VERILY MAGAZINE

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When I sat down for coffee with Caitlin Cooper and Devyn Simone of Three Day Rule matchmaking, I learned a lot about what makes a successful match. Cooper and Simone explain that, contrary to popular belief, getting dates isn’t the challenge for their clients. “The issue with most of my clients is not how many dates they’re going on,” Simone told me. “It’s that they’re going on dead-end dates where they’re unhappy. Often, they lack clarity on the kind of person they actuallywant to be with.” Sound familiar?

If you don’t believe it already, I want to take a second to remind you that it really is possible to meet a great guy—a boyfriend, a husband, even—through a dating app. Ask these ladies. But there are some tactics that make your chance of dating app success much higher. If you’re doing these four things, you’re well on your way!

As someone who has been on both sides of the “no second date” situation, I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that sparing someone's feelings isn't wise—being direct and honest is the way to go. When you decide to politely tell a guy you don’t want to go out again, you will feel proud of yourself, and he’ll get the closure he deserves. Even though things are hardly serious at this early stage, I know it can be hard to actually say (or type) the words. That’s why I’ve laid out some easy to follow directives—these are the dos and don’ts of declining a second date.

Through a lot of trial and a lot of error, I’ve developed a pretty reliable “Spidey Sense” when I’m messaging with guys on Tinder or Bumble. To hopefully keep you from making some of the same mistakes I have, I’ve called out five of the worst messaging behaviors that will serve as your “do not date him” red flags.

Dear Dating App,
Hi. Wow, where do I even start? Our thing is complicated—you know that. It’s not all right swipes and “It’s a match!” screens; it never was. I think about deleting you all the time. But I can’t ever seem to do it. You make me feel hopeful andslightly unhinged, sometimes on the same day and often at the same time.

My first instinct in summers when I’ve been unattached has been to dial up my app usage. But I just ended up spending too many precious moments of summer with my face buried in my phone and barely anything to show for it. Taking a vacation from dating apps during vacation season will help you reset, relax and perhaps even get that IRL “meet cute.” Ahead, I’ve mapped out four places you’ll probably go this summer that also happen to be great places to meet guys.

That said, sometimes it’s best to go to the source, so I decided to ask some real, living, breathing men about what kinds of intros piqued their interest on dating apps. My hope was that talking to men who have been on the other side of the screen would give me some kind of secret intel that we women could really put to use. I think you’ll find their thoughts both reassuring and inspiring.

08. Hiding your anxiety about being single becomes a top priority. Who, me? I’m breezy as they come! Not at all wondering if I’ll ever get married or find true love or have children of my own. Hadn’t even crossed my mind. Can you pass the salt?

I asked a few of my girlfriends who have had good luck on dating apps such as Bumble if they thought the best guys using them had anything in common. Turns out that they do, so I’m sharing my findings with you!

The other day I got a text from a number I didn’t have saved in my phone. He said he had my number but didn’t recognize my name, then gave me his. I had absolutely no clue who he was, but being the curious cat that I am, I egged the conversation on to see if I could conjure up a memory. I couldn’t, but the guy claimed that he had gotten my number some months ago but never asked me out. So . . . why was he texting me now?

The public transportation meet-cute isn’t just a New York thing. When I reached out to about a dozen friends living all over the country to find out if they’d ever met someone during their commute, nearly everyone had a fun or fateful story to share. And guess what—one even ended in marriage. I found stories of successful romantic connections that came about in the most ordinary circumstances . . . and what you can learn from them!

Whether you’re the guest of your boyfriend or vice versa, weddings are a great gauge for figuring out just what kind of man you’re with. Certain behavioral cues can say a lot about his views on the future and a marriage of his own, how he thinks of you, and most importantly—whether he’s any fun!

Rather than give you an exhaustive rundown of every app on the market (there are way too many to even try), I’ve curated a list of apps that each offer something unique or notable—especially for the female users. From “the first feminist dating app” (Bumble) to the app that gives you the opportunity to hand over the decision making to someone else (Wingman)—we’re living in a time where there is quite literally an app for everyone.

By and large, the most frequent complaint I hear from my single and dating friends is that it’s difficult to keep conversation going with guys you have just met or matched with on an app. Whether you don’t know what to say or you struggle to keep the conversation moving forward, there are little tricks you can apply that can vastly improve your conversations—and your odds of scoring a date.

I do a lot of dating, and I have certainly had my share of no-second-date disappointments. Sometimes the lack of follow-up is a mystery. The first date went so well and still, inexplicably, no second date. But, more often than not, I know exactly why my suitor and I never made it to an encore. My guess is you'll relate to what I'm saying here. Too often we are more than happy to chalk a no-call-back up to "his loss" (which it very well may be). But what if it really was something I said?

After what feels like endless years of app dating with no relationship evolving into a serious partnership, you’d think I’d have been on a lot of bad dates. The truth is, over time I’ve developed my own sort of Spidey sense when it comes to men and their digital personas, and I’m proud to say I can spot a guy who is a class-A commitment-phobe a mile away.

Unearthing the gems from the lumps of coal—based solely on a few photos and a short bio—is a frustrating and often unpredictable experience. But! Just like it gets easier to spot a jerk IRL the more you people you date, it gets easier to spot them online the more you swipe.

The breakup itself was awful. I wasn’t ready for things to be over. I didn’t want things to be over. I was genuinely shocked that this man I was so crazy about was so completely sure that our relationship was not worth continuing. After crying, talking, and crying a lot more, he left, and I closed the door behind him. That was almost two years ago, and we never saw each other, spoke, or texted again.

There’s a lot of romantic mythology surrounding the potential to meet the man of your dreams at someone else’s wedding. From Wedding Crashers to Four Weddings and a FuneralPicture Perfect and even quirky TV shows like You’re The Worst—pop culture has teed us up to believe that weddings are a breeding ground for the ultimate real-life meet-cute.And you know what? They totally can be. There really is something in the air when those church bells chime, champagne glasses are lifted, and the DJ puts on “Shout.”

On a first date you want to peel the onion, not cut it right in half. After you get through the cursory stuff like, “How was your day?” and “Have you been to this place before?” drop in a few questions that will begin to expose some of those layers underneath the surface, without making your date feel like he is in therapy.

This may be a backward way to begin this article, but I have to say it: I’ve never actually been that great at casual dating. I tend to let my feelings, carried on the wings of my very vivid imagination, get away from me almost immediately when I meet a guy I like. I can’t seem to tie said feelings down anywhere in between “no” and “ahhh omg so much yes!”

I know many women still harbor a lot of anxiety when it comes to making the first move. In person, I get it—saying hi first is scary face-to-face. Online, you have no excuse. With Bumble, an app where women must initiate the conversation, you don’t have a choice, but I would make a case for doing it no matter what app or online dating site you’re using.

Remember that old adage about not discussing religion or politics at a party? The same tends to be true of dates—or at least, it used to be. A couple years ago you might have been able to get weeks or months into a relationship with hardly a mention of politics, but right now you can hardly get halfway through a drink before someone is bound to bring it up.

Let us get something out of the way: We are not (repeat, not) suggesting that you need to get a Valentine’s Day gift for a guy you’ve been “going on dates with” for a month—especially if you haven’t yet had the DTR conversation. But, if you’re a few months in and things are going well, you’re in what we shall call the Gifting Gray Area.

Every few months it happens. After spending incalculable hours swiping, messaging, and hoping against hope that the person on the other side of your screen isn’t the worst—you give up. You delete all the apps and resolve to get back to basics. You’re going to meet someone the old-fashioned way!

Take it from me—a woman who’s been single on every New Year’s Eve since the dawn of time (speaking scientifically)—nothing does more to dampen the unattached woman’s spirit than the pressure of saying to one’s self (again), “This will be the year I find love.”