Even in a pandemic I am still optimistically swiping on dating apps, and it’s nice to see how little the world appears to have changed on these digital boyfriend cards. I love seeing all your well-traveled photos, your thirsty fits, the wide range of facial hair. But you know what’s not nice to see? Yet another person I owe absolutely nothing to, making petulant demands to “not waste my time.”
Throwing this phrase (or something like it) into the bio is unfortunately as common as trophy trout and baby niece pics. I am perplexed as to why, instead of writing something friendly and enticing (or just nothing at all to establish mystique), so many men seem to think that declaring ownership over their precious time on a dating app (already possibly the greatest time burglar on your phone) would be the move.
“Please don’t waste my time. If we match and you don’t respond to a message, why bother?”
“I’m not here for pen pals.”
“Not interested in messaging forever. Let’s meet up and see what’s up.”
These are real and true things men wrote on their own dating apps, as if they had read on some misguided subreddit that an enthusiasm for haste makes them more attractive. I almost want to stand underneath their windows with a boombox blaring the Phil Collins cover of “You Can’t Hurry Love,” but that would probably be a poor use of my own time.
Look, I’m conscious and protective of how I spend my time and who I share it with. And when it comes to dating apps, I try to make sure fairly soon that we’re both vibing on the same frequency before proceeding to anything IRL. But if you’re looking to fellow users on a dating app to manage your time for you, I’m going to tell you right now, your time isn’t any more valuable than anyone else’s.
Relationship expert Rori Sassoon, the author of The Art Of The Date, lays it out pretty clearly. “It’s OK to know what you want, but the way you say it matters. When a guy is saying ‘don’t waste my time,’ he’s either seriously looking for a relationship or he wants to get laid quickly—no matter which one it is, this is going to send anyone running. Why would she swipe right after reading that? She’s not going to want to waste her time either, especially not with a guy that comes across as impatient. It’s an instant turn-off.”
I don’t necessarily enjoy messaging niceties back-and-forth before losing steam and fading down the list of matches either. But that’s kind of like striking up a conversation with a stranger out in the wild—maybe it’ll go somewhere, maybe it’s pleasant but it’s not really making your heart race. It’s not a failure or a waste of time, that is literally what dating is.
“If you really want to communicate this type of [urgency] in your profile,” Sassoon suggests, “then try to do it in a way that is clever and witty, rather than direct and blunt.” The whole point of bios in dating apps is to communicate what you’re about and what you’re looking for. Believe me when I say that whatever that happens to be—a surfing buddy, someone who’s down with that one specific fetish you have, someone to open all those stuck jars for you (that’s me), a new emergency contact—the quickest way to get what you want is to put it out there and ask for it. You’re way more likely to attract the kind of matches who are aligned with your interests and values. And if you aren’t sure what you want? Well, maybe ask yourself who’s wasting whose time here, exactly.