It’s that time of year where seemingly everyone is in a happy relationship.
If that includes you, feel free to sit this one out—go bake bread from scratch and then paint your significant other’s name on your slice using peanut butter, or whatever it is couples do.
If that doesn’t include you, we’re guessing you wish it did—why else would you have clicked on an article about online dating tips?
So, let’s just cut to the chase: it’s cuffing season. You’re looking for love. And, more than likely, you’re doing so on the apps (you know the ones).
When you’re really hurting for a companion to cuddle up and watch your favourite cartoons with, it can be easy to overlook—or consciously ignore—red flags. But your safety and personal happiness should always be top priority.
So, here are some things to keep in mind during your next swiping sesh that’ll help you weed out the people worth pursuing:
Determine your deal-breakers
Some red flags are widespread (no one wants to date someone conceited. Or who doesn’t like pineapple on pizza). But ultimately, what constitutes an immediate swipe left will vary from person to person.
Before you begin poring through profiles, do some introspection and decide what you absolutely can’t entertain. Is a Snapchat username in the bio an immediate no? Or being more than a half-hour drive away? What about people who use their limited profile space to insist they won’t message first (because, like, why are you here, then?)
You get the picture. Sometimes, deciding what you don’t want can help you determine what you do.
Make exceptions — sometimes
OK, so we know we just told you to determine your deal-breakers. But love isn’t an exact science!
And there’s no such thing as a perfect partner. And online dating profiles are rarely, if ever, a complete picture of a person (how could they be; they’re, like, 250 characters).
All that is to say: sometimes you’ll come across someone whose profile contains something you thought was an immediate swipe-left—but it displays enough good qualities that you’re willing to overlook it.
At the end of the day, only you can decide what you’re willing to put up with.
Look out for signs of scams
The internet can be a beautiful place that facilitates far-away friendships and sparks legendary love stories. It can also be a hub for deception.
As a rule of thumb, never give out personal information (like your PIN, social insurance number or address) to someone online. And, be wary if your match is hesitant—or outright refuses—to meet on camera or in person.
Be honest with yourself
You know how, whenever you’re trying to achieve a new goal, everyone always tells you to “find your ‘why'”? You know, focus on the reason you want to achieve the goal—how it will make your life better—and use that as your motivation?
Well, that also applies when you swipe.
Are you looking for love because you’re secure in your personal life and truly want to share yourself with someone? Are you bouncing back from a breakup? Do you just want someone to cuddle with because the weather’s cold and all your friends are in relationships?
You’re the only one who can know for sure—and you should be honest with yourself about your “why” before you start chatting.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t date anyone unless you’re perfectly stable and infallibly happy (spoiler alert: that never happens to anyone). Fulfilling relationships can certainly start by accident or out of something spontaneous. But throwing yourself into a commitment to escape a problem you’re facing will almost inevitably lead to heartbreak.
Be honest with them
Once you’re honest with yourself, the next step is to be honest with whoever you match with.
If you know you’re looking for casual companionship or a seasonal sweetheart, don’t lead someone to believe you’re interested in a relationship just so they’ll stick around. And, the opposite applies, too: if you’ve discerned you’re in it for the long haul, don’t chase after someone who isn’t.
It might be awkward to have the “So, what are you looking for?” conversation upfront. But the less surprises you go in with, the better—a slightly uncomfortable conversation now is a small price to pay to avoid messy misunderstandings down the road.
And, remember: whether you get cuffed this season or stay single, you’re a catch who deserves the very best.
Spruce up your profile with IGNITE’s guide to perfecting your online dating account.