the connection ends in a blah date and you don’t want to put yourself through the process again — leaving you drained, possibly frustrated, and over the situation. Sound familiar?
Thank me later, I’ve come up with someways to combat the good, the bad, and the ugly of dating on apps. It’s all about approaching it mindfully, batching (just like you would your work tasks), and cycle syncing your dates. Yes, I said it, we’re not just cycle syncing seeds anymore. Now are you ready?
Batch your dates. You know how you batch your work tasks (well maybe you don’t, but maybe you should), batch those dates. Dating is draining, mentally, physically, and spiritually. To really be present and in it and to give it a real go, you have to give yourself — ENERGETICALLY — to that person. How do you batch dates? Hit the apps hard for one or two days. Choose three-four top contenders to go on dates with in the span of one week (keep reading to learn how to plan which week of the month), then go off — completely off the apps (do. not. touch. them.) for three-four weeks. Repeat if necessary. I usually find that if I approach the situation mindfully, put loving energy into what I’m doing and saying, one of the three first dates ends up turning into a second, third, fourth, or maybe more.
Feel the vibes or ask the questions. Don’t let your mind make up stories about how they could be the perfect one. Not to be pessimistic, but this is not the time or the place to hope for the best or attempt to see the light in a person — they will shine or they won’t. You can’t change a person and if they don’t seem right off the bat, they won’t seem right IRL, in fact they will probably seem 100x worse. Don’t lower your standards here or think that someone can change. A couple of my favorite questions to ask if I’m not sure that they’re my kind of person (note these work for me because I know what characteristics I need and look for in a partner — this will probably look different for you.
“What’s your ideal Saturday look like?”
If their answer looks something like the below — it’s a big no.
What I’m looking for. Someone who chooses the farmers market and homemade meal or hike + picnic or LUNCH at a fun spot outside of the city, or a day trip. When the answer is brunch or partying, I pass. I will note the brunch scene in SF is different from the one in NYC. I’ve found “brunchers” in SF are the bro-y type, with different overarching and values than me. We have so much nature so close to us in SF, if someone is choosing to throw down to eat and drink in the fog vs. have an experience, move their bodies, or see something new I’m not turned on // know they will bore me.
“What is your favorite sushi spot?” // “What’s your go-to sushi order?” (a lot of people will say their last meal would be sushi or something relating to sushi in a profile, so this is an easy ask)
SF is a small city and our fish quality is shockingly not so great. There are less than a handful of restaurants I would accept as possible “favorites” — yes I’m a sushi snob (no shame). If they don’t name one of them, I know they don’t really know what they’re talking about in which case their profile is just fluff in probably more aspects than one or they don’t have taste. As for the go-to order, if it’s a roll — they’re out. We (as in me and anyone who actually eats sushi) sushi’s for the fish, not the the overstuffed roll with fried tempera in it. Take this with a grain of salt, maybe you like a roll in which case that’s what you would look for! Alternatively if BBQ or pasta is more your jam — ask them their favorite restaurant in that genre and use that as your point of context.
3. Cycle sync! We sync more than just seeds over here, we sync heavy dating weeks. Plan your batched first date weeks in your follicular phase (the closer to ovulation the better — your date will likely unconsciously be ALL ABOUT your pheromones since you will be oozing fertile femme vibes). But at the very least shoot for the follicular phase — aka the time between when your period ends and ovulation begins. Our bodies have more energy and stamina during this time — it’s also the time to do more high intensity workouts if that’s your thing.
4. Plan the date in your neighborhood. I have a first date spot. It’s always full but not too full. Has music that’s not too loud. Is known for their cocktails, but also has a wine on the menu that I like. If the guy won’t come to you for a first date, he’s not worth your time, trust me. Having the date in your neighborhood lowers the stress of the whole thing. You can casually stroll over moments before meeting time (no uber car-sickness), you don’t have to stress about where you will sit or stand or what you will order because you’ve done it all before, and if it all goes well, they can walk you home (and if it doesn’t you’re close enough to walk yourself home and feel safe).
5. Turn those notifications off. Mindfully check your messages. Are you in the mental space to give energy to a person? Don’t just respond on a whim because the push came through and you’re multitasking. It makes a difference. Turning off those notifications will also decrease anxy feelings — try it.
6. Have fun! I know this is tough because it can feel like a hopeless, tireless cycle. But i encourage you to flip the perspective. If it’s a not so great date. Stay, finish your drink, and try to learn something new (whether it’s from the person or the situation — bonus points for gaining a funny story from it all). If it’s a good one. SOAK IT IN! Exude all the love and kindness — you will get it right back.
Happy dating! XO