Nowadays, dating apps have become wildly popular in society as a way to meet and get to know strangers.
Dating apps facilitate what used to be an awkward and intimidating interaction involving cold approaches, public embarrassment, and extremely cringe moments.
Of course, the downside to dating apps is that you don’t get the immediate satisfaction of knowing whether you were accepted or rejected where you stand.
This is also the benefit of dating apps since they are less publicly embarrassing.
Funnily enough, they can be harsher on your mental health than any other style of approach as you may have already realised!
When you cold-approach someone, there is a genuine boldness that is required, and the lack of this on dating apps shows.
This process of setting up something as simple as a drinks date can be drawn out over the course of weeks in the DMs, and can actually end up being totally pointless when someone flakes.
Cold approaching completely eliminates this time lag and potential disappointment since you get your verdict in-situ.
The cold approach also eliminates the (high) possibility that someone is a catfish (and for example weighs much more in person) when they do eventually show up on a date!
Dating app pictures can be years old, but when you approach them in person, you know exactly how they look and if you are attracted.
If you do however choose to continue on the bleak path of dating apps, here are some tips for finding quality individuals to date, and avoiding flaky attention-seeking time-wasters.
Put effort into your own profile
The first way to attract quality people to your dating life is to give off the impression of quality yourself.
People understand that match-making comes in levels.
If you are trying to attract someone you must also have attractive qualities.
Here are some tips:
Upload extremely clear photos of yourself
Whether you enjoy taking selfies or group pictures, make sure the majority of photos are clear and taken in good light!
Outdoor lighting is ideal since the majority of individuals won’t have studio-quality softboxes at their disposal.
Avoid using filters entirely
Filters give off the impression that you are trying to hide something.
Of course, this isn’t true as generally, most people use them to make a photo look better.
This however does not matter in the online world.
Dating apps have powerful algorithms that decide the general quality of a profile based solely on picture clarity, image quality, and swipe rates.
There is a reason why filtered profiles appear at the absolute bottom of the algorithm; It’s not because the filters are making you look any better!
Not many people swipe on filtered profiles since it is unclear what the individual actually looks like in clear lighting.
Always use clear lighting and NO FILTERS, even if you don’t like the way you look.
Accepting your appearance can give your profile the boost it needs to attract the best!
Add diversity to your photos
It isn’t enough to only use clear and non-filtered photos of the same type.
You also need diversity in your profile.
Generally, you should have 3 selfies, 2 full-body photos, and 1 picture with a friend or family member.
Most dating apps will allow you to upload videos, and this is a good opportunity to stand out and show off your skills, hobbies, or your general vibes.
Use recent photos
This can be difficult since people might have had an uneventful past couple of years.
As a result, you may not have taken any decent pictures recently.
This however is easily remedied by going on a walk to a park on a sunny day and quickly snapping a few selfies.
If you show up to a date looking worse than expected, this isn’t something that can be overlooked by even the most amazing conversations.
Dating and relationships are built on trust, and therefore starting a new one with a lie is a bad idea.
Catfishing is a bad idea in general, however, you may not be fully aware that you are doing it.
To avoid this, always have a recent selfie that is less than 6 months old to mitigate any unpleasant interactions down the line.
Respect your own time
Dating is all about having respect for both yourself and the other individual involved.
If you don’t respect your time, it shows!
It then becomes hard for anyone else to respect you, and the flakiness begins!
Here is how to respect your time.
Do not wait to reply
A common misconception in the dating market is that if you wait to reply, you are sending a message of being highly in demand, and if you reply too soon, you are sending a message of desperation.
The opposite however is true.
If you wait too long to reply, it sends the impression that you are afraid of communication, and the possibility of starting a conversation or getting rejected.
When you reply immediately, it shows you are not wasting time, you are certainly not scared of rejection, ghosting, or seeming desperate.
This can be a powerful thing especially when you do get rejected or ghosted.
It will undoubtedly happen sooner if your texts are generally quicker, and your time won’t be wasted as long.
If you see a red flag, don’t stick around
People are in the habit of ignoring red flags on dating apps, especially if the other person is attractive.
This is primarily male behaviour since generally men struggle to find matches on dating apps.
If someone does or says something that you don’t like, stop talking to them and move on, no matter how empty your match list is looking.
Here is a list of red flags to avoid when talking to someone on a dating app, all of which should result in you not carrying on the conversation:
- They mention how many partners they have
- They mention their ex
- They mention money problems
- They mention hating their work/job/life
- They mention health problems
- They mention suddenly becoming ill
- They mention being lazy / getting up late
- They mention being alone / having no friends
- They don’t have a social life / sleep-in on weekend
These are all red flags, and you should stop the conversation if any of these crop up.
Just because you are trying to find out more about someone doesn’t mean you are responsible for fixing any of their shortcomings or flaws.
Stop replying immediately as these traits will all undoubtedly increase the rate of flaking.
Don’t unmatch, let them sit
As someone of value in the dating world, you should not be unmatching with anyone.
If someone feels like unmatching with you, that is their own business, so let them!
Do not waste time unmatching people yourself, instead simply stop replying.
This makes you seem like a flake yourself, however, this is much better than continuing the conversation and potentially leading someone on for longer just to flake.
Also, unmatching is almost always a bad idea since you never know who was truly busy, having an off day, and who was genuinely going to reply back!
Don’t shut the door on yourself or your future partner for fear of being flaked on.
Do not wait for replies
Do not wait for your match to reply!
Often it is easy to slip into the habit of waiting for a reply from someone you are particularly interested in.
This is something you must avoid doing.
When you approach someone in person, you don’t instantly expect a positive interaction since you are taking a risk.
The same goes for online dating!
Everyone you match with is a potential flake.
Treat them as such!
Do not get attached, and do not give any one match particular attention until you have at least been on a few dates!
Respect your time, not your match.
Recognize high-quality matches
Recognising high-quality matches is probably the most important way of avoiding flaky people.
Here are a few signs to look out for when identifying high-quality matches:
Good clear pictures with little filter use
This is a sign of someone taking their profile seriously.
Generally, people who take their profile seriously will make an effort to upload good quality pictures usually of them having a fun time.
Pictures to look out for are selfies of themselves smiling, graduation photos, photos of an activity or hobby, and generally anything that looks respectful and fun.
These pictures show that they are genuinely trying to show their best attributes, their proudest moments, and how they are actually making an effort.
Pictures to avoid include partying photos, shirtless or topless photos i.e not fully clothed, bikini pictures, and general ‘thirst traps’.
These pictures are uploaded to garner attention and validation.
This isn’t always the case!
But in general, these are the kinds of people that exhibit the highest percentage of flaky behaviour.
Work, age, and education status
There are several other factors that factor into predicting how flaky someone may be.
Their busyness at work, and their educational status is an important consideration.
Usually, university students may only have time for other university students.
They may flake if you are in a different time of life than they are, i.e. you are older.
Careers to avoid dating
It sounds a bit harsh to say you should avoid dating someone simply because of their career, but the reality is some people are busier than others and have less time for dating.
Here are some careers to avoid getting involved with if you respect your time and don’t want to be flaked on.
- Medical students (university)
- Nurses (and nursing students)
Of course, not everyone in these professions would make a terrible date.
However, generally, these are busy work-oriented careers with a poor work-life balance.
Dating such individuals will increase the chances of you being flaked on significantly!
Ages to avoid dating
Typically, the younger you go, the flakier someone becomes.
There are several reasons for this.
- Younger people are more delusional about dating expectations
- Younger individuals are generally more sought after than older individuals
- Younger individuals are more unsure of their own preferences
- Younger individuals take dating apps less seriously
- Younger individuals can find partners easier through school, university, and other local environments
If you would like to avoid flaky behaviour, date older people.
Ask questions to gauge motives and interests
Asking questions is one of your best defences against flaky behaviour.
The more questions you ask, and the more replies you get, the less flaky someone is likely to be.
People however can change and one of the annoying things about dating apps is that someone can be interested in you one second, and completely ghost you the next.
This is why it is important to ask enough high-quality questions to the point where you are comfortable getting a number or setting up a date.
Good questions to ask
Good questions are subjective, however, any question that takes the conversation away from yourself, and puts the onus on the other person to reply is a good question.
- What would you describe as your best traits?
- What would you say is the best quality in a partner?
- What would you pick to do every day if you had to choose something?
These may sound strange and pointless but to the person you are asking, it genuinely makes them think about the point of the question and the best possible reply they can give.
Bad questions to ask
Bad questions are anything that conveys insecurity and the need for validation.
Do not ask these questions or you might be flaked on!
- What are you up to?
- What are you wearing?
- Where do you live?
- Do you like me?
- How many guys are you speaking to?
- Do you find me attractive?
These questions are too vague, forward, generic, and frankly inappropriate.
Avoid them unless you want to get flaked on.
There are better ways of asking where someone lives. Simply ask how far they are from your city, and let them decide what they are comfortable disclosing.
To gauge interest, simply ask difficult yet interesting questions. If they bother to answer, they are likely interested.
- Why should I take you on a date?
- Why should I buy you drinks?
- If you had to convince me to buy you a drink, what three things would you say?
Set up a date as soon as possible
You should not be wasting any time setting up a date.
Ideally, you should set up a date within the first 10 messages!
This is actually a good way to not waste your time or give anyone additional validation without getting anything in return.
Set up the date fast, and wait for a reply. If nothing comes, assume you dodged a flaky bullet and move on.
There are however other behaviours you should watch out for. All these behaviours are indicators of flakiness and as such, all communications should be stopped.
Indicators of flakiness when setting up a date
All these are indicators of flakiness where most people may offer a second chance.
DO NOT give these indicators a second chance!
If any of these happen once, cease all communication immediately.
- Agrees to date however cancelled on the day with a good reason.
- Suddenly becomes ill.
- Agrees to date but cancels a day before.
- Says “maybe”, “I’ll let you know” or “we’ll have to see” for a date invitation.
- Happens to be out of town, city, or country when a date is proposed.
- Happens to be attending a party, gathering, or family event when a date is proposed.
The reality of the situation is whether someone has an event to attend or not, if someone truly likes you, they will NOT flake or make excuses.
They will do everything in their power to meet you even if they have prior commitments.
Do not be taken for a joke by someone who doesn’t respect you, your time, or your emotions.
Simply cease communications with anyone who refuses to meet, and give them no more attention.
This is the only way to brush the flakes aside and find the right person for you.
Transitioning to asking for a date
Here are some ways you may ask for a date.
- “Before we go any further, I’d like to say I have enjoyed chatting with you, and would like to meet and see if we’d get along in person”
- “That’s quite interesting, would you like to continue this conversation in person over drinks?”
- “I would like to hear more. Let me know your number, I’m taking you out next week.”
They seem to progressively get more forward, and this is on purpose.
I find the more forward you are, the more serious someone takes you.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone to keep a certain day on their calendar free since you’re taking them out.
Just make sure to give people plenty of notice, i.e. at least a week in advance for a date.
Once the date is set up, do not feel obligated to text your date during the time leading up to the date!
This will certainly convey desperation and might give the impression that you are lacking options.
Instead, let them know that you will check whether they are still up for the date a day before. This conveys you have options, and no one is being forced to meet.
Respect yourself and your time, only giving attention to someone whilst on a date.