Relationship development experts explain new research and how people can use dating apps successfully
50 million Americans have turned to online dating in a quest to find a companion, and close to 40% of American couples who met in 2017 did so via dating apps and online dating sites. However, new research says that online dating can be detrimental to one’s mental health, and even grow into an addiction.
“The study, which was just published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, says that dating apps can really harm young people’s mental health,” says Johnny Dzubak relationship development expert. “Sadly, the study showed that people with social anxiety and people who reported the highest levels of loneliness were the most likely to be negatively impacted by dating apps.”
Dzubak is a host of the popular lifestyle podcast (with over 150M+ downloads) The Art of Charm, along with fellow relationship development expert AJ Harbinger, and the pair both agree that they have seen numerous millennials struggle with dating skills partially as a result of relying too heavily on dating apps.
“It is ironic that people with the most anxiety and the most loneliness are the ones who experience the worst side effects of dating apps,” says Harbinger. “But it’s really not a surprise. These people tend to invest a lot of their energy and self-worth into whether or not people ‘swipe right’ on them, and it can lead to a very detrimental impact on their mental health. They spend so much trying to create the perfect online profile with the most filtered, ‘flawless’ pictures, and the result is that they only drive themselves further into a place of hopelessness and isolation.”
So how can daters use dating apps without suffering these negative side effects? Here, Harbinger and Dzubak share their top tips for using dating apps successfully:
- Have a set rule for when you meet potential matches. “Don’t spend days and weeks texting and messaging with lots of different people,” says Harbinger. “This can be a real waste of time and effort. Instead, arrange an in-person date as soon as possible. If the person keeps avoiding setting a date or offering excuses, cut ties immediately. This is a major red flag.”
- Remember it’s a numbers game. “Dating apps are nice because they give you a massive pool of potential matches, as opposed to a bar scene where you might only run into a handful of available people on any given night,” says Dzubak. “With that in mind, don’t be afraid to swipe right on people who you are a little hesitant about. Meeting up for coffee is inexpensive and it’s worth the time you spend, even if it’s not a match, because you will work on actual social skills rather than just combing through Tinder for hours for the perfect woman.”
- Set mindful goals. “Instead of just thinking about hooking up or having fun, set a few simple goals for your dating app use,” says Harbinger. “For instance, it can be a good way to work on your social anxiety and meet new people, provided you set the intention to use it in this manner.”
- Apply your newfound skills to real life. “For every dater you ask out online, make a promise to yourself that you will approach one person in real life as well,” says Dzubak. “It doesn’t always have to be for a date, but it could just be you walking up and striking up a conversation with a cute stranger at the bus stop or speaking to a coworker you normally shy away from.”
- Have tech-free time each week. “Carve out an afternoon or evening each week in which you put your phone and laptop away,” says Harbinger. “Make tech-free time a priority and force yourself to get out of the house or to actually interact with the people around you instead of swiping on your phone. The more time you can spend in nature instead of nose-deep in your phone, the happier you are going to be, whether you are single or not.”
For more on this topic or to speak to relationship development experts Johnny Dzubak or AJ Harbinger, please contact me.
This post was previously published and is republished here with permission from the author.
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