dating

'I made 3 changes to how I use dating apps. Then I met my boyfriend.'

Riddle me this: distilling the soul into six photos and three interesting facts seems like madness. And yet dating apps can get results. 

I met my boyfriend online after downloading, deleting and re-downloading all of the apps on a daily basis for six months. What changed my luck?

Understanding this paradox: online dating is better the less you’re online. I’m no expert on dating. I am a 23-year-old woman who made the most of grim options in a lonely lockdown. 

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With those stunning credentials, I recommend spending no more than 60 minutes every three weeks on the apps whether you’re looking for the love of your life or your next mistake.

Let me explain the less is more approach by using the analogy of caring for indoor plants (another habit I acquired in lockdown). Let’s grow a love connection online with minimal effort. 

Prep the soil

Mindless swiping kills spontaneity. If the soil is baron of good nutrients like enthusiasm and flirtation, how can any connection grow? When I scrolled randomly every day, I forgot people were attached to profiles. 

I became disengaged when selfies with dogs, glowing reviews of the US Office and height statistics became valuable personality traits.

When I made a one-hour date with my phone and a glass of red on a night I had nothing planned, I was excited to meet people, rather than burnt out from the revolving carousel of options. 

Plant and weed

Swipe a bunch of profiles that spark joy and shoot 20 messages off

Anything from, "Hey baby, what’s shaking?" to "Dwayne the Rock Johnson plays the same role in every movie: discuss".

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The right people will just get it. When my energy was fresh, bad interactions on dating were funny not disheartening.

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I became grateful for the pixel wall that existed between me and the person I was chatting to. It made weeding out the bad seeds painless.

Ashley from two kilometres away doesn’t reply? There are literally a hundred more out there. 

Low-key-racist? Bland as cardboard? Not over their ex? Hello block button, goodbye sad little person! 

Harvest 

It’s time to reap the benefits of your labour with a bountiful harvest of matches. 

Gather your blossoming connections and start chatting - I'd always aim for around four 'chats' from my 60 minutes of swiping, and firing of messages. 

If I struck out over the course of getting to know them, it would usually be three weeks till I was back on the apps, keen to see who else was out there. 

It was after using the system over the course of several months that I struck gold and met my boyfriend.

Disclaimer: This extended metaphor has limitations. 

My method might take the sting out of the mini heartbreaks and endless wondering, “Where are they?” But finding love is not as simple as periodically watering an indoor plant. 

We have no more control over meeting 'the one' than farmers do over the elements that determine the success of their harvest. 

What we can control are our other loves: gardening, a morning hike with friends, playing soccer on a Sunday, reading a really good book. 

These loves require daily attention and cannot be relegated to a three-week cycle. If all else fails, remember this: leaving the search for that special someone to algorithms and thumb twitches is absolutely mad, but then again so is love. 

Natasha is a student at the University of Sydney. She is stumbling through her early twenties and is delighted to bring anyone who will listen along for the ride. Between her affinity of classical literature and #KompellingKardashianKontent, she has come to terms with being a walking contradiction.

Feature Image: Supplied.