A new year means it’s time to dive straight into those resolutions. If you’re hoping to work on your love life in 2019, odds are you’ve downloaded all the apps and spruced up your profile to get a fresh start. Realistically though, how much time should you spend on dating apps if you’re hoping to find a relationship? And how do you avoid burnout when you’re spending all your time looking for love?
For dating coach and expert Meredith Golden, the answer lies in clear commitment to a certain amount of time spent per day. She advises that clients choose two apps — maybe the two that appeal to you most — and devote 30 minutes daily to each, for a total of one hour a day spent swiping and messaging. Try choosing a block of time during your lunch break or after work, and using that time specifically to swipe through potential matches. Think of it like any hobby or skill you’d practice to get better — if you’re not putting in the work, you’re unlikely to notice the payoff.
For the sake of ease, don’t get bogged down by trying to manage more than two apps — you can even stick to one if that feels easier to maintain. Golden adds, “Stay off on the weekends! Swiping and messaging is just Monday through Friday.” By setting boundaries (and giving yourself a break), you’re more likely to stick to a schedule without getting sick of it.
Of course, it's only natural that you'll fall off your schedule now and then. If you find yourself treating dating like a job and totally hating the process, take some time to back off for a day or two. Overall it's important to stick to a routine, but just like with training for a marathon, you need to listen to yourself when it doesn't feel right. You can always return the next day feeling fresher and more ready to meet new people.
To avoid burnout, make sure you’re not spending mindless time swiping when you should be doing other things. “It’s better to tackle less with consistency than to overcommit and not be able to fulfill the commitment,” Golden tells Elite Daily. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. The most important things is that you’re putting in the time each day to look through your options. Some days will feel more productive than others, of course, but the daily discipline of going through apps is a big part of what determines your success.
Golden suggests trying out "micro-dating," where you’ll just attend quick screening dates with the person to see if you want to see them again. Try meeting for coffee or just a single drink rather than making the date into an all-day endeavor. This will save you time and energy without filling up your calendar with mediocre first dates. It also keeps you free to spend time with friends (because hello, a social life is a must!) This way, you can keep your schedule low-key and still get the benefits of in-person interactions with potential partners.
And how many dates should you go on, exactly? The numbers aren’t set in stone. Some people prefer to meet up with almost everyone they match with, while others are more choosy about setting a date IRL. The most crucial thing, Golden says, is that you just do it! “It’s just important that you get off the couch and meet people,” she tells Elite Daily. Sure, this takes work, but a real relationship won’t blossom unless you’re willing to get out from behind your screen. Try not to second-guess people you’re chatting with until you’ve taken a real chance to meet them in person. It’s easy to get in your own head when you’re talking to someone online, but you won’t really know how well you click until you feel out the real-life chemistry.
Remember that at the end of the day, no set formula will determine how long it takes to meet someone, but you can definitely up your chances by committing to a specific game plan. “Consistency is key,” Golden says. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by dating apps when you don’t have a strategy, but setting goals for yourself will demystify the process and help you feel like you’re not wasting time.
New year, new you? Maybe not completely, but you can at least feel like your new dating strategy is bound to get results.