Are your thumbs tired of swiping left and right? Are you tired of going on seemingly promising dates that lead to nothing? Have you just begun filling out your “about me” profiles on Tinder and Match without finding a suitable catch? Dating coach and love expert Damona Hoffman spoke exclusively to ESSENCE about the five most common online dating mistakes, and it’s a real eye-opener.
“I started writing dating profiles about 15 years ago,” Hoffman says. “It was right at the beginning of online dating, so I’ve been there through the whole evolution of dating apps and so much technology changing.” The casting director turned dating coach first realized she had a knack for helping people beef up their online dating success when friends started coming to her for help. “There would always be a mismatch between what they thought they were putting out and what they were really saying,” she recalls. “I think ultimately, dating apps are the best thing to happen to dating and, particularly, to women in the dating space, ever in history.”
So ladies, if dating apps are offering us an advantage, what does it mean when we’re not finding any luck with digital love? Here what Damona says are the five most common online dating mistakes.
1. You’re Waiting To Get Chose – “A common mistake a lot of women make when using dating apps is waiting for the messages to come in. They approach dating on apps the same way they do in the real world – by saying, ‘I’m expecting him to take the lead.’ Dating apps have leveled the playing field. The positive to that is you have the ability to send messages to any guy that you want to meet, not just whoever hollers at you on the street. You actually can choose instead of waiting to get chose.”
2. You’re Swiping Left Too Much – “I encourage you to be a little less discerning in the swipe stage. Women tend to look at a man’s profile, see one picture and say, ‘oh no, he’s wearing a hat and I don’t like hats’ or, ‘he has a beard.’ Men tend to do their filtering after they’ve already matched and then go in deeper. That’s why you may get a lot of people that match with you, but then don’t message you. They’re not filtering at the same point.”
3. You’re Not Updating Your Profile Enough – “Are you going to apply for a job and put two sentences on your resume? Probably not. People don’t put that much effort into their profile and then they get frustrated with the responses they’re getting. So often, I talk to clients who are upset or overwhelmed with dating. I ask them how long ago they made their profile and how often they update it. They’ll say, ‘I just created a profile on a whim and didn’t really put that much thought into it.’ Everything starts with the profile. Just by updating the profile and doing it with intention, you can increase the quality of matches fivefold in a matter of a couple of weeks.”
4. You’re Dating Pool Is Too Narrow – “It’s amazing to me how many people put things that are ‘nice to haves’ on their must-have list. Put less emphasis on finding a guy that’s six feet tall or drives a certain car and more emphasis on one that he treats you like a queen. Sometimes, what you want comes in a different package [than what you’re expecting], and when you’re only looking to date Black men, that pool is finite. If being with a Black man is an important value for you, then that should become your primary filter. If it’s not, then maybe look at your list of criteria, bump some other things down, and focus on what is important as you’re building your life.”
5. You Haven’t Fully Recovered From Dating Fatigue – “If you are having online dating fatigue, that means you’re going on dates carrying that frustration. You hear those stories [from people that say] ‘as soon as I stopped worrying about it, then I met him.’ That can happen. But I specialize in helping people be intentional about finding love. I’ve just seen that when you really make it a priority, things happen. So if you’re not in the right mindset for dating, I think it’s great to take a break. But I think it’s important to set a time that you are going to return. Book in that downtime and do some self-work, then come back at it when you’re ready to do it in a different way.”