How to trade dead-end swiping for a meaningful connection

In the COVID-era, dating apps are more popular than ever. But as restrictions ease and singles are able to mingle in person, our in-person dating skills might feel a little rusty. Relationships expert and matchmaker Louanne Ward on how to get your dating fitness back.

With almost three million Australians actively using dating apps, it has become our go-to link to love. But the never-ending swiping and instant gratification has put us into a dating rut, making us more unhappy, lonely and unfulfilled than ever.

COVID has made our reliance on apps worse. The COVID swiping frenzy has transformed people into ‘master texters’ but when the masks come off and we re-enter the dating scene, will we remember how to do it? To get dating fit, we need to retrain ourselves in how to date in person.

Confidence is key

First, it’s time to flex our social confidence muscle. There is nothing more attractive than someone who is confident.

Rather than waiting for the right timing to approach someone or wondering if they are single, just open your mouth and talk to people. Everybody wants to be noticed rather than being invisible. Social confidence is the key to ditching apps forever.

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Filters begone

Next, stay in your lane and date in your league. Forget filters and fantasies – punching above your weight and searching for someone outside of your league isn’t where lasting, meaningful connections are found.

Successful relationships blossom from compatibility, caring and shared values, not superficial ego-driven desires.

One at a time

It’s also important to follow the rule of one. The paradox of choice causes dating paralysis. Too much choice inhibits decision making and leaves you questioning your choices. You can’t avoid decisions so make the decision to use the rule of one. One app to make connections, one person at a time, one intention.

Once you’ve found someone you want to meet up with, make sure you plan a new chapter of positive dating experiences, activity-based dates rather than coffee or dinner. Focus on only the things you like about a person without thinking about them as a future partner. Stay present and date with intention.

Get comfortable with rejection

Your attitude towards rejection is your measure of how ready you are to date. Keep practicing until you no longer feel attached to an outcome either way. If you create positive experiences, you’ll eliminate any guilt and self-deprecating thoughts.

As well as the ‘dos’ for how to get back into the dating scene, there’s a few don’ts to avoid as well. Don’t rush through the early stages, don’t sext, and don’t race to the bedroom. Don’t focus on why it won’t work and all the things you don’t like about someone. Don’t look to the future rather than enjoying the moment.

Don’t ask transactional questions aimed at finding out what the other person has to give rather than how you can give. And lastly, don’t fall into the trap of setting yourself up for failure by using exaggerated or highly filtered photos on your dating app.

A new season of dating calls for throwing out the old and embracing the new. So try turning your dating habits upside down and creating new positive ones. Whether it’s finding out-of-the-box date ideas, making the effort to give someone a second chance or ditching dating apps altogether.

Louanne Ward is a dating, relationship expert and matchmaker at Louanne Ward Matchmaking.