With almost 500,000 individuals on dating apps in the UAE alone, according to local news reports citing analytical website App Annie, we all have that friend (or friend of a friend) who’s been on a nightmare date with someone they met on one of the many popular dating apps that are abound these days.
One dater who would prefer to remain anonymous told Al Arabiya English: “I met up with this guy that I had been chatting to and we totally hit it off and I was really excited to see where things would go; however, afterwards, I decided to creep a little bit on him on Facebook and I found his entire profile was all pictures of him and his new bride! He was a newlywed! I was so angry!”
And although not all dates may end with such a worst case scenario, many daters have been subjected to long, boring, and painful dates in their search for their better half.
And we always think, that would never be me. But how can we be sure? What are some ways a person can read between the lines to figure out what’s up with a person before investing too much time, or even more depressing, having a nightmare date?
Many, many people use these apps. According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of Internet users feel that online dating is a good way to meet people and 53% feel that online dating allows people to find a better match for themselves because they can get to know a lot more people. So there’s no reason not to dip your toes in - just make sure you’re careful.
The most important thing is to be hyper-aware because what people share on their profile may not necessarily be a reality. As Niveen el-Saleh, who works in Dubai and holds relationship workshops, explains: “What people share on their profile is what they want you to perceive them as. And this what I call a mask and it may or may not be true. It's very important to see beyond the beautiful words and really take your time in getting to know someone. Internet dating has been popular as most people don't have time allocated to socialize. I would say that it’s okay to consider it, but with precaution and most importantly don't be easily seduced by word candy. Focus on the person 's actions. Actions speak volumes.”
Profile warning signs
1. Unclear picture
If their profile has an unclear picture, or lacks a picture at all, stay away. Many dating apps try to recreate the bar experience which is initially based on first impressions. And while some people may argue that first impressions are superficial, refusing to put any sort of identifiable photo indicates that this person is not even willing to play the game and probably shouldn’t be on dating apps at all either because they’re already in a relationship or aren’t sure what they want from them. So if there are no photos or unclear photos, DANGER DANGER! Dubai resident Connor O’Leary says: “I have a friend who uses these apps and his profile photo is him from 20 years ago.”
If your possible paramor has lots of references to ‘fun’ in their profile bio, watch out, unless you’re just looking for some no-strings attached fun too. Matches that like ‘fun’ usually have lots of pictures in their profile highlighting the type of fun they’re after so that can help one decipher what they’re looking for, regardless of what they say. Many on these apps might already be in a relationship and therefore just looking for ‘fun.” According to Global Web Index, “By gender, men outnumber women on Tinder (60:40) and, although half of its users identify themselves as single, a significant portion are already in a relationship.” So watch out.
3. Photo collector
If you start chatting and he or she immediately starts asking for photos, unmatch that ASAP. First of all, never send photos, especially compromising photos, to someone you don’t know very well. It’s just not worth the risk plus, once you put that kind of stuff out there, there’s no getting it back. It also indicates that this person isn’t interested in really getting to know you but instead just wants something more superficial and physical. One tip is that if it gets to the point where you’re exchanging photos, make sure they send you one first as a sort of photo insurance.
4. Starts calling you “honey,” “baby” or “beautiful”
Flattery will get you everywhere and even though most people know this, it’s hard to deflect flattery when it’s directed at you. But if a potential suitor is greasing the wheels before you’ve even met face to face, this is a potential red flag as they haven’t even met you yet, which begs the question of what exactly they are looking for. As the adage goes, courtesy of the New Yorker’s famous cartoon by Peter Steiner, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” So stay away from dogs, and make sure this is a person who can take the time to say your name.
According to research from Cornell University, “80% of online daters lie in their profile.” But in this modern dating age, with our limited time due to busy schedules, there’s no shame in using dating apps to help find that special someone. Just take everything with a pinch of salt. remember that you don’t owe anyone your time, and be careful.