Stop “Half-Apping” It

In today's digital age, the quest for love has taken an unconventional turn, with more and more single individuals turning to dating sites and apps to find their soulmates. This year, 3 in 10 adults have used a dating site (Forbes Health). The allure of these platforms lies in their promise of convenience, accessibility, and volume of options. But a growing concern has emerged – the lack of genuine effort exerted by many users, leading to less-than-ideal experiences and results. This leads to a lot of broken hearts and wasted time.

The Rise of A New Phrase

There’s such a prevalence of people who use the apps but don’t put the proper attention, and focus on each individual person into it that I have a term for it: “half-apping it”. Yes, just like “half-assing” something is not giving it your all. And you might even admit that you’re doing it yourself.

The Swipe Culture Phenomenon

The rise of dating apps has given birth to what many refer to as the "swipe culture." With a simple flick of the finger, users can sift through countless profiles, evaluating potential matches in a matter of seconds. This ease of use, while convenient, has inadvertently encouraged a lack of genuine engagement. Singles often find themselves mindlessly swiping left and right, basing their decisions on superficial criteria such as profile pictures and brief prompts to often meaningless questions.

The over-emphasis on initial looks (based on photos that may not be ideal) and just thinking about first impressions overshadows the importance of getting to know someone who seems interesting on a deeper level and digging in to see if there is overall compatibility. How do they really think? What do they really feel? If the system says you match with some shared interests, how often do you two actually do those things and are they important in your life?

It’s helpful to customize each interaction you have on an app and ask yourself what questions you have for them specifically. Then don’t be afraid to ask them. This is all about saving you time in finding a compatible partner, after all. That while knowing that not everything is going to align perfectly, and there is no perfect person.

The Illusion of Choice

Dating apps present users with an illusion of endless choice. With a seemingly infinite pool of potential partners, many singles fall into the trap of not investing the necessary time and effort into getting to know someone on a deeper level. The fear of missing out on a better match can lead to a lack of commitment and genuine investment in any one person. 

Whether you’re on Hinge, Bumble, Match, Tinder, OkCupid, Raya, The League, or any other site, you should be envisioning each person as a human being, rather than a product that you can buy or discard. As a client of mine said about online dating, "I feel like I'm a banana at the supermarket."

Thinking of each member as a human being means that it’s possible that they can adjust their behaviors, activities, and even viewpoints based on who they’re dating. Humans can’t spontaneously reproduce, either, so you should realize that there is a point of diminishing returns with your “no” swipes” will receive fewer and fewer people overall as the available members on each site decreases. And keep in mind that the apps want you on there longer, so they’re going to keep showing you as many profiles as possible, but that means they’re showing you essentially worse “matches” as time goes on. There could be great matches at any point with someone new who joins the platform, but overall the quality in terms of compatibility with you will still decrease.

Superficial Interactions Yield Superficial Results

When users approach dating apps half-heartedly, engaging in shallow conversations and not putting in the effort to truly get to know their matches, the outcomes are often disappointing. Meaningful connections require genuine effort, time, and emotional investment. Without these elements, relationships that blossom from online interactions may lack substance, leading to short-lived romances or, worse, heartbreak.

How many times have you heard someone comment on your great smile or something about your photos, and then ask some general question, and then have the conversation trail off into eventual silence? A lot of the time that is due to a lack of creativity and energy into really trying to get to know someone and get deeper. It is that vulnerability and depth that produces a sense of connection like no other and makes someone stand out in a positive way. So don’t be afraid to go deep about your past - just make sure to end it with something positive like what you learned.

Ask open-ended questions that encourage thoughtful responses. You’ll be modeling the behavior you want someone else to follow.

Building Real Connections Takes Time

Finding a compatible partner through online dating is not about quantity but quality. It's about investing time and effort in getting to know someone beyond the surface. Meaningful relationships require patience and perseverance. While the instant gratification of as many “matches” as possible might be appealing, the real reward is a lasting, fulfilling relationship. And that only comes through an investment in effort, time, and mutual understanding.

To allow yourself to focus more (and enough), I suggest staying on one site or app at a time. If you’ve been on that site for at least a few months, and you still haven’t found someone promising, take a full break and direct all your attention to trying a different one. You may see some overlap with the people, but there should still be some new members you haven’t come across. And remember, you only need one person in the end!

One Easy Solution

The world of online dating offers excellent opportunities to meet potential partners, but success in this realm demands more than lots of swipes and generic initial messages. Please, if you’re going to do online dating, don’t “half-app it.” Give it your all. Prioritize responding to messages if you do prioritize having a real relationship. Set aside 30 min. per evening for communicating with people you want to get to know better. For those who decide you don't, you can let them down easy by saying at this point you don't actually see enough of a connection, but you wish them well. That will end it and save you time in having to continue messaging with people you're not excited about. Dedicating half an hour each day to messaging might sound daunting, but the idea is that it is a short-term solution and your concentrated efforts will get you off the apps way sooner and for good.

Unless you're on vacation or there's some emergency and you gave someone a heads up, people want to get responses within 24 hours - otherwise they get the impression tha you're either not interested in them enough or you are not prioritizing finding a partner. Either way, they're right, and it's not going to lead to them making effort either, so the potential connection is lost.

For the sake of your happiness, take dating seriously and put in the energy that you want others to put in too – because the depth and richness of lasting love is worth the effort.

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