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Dating apps can be as much a hit to your self-esteem as they are to your phone’s storage.
If you’ve spent hours swiping through dating apps and ended up feeling like you’re not quite measuring up to the world’s beauty standards, we get it.
Dating apps have revolutionized how we find love, but they’ve also given rise to new anxieties. In this post, we’ll explore actionable steps to take if you’re in this situation.
5 Things To Do If Dating Apps Make You feel Ugly
1. Understand The Psychology of Swiping
To begin, let’s understand a bit of the psychology behind the swipe. Dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward, spikes when you get a match. Aha! Validation!
But what happens when you don’t get that match? That lack of dopamine can equate to feeling less desirable.
Now, let’s say you’ve set your sights on someone who seems perfect. They’re attractive, share your interests, and even have a cute dog. You swipe right. Nothing happens.
It’s easy to think it’s because you’re not good looking enough.
But there are a million reasons why they might not have swiped right—maybe they haven’t seen your profile, or maybe they’re not even active on the app anymore. The point is, the absence of a right swipe is not a valid measure of your attractiveness or worth.
2. Take Control: Your Profile, Your Rules
If you’re feeling less-than-stellar about yourself because of dating apps, remember this: You have control over your profile. One way to feel more empowered is to invest time in creating a profile that showcases the real you.
Choose photos where you feel confident, write a bio that captures your personality, and make your first picture a conversation starter. You don’t need to conform to perceived standards of beauty; just be yourself.
What do you want people to know about you at a glance? Maybe you’re a hiker who loves the outdoors—why not feature a picture of you on top of a mountain, radiant, with the sun setting behind you? Or perhaps you’re a book lover? A picture in a cozy reading nook could speak volumes.
Tailoring your profile to reflect your authentic self can be empowering. It can shift the narrative from seeking validation to seeking a genuine connection.
Those who are attracted to authenticity will swipe right.
3. Rejection =/= Unattractive
Rejection is a part of dating—both online and off.
However, the sting of rejection feels much sharper when it seems to happen in rapid succession.
A series of left swipes can start to feel like a judgment on your attractiveness.
But rejection is often less about you and more about the other person’s preferences, mood, or even their own insecurities.
A swipe left is just that—a swipe. It’s not a defining judgment on your attractiveness or worth.
4. Avoid The Comparison Trap
Oh, the allure of the “Explore” or “Trending Profiles” section! It’s a treasure trove of attractive people who seem to have it all together.
But the moment you start comparing yourself to these profiles, you’re stepping into a dangerous zone.
These people are showing their highlight reels, and just like you, they have flaws and insecurities too. Every minute you spend comparing yourself to others is a minute not spent appreciating your own unique qualities.
5. Digital Detox
Sometimes the best thing to do is to step away from the digital dating world.
Taking a break allows you to focus on your well-being and detach your self-worth from your dating app performance.
Use this time to indulge in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Join a fitness class, take up painting, or dive into a new book. When you eventually return to the app, you’ll be a more well-rounded person for it—both more interesting and interested.
6. Practice Real-world Interactions
While you’re on your dating app hiatus, why not practice engaging with people in real life?
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Not only does it improve your social skills, but it also boosts your confidence. You’ll quickly realize that human interactions are much more nuanced and forgiving than a simple left or right swipe.
Plus, the compliments you receive or the genuine laughs you share offer immediate, real-world validation that no app can provide.
The Right Way to Approach Dating Apps
You’ve seen how dating apps can play mind games with our self-esteem. But should you shun them completely? Not necessarily.
Dating apps, when used right, can be a fun and productive way to meet new people. The trick lies in how you approach them.
- 1. Set Clear Intentions: Before you even tap on that app icon, ask yourself, “What am I looking for?” Maybe you’re after a serious relationship, perhaps you’re into casual dating, or it could be that you’re just looking to make new friends. Define your intent upfront. This not only guides how you interact on the platform but also manages your expectations.
- 2. Curate, Don’t Fabricate: Here’s the deal: authenticity attracts authenticity. You want to meet someone who appreciates you for who you are, not for a highly-filtered version of yourself. Upload recent photos that show you doing things you love. And when it comes to your bio, give a glimpse of your personality. Are you a travel junkie, a bookworm, a foodie? Let it shine through. This creates an opening for meaningful conversations and connections, making the entire dating app experience much more rewarding.
- 3. Limit Your Time: Time management isn’t just for work; it’s for dating apps too. Allocate specific slots of time for app usage, and stick to them. This is a boundary that safeguards your emotional well-being. Endless swiping can be exhausting and can create unnecessary stress or negative feelings about your dating life. Limited time leads to more mindful swiping, quality over quantity.
- 4. Engage in Quality Conversations: You’ve matched! Now what? Resist the urge to engage in small talk that fades away into the ether. Be daring; start conversations that matter. Ask open-ended questions that prompt meaningful exchanges. For example, instead of asking, “How’s your day?”, you could ask, “What’s the most exciting thing you did this week?” This not only gives you something to talk about but also gives you an insight into the other person’s interests and lifestyle.
- 5. Take Regular Breaks: This might sound counterintuitive when you’re looking for a match, but taking breaks from dating apps is actually a good thing. It’s like stepping back from a painting you’re working on—you get to see the whole picture more clearly. Use this time to focus on other areas of your life or engage in activities that make you happy. When you do return to the app, you’ll have a fresh perspective and renewed energy.
Let’s circle back to where we started: If you’re feeling unattractive due to your experience on dating apps, know that you’re not alone. But also know that your attractiveness is not defined by an algorithm or by the number of right swipes you get.
You’re not just a collection of well-lit photos and a 250-character bio.
You’re a multifaceted individual with quirks, dreams, and life experiences that make you uniquely you. That’s far from what’s usually portrayed on datings apps!