Swipe less, don’t be a sleaze, do say hello … and 10 more tips to raise your dating game

Swipe less, don’t be a sleaze, do say hello … and 10 more tips to raise your dating game

Only one in 20 Britons in their 20s met their partner ‘out and about’. (Posed by models.) Composite: Guardian Design; Klaus Vedfelt; gradyreese/Getty Images;

Only one in 20 Britons in their 20s met their partner ‘out and about’. (Posed by models.) Composite: Guardian Design; Klaus Vedfelt; gradyreese/Getty Images;

After two years of messaging and video chats, in-person dates are back. But how do you give yourself the best chance of meeting the right people?

S o much about being single is great: being able to eat, watch and do what you want; independence; no in-laws. But routine can easily turn into a rut, which makes life difficult if you want to find a relationship. We asked the experts how you might go about shaking things up.

Use apps with intention

It is easy to mistake a meaningful hyperlink presence on dating apps with putting yourself out there. Unless you make an effort to meet people, apps can soon become a time-suck.

Annie Lord, a dating columnist for Vogue whose memoir Notes on Heartbreak will be published in June, recommends using them at a particular time, “rather than spending every evening just scrolling”, and making a plan to meet any promising matches as soon as possible.

Many people have profiles just for the ego boost, Lord says. “If you haven’t arranged a date within 48 hours of talking, it’s never going to happen. You can overthink it, or procrastinate. If you’ve had one OK conversation, you should probably just meet them.”

Given that an app is marketing its user base, it also pays to try a few; the Tinder experience – and crowd – is different from the Bumble one, for example. It is also normal, even advisable, to delete and re-download with your changing enthusiasms.

Jo, 45, used apps on and off for about five years after her marriage ended, when she was 34. “I was a bit wary, but I slowly learned that it’s a lot of luck – and not to take anything personally from someone you’ve never met.”

She met someone last year. Her top tips are to limit your activity and take months-long breaks. On her last venture on the dating scene, she swiped for no more than 10 minutes, a few times a week.

If you want a long-term relationship, don’t be afraid to say so. (Posed by models.) Composite: Guardian Design; RyanJLane; LanaStock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Be upfront about who you are and what you want …

It is tempting to try to maximise your matches, or search online for icebreakers or opening lines – but if you are looking for love, it is better to emphasise what is unique about you. (It won’t be your position on Hawaiian pizza.)

Mark Manson, the author of the bestselling self-help series The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, advocates emphasising your quirks to appeal to the 10% of people who will think you are fascinating and fun, instead of downplaying them for the 90% who will think you are merely fine. If you are not sure of your best or defining traits, ask a friend.

The same goes for what you are looking for: if you want a long-term relationship, or to be friends first, don’t be afraid to say so. The only people you will put off will be those who want something different. But emphasise what you do want, not what you don’t want: positive, upbeat profiles get more messages and matches.

Getting a second opinion on your profile doesn’t hurt. Jo says her partner’s profile stood out for its detailed description of his interests, which made it easy for her to ask questions, and several decent photographs (not selfies). “He told me later that a female friend helped him.”

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