Dating in 2018 gets a bad rap. Using app algorithms to find human connection is tricky, and "human connection," means different things to different people. My dad recently admitted to me that he thought dating apps were like the now-defunct Craiglist "Personal Ads" page, specifically, the "Seeking Casual Sex" portion. (Which is why he'd looked so horrified any time my brother or I mentioned using them.) Different people use dating apps in different ways, depending on what they're looking for. So what do you put on your dating app bio if you want a relationship?
I co-host a podcast about dating, and our listeners write in about dating qualms, bad date stories, and more. With every email about anxious overthinking, blatant ghosting, or a situationship troubles, there seems to be one piece of advice that applies to all situations: make sure you communicate what you want.
Or what I like to call, "Say it, don't spray it." Don't drop hints or send angsty texts because you want more than you have from the person you're "seeing" — just tell them what you want. It's scary AF, but it will save you time and tears in the long run. If there's one piece of relationship advice I could go back and give my recently graduated, 21-year-old self, it would be to ask for what I want.
This is why I don't think it's a bad idea to make it clear from the get-go that you're not looking for a casual hookup on your dating app bio. Just say it! However, I have to admit that when I read a profile that says "Serious relationships only," I feel a weird pressure to not disappoint a stranger who I haven't even been on one date with — eek!
My general philosophy when it comes to online dating is to take it one date at a time, and to try not to expect to find the love of your life on a first date. (That's usually just physical chemistry anyways.) Putting pressure on yourself to have a sixth sense for knowing what a person will be like in person after messaging them on an app for a while is all too much, and bound to lead to disappointment.
So while it's incredibly important to communicate what you want early in a relationship, if you're going to be explicit and put what you are looking for on your dating app profile, keep it light. Rather than writing, "I'm looking for marriage in the next three to five years," try something with a sense of humor like, "I'm DTFR, Down To Find A Relationship."
I must admit that reclaiming "DTF" was entirely inspired by comic genius Nicole Byer. She talks about her dating app profile on her podcast "Why Won't You Date Me?" and her profile includes, "I'm DTF... Down To Figure Skate." What I like about the "DTFR" version of Byer's line, is that it's legitimately funny, but still gets the point across — you're not looking for a casual fling, you're actually using the apps to hopefully find your person.
So, if you're swiping and on the apps looking for a relationship, it's really smart to make that clear early on. Throwing that out there on your dating profile is a great way to cut through all of the BS you're not interested in, but you can also wait and mention that after you see how the first date actually goes.
And if you're going to put "Looking for a relationship," on your profile? Keep it fun. I highly recommend, "I'm DTFR, Down To Find A Relationship," but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. So please, if you give it a go, let me know how it works out. Happy dating!
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