7 Tips For Using Dating Apps At A Small School With A Tiny Dating Pool
That age-old saying "There are always more fish in the sea" is honestly pretty comical when you're trying to date on a small campus. Sure, there may be plenty of fish in the sea... but what happens when you're stuck in an inland lake for anywhere from two to four years? Don't panic. Take a look at the following tips for using dating apps at a small school for some advice. This body of water may be smaller than the ocean, but it can run deeper than you'd expect.
First of all, it's OK to be frustrated with a smaller dating pool — and you're not alone in that feeling. For instance, Mo, 21, says, "Small “women’s' college equals queer drama like you’ve never seen it before. Dating is a hellscape. My advice is to just not." So, if you're feeling pretty bleak, you have company. But dating on a small campus, regardless of your sexuality, is definitely possible if you're really interested in making the most of the dating opportunities available to you. Dating coach Meredith Golden offers some advice specific to small campuses that is sure to make the process, well, less of a hellscape.
1. Be conscious of your behavior because you will probably see people again.
Golden's main tip is "to have manners, as you will see people on campus and you don’t want it to be awkward. You might forget about blowing someone off as you were chatting with 10 other people, but they will most likely remember." Normally in a bigger city or on a larger campus, you don't really have to worry about not responding to someone's message if the feeling isn't there. This isn't the case on a small campus.
Even though it takes more effort, being conscious of what you say and do comes in handy when you are way more likely to see people again. Of course you don't owe anyone your time, but this could help future you in case you're in a group project with a former dating app match. Golden also explained, "You don’t have to date or even meet everyone, but be kind in the exchanges. And definitely don’t ghost, as you’re going to see these matches around campus."
2. You're more likely to match with your IRL crush.
Golden says that there's actually a benefit to using dating apps on a smaller campus: You're more likely to match with your crush. That's right. Golden explains that it can be seriously scary to introduce yourself to a crush in person. There are so many factors at play when considering taking that step. Let's say you have a crush on the person that sits next to you in history class or even worse, all the way across the room. On a smaller campus, the odds are in your favor that you will see them again on an app. When you do see them, you can introduce yourself without the added worries that come with meeting IRL. Chances are they'll probably remember you.
3. When you see someone in person, don't be afraid to say hi!
One of the biggest fears is that some folks have when it comes to apps is what they would do if they saw a person IRL. That doesn't often happen in bigger cities, but it is very likely to happen on a small campus.
Golden has really simple advice when it comes to this and that is to just say hello! She says, "You both obviously know who each other are as it’s a very small campus. Take a deep breath, smile, and say hello. You’ll be amazed by how well this will go!" You'll never know what could happen if you don't give it a try.
4. Try different apps.
Not everyone uses all of the apps out there. If you're queer and tired of seeing literally all of the same people all of the time, consider downloading apps that specifically serve queer folks, like Her or Zoe. Using different apps is a great way to see different people and you can figure out which one works best for you.
Make sure you don't out someone by accident, though. If you're using a queer-centric app or if have any dating app set to seeing multiple genders, remember that just because you see someone on an app does not mean they are publicly out. (For example, if you are a woman and tell your friends that you matched with Sarah on Tinder, everyone will know that Sarah's interested in women.) It's important that you respect others' privacy when it comes to their sexuality, but again, that shouldn't stop you from saying hi.
5. Increase the distance and age ranges to reach more people.
By increasing your distance you can even reach people at campuses near you or people in the town that your college is in. This is honestly a life-saver when it comes to small campus dating. Just because you're a student at one school doesn't mean you're limited to dating your fellow classmates.
6. Consider paying for the premium version of your apps.
There's no shame in paying for apps if it means it enhances your dating experience. Living on a small campus can be difficult and feel claustrophobic at times. This can be especially tricky if you are queer because dating circles can be notoriously small and hard to navigate. Tinder Gold gives you access to Tinder Passport where you can swipe all over the world, which can be helpful if you have an upcoming trip somewhere new or if you're heading home for the summer. Tinder Gold has a feature called "Likes You" which shows you who has liked your profile, which can be helpful in navigating a smaller dating circle.
7. Give it time and don't pressure yourself.
If the small dating pool is really stressing you out, or you just went through a breakup and don't want to see your ex's face glow across your screen, maybe you're not quite ready to get back out there. And that's OK! You don't have to be dating right now if thats stressing you out. Definitely take time for yourself and don't feel like you have to be doing anything you don't want to.
If you are on dating apps, though, try not to feel discouraged by the the size of the dating pool. When it comes down to it, dating apps are a tool that can help you meet people. So if you see someone cute on campus, but are too nervous to talk to them in person. You can rest assured that they might have already swiped right on you.
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