A newly researched survey from Pew Research Center has found that 3 in 10 Americans have used a dating app to find love, with over 1 in 4 of us dating someone we met on one of these platforms.
However, many men complain that dating online isn’t as easy for them as it is for women, with the Pew Research data saying that men are significantly less satisfied with the amount of attention they garner from possible matches on dating apps.
The researchers found that men really struggle to feel visible on these sites. They feel ignored or undesirable compared to their female peers.
These results line up with my experience in discussing dating with my male clients. I get so many frustrated men who come to me and say, ‘What am I doing wrong? I am putting myself out there and trying to be a good man, but I keep coming up empty.’
Here are the top 5 mistakes that I see men making when looking for love online, and what they should try instead:
- Playing the numbers game. Many men see online dating (and dating in general) as a numbers game. The idea is that if you swipe right on every possible match, eventually someone is going to have to respond. The thing is, though, that most women on Tinder and similar apps know that this is what men are doing, so they aren’t necessarily feeling flattered when they get right swipes from men. So what should men do instead? Stop wasting time swiping right on everyone in a 50-mile radius. Spend more time working on your profile and engaging in activities that will enrich you and make you a more tempting prospect.
- Not putting in enough effort. Men tend to assume that women think like they do. In other words, they think women just look at their photos and decide whether or not to swipe left or right. Not so. Women are going to spend much more time reading your profile and looking for possible connections and possible red-flags. So a low-effort profile or a profile that feels dicey to women is going to be what gets you swiped left, not a photo that shows you have some extra weight or a little gray hair.
- Beware of bitterness. I see guys on apps like Tinder saying ‘This is silly but why not give it a shot’ or ‘Let’s see if anyone will actually swipe right on a middle-aged dad.’ They think they’re being funny or self-deprecating, but it’s really hard to judge tone online, especially if you don’t know someone, so it just comes off as desperate or negative. Similarly, beware of bragging or bravado. Just keep it real: Be authentic, but be positive.
- Don’t make it sexual. Your Tinder profile or Match.com profile is not the place to talk about your kinks or to send suggestive photos or messages to unsuspecting women. In fact, the Pew researchers found that 37% of women say that they have received sexually explicit messages, 35% report being called derogatory names, and 48 percent say that they have been harassed after telling a man they aren’t interested any longer. So, yes, it’s clear that men are feeling left out and rejected more often than women, but women report being more frightened and more threatened. This is an undoubtedly vicious cycle that men can help to end: If women feel safer and more respected by men when online dating, they might be more apt to swipe right and give more men a chance.
- Reframe your negative experiences. Your energy comes through, even on an online dating app, so it’s important to make sure you’re exuding positive vibes and attracting the partners and experiences you desire. To that end, reframe negative online dating encounters as learning moments, rather than disasters. Online dating is an opportunity for you to work on so many skills like communication, flirting, empathy and vulnerability, and the more open you are, and the more you put yourself out there and be authentic, the better your results are going to be.