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Relationships, Staying Safe Online

Top Tips for Dating Apps

Some people enjoy using dating apps but for others it can be tiring and disheartening. We’ve pulled together our top tips for using dating apps, how to help yourself find what you’re looking for and protect your mental health.

Dating apps are only for over 18s.

1. Know what you’re looking for

Before you do anything, make sure you know what you want from dating apps.

Is it a relationship? Something casual? What kind of person are you looking for? 

All these are really important questions you need to know before getting a dating app. It can be hard to find what you’re looking for if you’re not sure what that is, meaning you could just end up wasting your time and energy on people and that aren’t going to fulfil your requirements.  

Most apps also let you choose your location of how far you’d be willing to travel to meet someone, or the age of the person you want to meet.  

2. Check you have the time and energy 

Are you coming to dating apps for the right reasons? If you’re lacking confidence, feeling unhappy, lonely or not happy being by yourself dating apps is probably not the place to go to help you. 

Dating can be hard and does demand time and energy for it to work – Afterall, it doesn’t work until it does! If you don’t have the time or energy to date or talk to people on the apps, it might not be the time. 

3. Choose the right app 

There are dozens of dating apps that all have a slightly different twist on dating and are aimed at different people but that doesn’t mean you should be on all of them! Dating apps can take up a lot of your time so try and limit yourself to one or two. It’s worth reflecting on what you want from dating apps and choose the app that is most likely match this.  Here’s are some of the most popular dating apps and a general guide to who might be interested in them (of course this is different for everyone).


Tends to be more aimed at hook-ups and casual dating. You choose people based almost entirely off appearance. 


For all types of dating but with more information about people’s hobbies, career, what they’re looking for etc. 


Unique in that women message first, this makes it a good option for men and women with less time to spend on dating apps. You can also use Bumble to meet friends and make business connections!  


Mostly London-based. Hosts dating events in person where everyone there is single. The app is also aimed at meeting people in person (read our tips for staying safe on dates) 


For queer women. You can also use it to make friends.  


For gay and bisexual men. Tends to be a hook up app.


For people looking to explore their sexuality and non-monogamous relationships

4. Ask the right questions 

There’s nothing worse than talking to someone online for a couple of weeks and then meeting up in person to then find out that your views on life, important issues, how you treat other people are completely different.  

If you have certain non-negotiables or hard nos, it’s worth noting these down and working out if the other person shares these early on.  

You could also include on your profile more information about what you’re passionate about, for example, if you are a strong supporter of a political party, climate activist, vegan/vegetarian or follow a particular religion or worldview.

Be honest but also recognise that people may not always be honest with you and are likely showing you only their best selves. 

Have you seen [insert news article/book that you’ve read recently]? What did you think?

What are you passionate about?

What books/films/music do you enjoy?

What are you using [insert dating app] for?

5. Take breaks  

Online dating can be exhausting, particularly starting new conversations with people only for them to ghost you, sometimes even after dates. But dating shouldn’t feel like a chore, you shouldn’t feel pressured to be available on them all the time.

If you feel it’s taking over your life, occupying too much of your time, you’re getting more disheartened or it’s becoming a chore, it’s probably time to take a break.

Here are some options to limit your dating app use:

  • Log out of the app
  • Uninstall the app – most dating apps you can reinstall the app later when you have more motivation and energy, and your profile will still be there
  • Pause your profile – some apps also allow you to pause your profile so that no one new will see it
  • Turn off notifications
  • Limit the number of people you speak to at any one time
  • Set aside a certain amount of time in the day for them

It’s also a good idea to take breaks as dating apps can be addictive, especially as you get a little dopamine boost every time someone likes or matches with you. Be wary of placing too much importance on what people on apps think of you and your profile and make sure you’re getting validation from other parts of your life, from friends, work, hobbies so that dating isn’t tied to your sense of self-worth.  


It’s not just you – everyone on dating apps finds it challenging and tiring!

6. Manage your expectations  

With thousands of new people at the touch of a button, you might think it’ll be quick and easy to find what you’re looking for. And it might be, but it also might take more time and energy than expected. 

People can come across very differently online than how they do in person, even if it seems like you have lots in common. If you arrange to go on a date with someone, try not to put too much pressure on it – reframe it as meeting someone new and if nothing else you’ll have learnt something from them.   

7. You don’t have to be on dating apps to date

Although lots of people meet through dating apps, it doesn’t mean that it is the only way to date. Dating apps are a great way of meeting and finding people that are looking for the same thing as you, but don’t be afraid to go old-school! Lots of people still meet in person; at work at sports clubs, or through mutual friends.

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