Whether you live in a super small town or a city that isn't heavily populated, you attend a small college, or you just have really bad luck, you're bound to come across one or two people you actually know while swiping on dating apps. In the event that you encounter a person who you know from your real life, but who you aren't attracted to, what do you do? Should you swipe right on someone you recognize just to be friendly and say hello, or will that only complicate the situation further? Are you better off just swiping left and avoiding the awkwardness altogether?
I spoke to dating app expert Meredith Golden about what to do if and when you encounter this all-too-common 21st-century problem while swiping on a dating app. Her answer is simple: If you aren't romantically or sexually interested in a person, you shouldn't swipe right on them. "If this person isn't someone you would ever date, swipe left," says Golden. "If you swipe right and match, it will just become awkward."
By swiping left, you can avoid unnecessary online complications and keep your IRL relationship friendly and casual. After all, if you know this person in real life and haven't pursued any kind of non-platonic relationship, why would you connect on a dating app? Even if you're only trying to be friendly, it can still give the wrong idea.
And if you're worried about this person finding you on a dating app, don't stress over the possibility too much. Even if they did come across your profile, chances are, they won't actually bring it up to you. And if they do broach the subject, either in person or over text, you can respond in a way that ensures no one's feelings get hurt.
If someone says, "Hey, you swiped left on me," Golden explains that you can always respond with a noncommittal answer. She suggests saying something along the lines of, "I don't even pay attention when I'm swiping. It's such a mindless process." Even if this isn't true, it will make it so that you can change the subject and move on.
When it comes to seeing someone you know on a dating app, whether you've met them in passing or they're friends with your friends, the expert advice is simple. As a rule, if you don't want to date them, don't swipe right. You don't know how they really feel about you, and in the event that you do match, the conversation could get awkward fast.
Even if you think it would be a funny or friendly gesture for you to say hi, you're better off sticking to chatting in person. Unless you're interested in pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship, you should keep your friendship with this person offline and off of dating apps.
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