1. You only meet people through SOD (swipe/online dating).
That may sound weird, because this has become the norm in terms of how we date and hook up, but if the only way you meet people is by swiping away on Tinder or Bumble or any of the other apps, you’re unlikely to find a long term, stable relationship.
I actually have an entire post answering that question, but here’s the quick summary: the way men and women swipe creates a mismatch. Men swipe right approximately 46% of the time, whereas women swipe right only about 14% of the time. In addition, researchers have shown people tend to swipe right on profiles that are on average about 25% more attractive than they are, and when you combine this with the fact women are just better at taking pictures and making themselves look attractive, the end result is that women tend to match with men significantly more attractive than they are.
Because when boy and girl meet up IRL, the guy is often disappointed — she’s less attractive than he thought, and he he knows he can do better (anecdotally this has been my experience, as well as most of my male friends). So while he might be willing to hook up that night, he’s not going to stick around in the long run.
THE INTERNET IS NOT REAL LIFE.
The other problem with swipe dating I didn’t touch on in the other post is that it creates the false impression there are a limitless number of attractive humans out there you can meet, and that is simply not the case.
In addition, when you’re swiping, you’re seeing pictures of people at their very best, and you’re envisioning yourself at your very best. But at some point we need to be attracted to each other eye to eye, heart to heart, skin to skin. And all me crazy, but I think everyone has a sort of aura as well — an energy or spirit we can sense viscerally. But there’s no way to convey this online.
The point is that if you don’t ever try to meet people IRL — or aren’t open to the idea — say at a farmer’s market, a bar on a Friday night, on vacation, or your grocery store or local coffee shop, you have no reference point for how you come across to others, and lose the experience and confidence that comes from these interactions.
Personally, I don’t use swipe dating (I dabble from time to time, but find that I do much better meeting women IRL), but if you do, don’t make it your only option. Employ your social circle, join a club, volunteer, or find some another way to interact with living, breathing human beings other than through phone.
2a. You’re addicted to your phone.
Sense a theme here? Good. Because for many of us, the smart phone is a huge problem. The average adult today spends around three and a half hours on their phone everyday.
And it’s bad because that’s time spent not reading books, talking to other people, exercising (although, I suppose that can be part of it), learning new skills, playing cards or board games, or simply observing the beauty of the world around us.
In a word, it’s bad because being on your phone all the time makes you boring. Disconnected. And on a date or in a relationship, being boring and disconnected isn’t going to lead to much success.
2b. You’re addicted to social media (ladies?)
Social media, while hypothetically a good way to stay connected with friends and family, comes with some pretty nasty liabilities:
- It’s been shown clinically to increase anxiety and depression.
- It has a negative effect on mood, sleep, and general well-being.
- The more people use social media the more likely they are to attempt to commit suicide.
But there’s another danger with social media specific to dating, which is that for many people it becomes a source of validation.
We all know, for example, that Instagram is a massive thirst trap — but what thirst is it quenching? If we’re honest, for a lot of people it’s the need to feel attractive. Prior to social media we could only quench this thirst by meeting other people who were attracted to us and expressed this attraction in person, but now we can simply snap some selfies and watch the likes roll in.
I say “ladies?” because it seems pretty self evident that women tend to use social media to validate their attractiveness more so than men — although it certainly does happen in reverse.
For guys, however, we see a different problem:
2c. You’re addicted to video games (dudes?)
It’s basically the same thing: false validation.
However, with video games, instead of the false validation of beauty, it’s the false validation of accomplishment.
And yet, people (mostly guys if we’re honest) spend entire weekends doing nothing more than staring at a screen of some avatar accomplishing a feat that mean nothing as it translates to the real world. So I’ll repeat:
THE INTERNET IS NOT REAL LIFE.
Whether it’s social media or video games, the validation you get on a screen isn’t real and for 99% of it isn’t useful. Likes don’t make you more likely to land a boyfriend or husband — and remember, beauty is fleeting. Honey, you’re cute — but you don’t have the chops to make it as an Instagram model. Similarly, beating a video game in most cases doesn’t mean shit. It’s not going to pay you a salary, or convince girls to like you.
That doesn’t mean you have to delete IG or quit playing video games, but don’t get addicted.
3. You’re too picky.
Let’s start with the low hanging fruit: “6′ and over,” a request we often see on female dating profiles.
Well ladies, guess how many guys in North America are six feet or over? About 20%. And as we might expect, a large number of those dudes are taken, whether in relationships or married; another portion is probably undateable (doesn’t have a good job/out of shape/unattractive); and a third portion is lacking in social skills or gay, which means the number of socially competent, economically attractive men who are six feet or over and single is quite small (as one of those men, I rejoice at this fact — but I also feel for my shorter though no less worthy brothers).
Now look, I get it: if you’re a woman who’s 5’10”, there’s something to be said for wanting a guy who’s tall. The point here is not to say that any one deal breaker or expectation is wrong, but if you have too many, or simply expect a level of attractiveness that’s unreasonable based on your own, dating is going to be difficult if not impossible.
You see, no one likes getting a bad deal — and just as with online dating which tends to match less attractive women with more attractive men, any situation where both sides aren’t bringing commensurate value is unlikely to work, especially in the long run.
Understand as well that pickiness, especially for women, comes at a high cost. Because where men can build value over the long run and as long as they stay in shape, remain quite attractive into their 40’s and even 50’s, women in their 40’s and 50’s will have a hard time competing with those in their 20’s and 30’s, many of whom are more than happy to date older men… an inconvenient truth, perhaps, but the truth nonetheless, and not one that I made up.
THE INTERNET IS NOT REAL LIFE.
Again, part of what leads to pickiness is that it seems like when we scroll through Facebook, Instagram, or swipe through Tinder, the potential matches out there are endless, and just around the corner is this gorgeous person who, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way and will swipe right on your profile.
But they’re not. Indeed, there exists a very finite number of people who live in your area who you find attractive and who find you attractive — unless perhaps you live in a place like NYC, London, LA, or Sydney, and even then people often run in similar circles.
I guess what I’d say is use common sense. If you’re a guy, for example, how many models have you dated in your life? If the answer is zero, don’t expect to match with one on OKC.
4. You flake on dates and/or ghost people.
Every time you do this, you destroy your value.
If you flake on a date, that other person may decide you’re not worth their time, and even if they do, you’re now suspect and not going to get the benefit of the doubt in other situations. So you may have literally lost a great partner — even a husband or wife type — forever.
The other problem with flaking is that it becomes habit, because let’s be honest: meeting someone new is hard. It provokes anxiety. It can be uncomfortable. And so the more we do it, the more it’s justified — I had a hard day at work; I don’t feel great; a friend wants to hang out; etc.
But then pretty soon, flaking for the more comfortable, less valuable thing — like staying at home to binge Disney+ because deep down you always wanted to be a princess — becomes the norm, the pattern, the expectation, and you’re well on your way to too many cats land or old man purgatory.
It’s like flaking, but worse, because at least with flaking, the person can move on: the flake happened. It’s a thing. With ghosting, however, you’re leaving an open loop; the other person has no idea where they stand. And that’s just mean and unnecessary, when there are plenty of ways to tell them, politely, that you’re not interested.
Moreover, you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to figure out what it really is you’re looking for in a partner. Think about it: if I don’t like someone and never have to reply to them or explain why, I don’t have to explain it to myself either, and I’m no closer to figuring out what it is about that person that didn’t work for me.
In sum, I learn nothing. About myself, or about what I want.
The other thing is that karma is real in my experience, and both flaking and ghosting people means you’re throwing negative energy into the universe. Understand, that negative energy is going to return to you, multiplied, and that is not good.
Point blank: if you don’t treat people with dignity and respect, at some point it’s going to be a problem. And by that time a solution may be too late.
5. You’re too busy/don’t make time to date.
Ugh… I’m currently pouring some out for all the single moms I’ve tried to date.
Come on ladies, you gotta give me something to go on! Once every other week ain’t going to cut it!
Before everyone freaks out, please understand I’m not saying guys shouldn’t date single moms — and I get that the kids come first, because of course they do — it’s just an example of a particular group that is often too busy to date in earnest.
And I’m sure women on the flip side have experienced the same: a guy who either doesn’t have his shit together or is too focused on his career or kids to have time to hang out.
Thing is, we all understand that life happens, kids happen, careers happen, etc., but if you can’t hang out at least once a week, it’s going to be very difficult to have a relationship with someone — especially someone who’s desirable and has other options.
Point is, if you’re really that busy, don’t date OR figure out a way to be less busy. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time, as well as that of those who date you.
6. You don’t communicate like an adult.
Everyone knows people are busy and in the flurry of texts and DMs on however 17 zillion social mediums there are, it’s easy for a message here or there to get lost… but if you can’t manage regular communication with a person you’re interested in romantically, they’re eventually going to move on.
Because our default as humans is that we see a lack of response as disinterest — in a lot of cases it is (although again, don’t ghost people; there are a million polite ways to tell them you’re not interested). But I’ve also dated several women who didn’t get back to me in a timely fashion, even though it turned out they were very interested (read: sex happened).
In the end, however, I got tired of dealing with their lack of communication and broke things off.
Note here: I’m not saying you want to constantly text people or that we should always expect an immediate response. Sometimes, especially when first getting to know someone, it’s perfectly fine not to text them for a day or two — you don’t want to be too needy or presume a level of connection that isn’t there yet.
But when someone asks a direct question, tries to set up a date, etc., you should get back to them within a few hours time unless your phone is dead, you don’t have service, or you’re in some other sort of situation where you can’t use your phone.
A point that needs to be made here is that if you’re communicating with more than about 10–15 people on a daily basis unrelated to your job, you’re going to have problems. For example, if you’re sending snaps to 5 or 6 people, texting another 7–10, DMing a few on Insta, and communicating with another 4–5 matches on Hinge, it’s going to be impossible to keep up in the long run.
Also, that’s a lot of time to spend on what’s probably a lot of mundane, everyday sort of nonsense.
7. You have too many or too few options.
If you’re dating with intention, you want to have the right balance of options.
Too few and it’s easy to come off as needy and over-invest in the few people you’re dating. Gents, this tends to be our problem: we get over-excited about a particular girl because swipe dating is horrible for men or our social circle is female-poor, so we feel like we have to make the most of the few leads we have, which inevitably scares women off.
On the other hand, if you have too many options, it can lead to paralysis by analysis, and human beings do worse. Ladies, this tends to be your problem, because you match with a lot of guys on the apps and want to keep them all, as some sort of Pokemon collection, only with cock towels and fish pics.
Seriously, I’ve looked at some of my female friends’ dating apps, and they’ve got like 50 guys on there. That’s an impossible scenario to manage — there’s no way you can communicate, let alone go on dates with all of them. And it’s going to be almost impossible to decide which guy’s the right one, even if you’ve had good dates with a few of them, because that FOMO is there with all those other bros you matched with.
So for most guys (and some girls), sorry to break it to you, but you can’t rely purely on the apps — because unless you’re a 6’2″ chiseled jawline Chad, you’re not going to match often enough to have options.
For ladies (and some Chads?), once a conversation dries up or the dude seems weird or whatever, tell him thanks but no thanks and un-match. Because if you have more than a half dozen or so options, you’re not going to be as serious with the really good ones, or you may miss them entirely.
8. You don’t invest in the relationship, or worse starve it.
If you’re never reaching out, planning a date, doing something nice, or opening up with the people you’re with, especially after a couple dates, at some point they’re going to get tired of carrying the relationship.
Because good relationships are reciprocal: there is balance, give and take, yin and yang. As anyone who’s done it knows, if you’re constantly giving and never receiving, after awhile it becomes exhausting, and at some point the relationship isn’t worth the effort.
On the flip side, if you’re constantly receiving and never giving, you’re going to feel really loved right up until that person sends the most dreaded text of all: we need to talk.
Now I’ll acknowledge here that in general, because of the dynamics between men and women, it’s customary and perhaps better for the man to be the one to initiate — most women I’ve talked to appreciate the fact I plan the first date, whether I dated them or not, and that seems to be the consensus from what I’ve seen and read elsewhere.
However, ladies, at some point it’s nice when you take the initiate and invite us out or plan something or just do something nice. I have to say, anecdotally, based on me and my male friends’ experience (all professionals who make good money and most of us over six feet — lol), this is pretty rare for whatever reason these days — and because of that fact, it’s a huge game changer when it comes to whether I want to keep seeing a girl or not.
A similar mistake people make when it comes to dating is starving the relationship. This often happens as a result of being too busy, but whatever the reason, if you don’t see someone at a rate of at least 1.5x every two weeks, it’s not going to work out. You simply aren’t feeding the relationship enough energy for it to grow.
I guess another way of looking at it is that we all want someone who is genuinely excited to date us, and when it seems like that’s not the case, it’s hard to want to try or care too much. So yeah, of course you don’t want to go around saying “I love you” after your first coffee, but on the flip side, don’t play it so cool they think you aren’t interested.
9. You push the relationship too fast.
So, I don’t know how much this happens in reverse, but it’s happened to me quite a bit, which is that I’ll go on a date or two with a girl, and then all the sudden she’s asking me, “what is this? What are we? Are you seeing other girls?”
But it relates to point seven above, which is that I try to give myself some options, because if I don’t, I can all the sudden find myself with zero.
That said, I’m not opposed to being in an exclusive relationship, but that needs at least a month or so to develop. I want to have hung out maybe five/six/seven times with a girl before I cut any others I’m seeing and commit to her and her alone.
Again, I’m sure this sometimes happens in reverse, but my instinct and experience tell me that it’s mostly women who push for exclusivity too fast. Here’s what you have to understand ladies: it’s not necessarily that I want to play the field — but if you decide for whatever reason you’re not into it anymore, you can immediately have some pretty good options after 10 minutes of swiping.
For 95% of guys, that’s just not the case. I might get two or three matches with an attractive woman a month (granted, Portland isn’t a huge market), and then who knows if she’ll flake or ghost after the date or turn out to be a catfish or whatever as so often happens in the world of modern dating through no fault of my own.
So before I commit, I want to make sure it’s solid, and be assured that she deserves my commitment. Because frankly, a lot don’t.
Anyway, let the relationship develop, and then, given enough time, this question will tend to answer itself.
10. You’re not putting your best foot forward.
Probably the biggest problem of all. Be Open.