“Dating Apps: Get Clued Up on Why We All Need to App-tronise”
It’s not cute (Picture: Getty)
From ghosting, to chat-fishing, dating apps can be soul-destroying – but they’re also one of the most popular ways that couples meet, so it’s no surprise millions of people across the world sign up.
But if you’re in a relationship, there’s a chance you’ve never delved into the confusing world of the dating app.
You may never have spent a hungover Sunday trawling through fish photos and pineapple-on-pizza debates, resisting the urge to throw your phone out of the window.
Perhaps the very idea of Tinder, Bumble or Hinge intrigues you. Maybe you’ve wondered how many likes (or is it swipes?) you’d get if you set up your own profile. And you seize the opportunity to grab your single friend’s phone at the pub, and do a little window shopping of your own.
But while it might seem like a bit of a fun to grill your single mates on exactly how dating apps work, we can guarantee they’re not enjoying it as much as you.
Because every query and question you have for them just serves as a gentle reminder that, while you are happily coupled up, they are not.
It’s a phenomenon we’re calling app-tronising – when your well-meaning questions about dating apps come across as condescending and patronising.
The scenario was listed in The New York Magazine’s The Cut etiquette guide for society today. ‘You may think that asking basic questions about their newfangled dating apps (“So which way do you swipe again?”) shows interest and engagement in their love lives,’ reads the article. ‘But your wide-eyed curiosity could just as easily come across as patronising.’
Hayley Quinn, dating expert at Match, explains: ‘Well-meaning, coupled up friends can often say the wrong thing about how you use dating apps.
‘Perhaps they try to live vicariously through you, and end up making your love life endeavours feel like a comedy slideshow, or even worse, attempt to “takeover” your dating apps to help you snag a date.
‘Whilst their reactions to your dating life probably come from well-intentioned curiosity, often this might leave you feeling like you’ve been single-shamed.’
And clinical sexologist and therapist, Ness Cooper, agrees. She says: ‘It can be hard when someone is looking for a relationship, particularly as dating apps an make it a constant part of your daily life.
‘If you’re using dating apps, you’re fully aware of being in the dating pool, and don’t need invasive questions which serve as a reminder that you’re there.’
Of course, it’s understandable to curious, but think about the questions you ask your single friends.
Ness says: ‘Rather than focusing on the method they are using to date, think about how you can help them when they are looking for a romantic partner.
‘This could be offering opportunities to talk things through when they feel they need to, or helping with child care so they can go on dates.’
And what about if you’re on the receiving end of app-tronising behaviour?
Hayley says: ‘First of all, even if you haven’t yet met the person for you, don’t lose trust in your own decision-making ability. Self-love is really important during the dating journey, so don’t let these comments knock you down.
‘If you do give over your profile to a friend, rather than feeling liberated, it may send the wrong message to yourself that you’re not fully capable in this area of your life.
‘Secondly, make sure your friends know how you feel. If you just go along with the joke without expressing how you actually feel, then they don’t get the feedback they need that this isn’t how you want them to interact with you.’
Ness agrees that communication is key: ‘Saying you would prefer to talk about your actual dating experience, rather than the method of finding dates, may be helpful.
‘Have a casual chat about what you did on a recent date and why it went well or badly. Take the focus away from the app and focus on the parts your friend may be able to relate to.’
And finally, Hayley says to focus on your friend’s intentions. ‘If they are trying hard to be supportive but just can’t relate to you, this is a lot more forgivable. If they constantly undermine you, then it’s your relationship with them, not dating apps, that needs to change.’
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