When you first set up your profile on a dating app, it's easy to play it safe. You can choose a few posed photos and write a basic bio. Once the initial excitement of downloading the app has faded, however, you might find yourself forgetting to swipe, check your matches, and respond to messages on a regular basis. Regardless of what you're looking for — a hookup, a relationship, a friend — it's always better to be yourself. But keeping it real doesn't mean you can't take any risks. If you're wondering how to put yourself out there using dating apps, good for you. You've taken the first step toward making real connections and having lasting conversations that go beyond superficial small talk.
There are a few different steps you can take to put yourself out there using dating apps. There are some small challenges for you below, but luckily, none of them require a crazy amount of confidence. While it's good to step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while, you don't need to push yourself too far past your limits. But if do you tend to be introverted, practicing these five steps on dating apps can help get you out of your shell when it comes time for you to meet people in real life.
1. Turn on your push notifications.
First things first — if you're going to put yourself out there on dating apps, you'll need to be notified when you get a new match or message. It sounds simple, but make sure your push notifications are on. That little red number may be annoying, but if it gets you to open the app, it's worth it. And if that one notification isn't enough of a reminder, you can also set a daily alarm or calendar alert on your phone reminding you to check your dating apps and respond to messages. Pick one set time that works best for you and your schedule, whether that's right when you wake up, during lunch, or before you go to bed. Making space in your life for dating can be another form of self-care.
2. Open up your age, location, and/or gender preferences.
If you're feeling adventurous, why not literally expand your horizons? By widening your desired age range or expanding your radius to reach a greater distance, you're giving yourself more options. You shouldn't limit yourself to five miles just because you'd rather not travel to meet someone. What if there's a great person for you waiting just outside your mileage limit? And if you're in your twenties, there's no problem with opening up your preferences to include people in their early thirties. You may be surprised by how well you get along, in spite of (or maybe due to) the age gap. Finally, if you're interested in dating women when you normally date men, or vice versa, it can be awesome to allow yourself to enjoy that. If it does make you feel more comfortable, you can always be up front about the fact that you're newly exploring your options.
3. Actively swipe right on people outside of your typical "type."
Along the same lines, try not to stick to a specific "type" on dating apps. If you find yourself stuck in a routine where you are constantly swiping on the same kinds of people, that could be significantly limiting your dating pool. Make it a goal to swipe right on individuals you wouldn't normally go for. Rather than choosing to chat with someone based on looks alone, you should be reading through everyone's bios, too. Maybe someone's photo doesn't instantly attract your attention, but their profile indicates you're compatible in many ways. Give them a chance. After all, what do you have to lose? At the very least, you might make a new platonic friend or professional connection.
4. Commit to messaging all of your matches right away.
When you wait for the other person to contact you first, you're giving up your chance to start something great. To really put yourself out there, commit to messaging all of your matches as soon as you connect. Not only will you impress them with your extroversion and encourage a quick response, but you are also taking advantage of the opportunity to steer the conversation. This means no generic greetings on your end! Send an interesting opening message; ask a question or respond to a relatable detail in their bio. The more personalized your initial message, the more likely they are to continue the conversation.
5. Challenge yourself to go on one date a week.
You should only be exchanging so many messages with one person before you take your relationship offline. The sooner you set up a date, the sooner you can test your compatibility in real life. Challenge yourself to go on one date a week, at least until you find someone you'd like to continue seeing. And if once a week is too much, set a goal that feels more realistic for you. Maybe two dates a month better fits your busy schedule. That's fine. All that matters is that you're making a conscious effort to meet potential romantic interests in person.
If you're not actively using dating apps to their full potential, you can't really complain about your lack of options. By taking steps toward putting yourself out there online and IRL, you're maximizing your prospects and increasing your chances of finding someone who you truly click with.