Can love, real love, be found as the result of a swipe? It's the question that so many of my single friends and I have been discussing as more of them embrace the world of online dating. Love 'em or hate 'em, dating apps are an integral part of love in the modern world, and since Valentine's Day is around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to find out how to increase your odds of making a real love connection. If anyone could be called an expert, it would be Whitney Wolfe, founder of the Bumble app that's changed the rules of online dating by letting women make the first move -- and around here, we love that it has women's empowerment at its core. We took the opportunity to drill Whitney on everything we're dying to know about online dating, so keep scrolling for the interview, and we'd love to hear in the comments how you feel about love and dating in the digital age (war stories welcome!)
featured image by ali harper
Sometimes it seems like digital dating has played a big hand in creating a "hook up culture" that most of us find really stressful and disappointing. How can apps be used in a more positive way?
On Bumble, women are in the driver's seat. We've created a platform empowering women to make the first move, so they have the ability to steer the potential date/relationship in the direction that they want it to go. Finally, a woman doesn't have to partake in the hookup culture. She can date on her own terms that she creates.
image via wisgoon
Most of us agree that we don't care if we meet our person IRL or on an app, as long as we meet them! Have you noticed any patterns or common traits among successful users?
Honestly, making the first move with confidence makes a difference. A common trait amongst the success stories that we hear is that the women hit it off with and are open with their (now) partners immediately in conversation on the app and that chemistry transfers easily to the first date.
What's the most common mistake you see women make with online dating?
Being scared to make the first move, and undermining how brave it actually is of them to do so. Essentially, Bumble forces women to say hi first, so if a woman isn't the type to make a first move, she can blame Bumble. Everyone on the app understands that the ball is in the woman's court, so men are so excited and appreciative to hear from matches!
Another common mistake in dating is putting too much pressure on a first meeting. Keeping an open mind to meeting new people and managing expectations is a game changer. There may not be romantic chemistry, but everyone that enters your life expands it in some capacity.
Okay, so what's the biggest mistake you see MEN making with online dating?
Not paying attention to how they are representing themselves on their profile. A good profile and bio makes all the difference, because it helps orchestrate a conversation. Also, it's important that the first photo is a solo photo -- that way people know who you are.
For a woman, how important are good photos for online dating? And what makes a good photo of yourself?
First impressions are everything, and your profile is your first impression. We suggest using your favorite current photo of yourself (smiling always translates as approachable, but if you don't smile in photos -- do you!) Pick a photo that best represents the you that will be showing up on the first date. If you don't wear a lot of makeup or do your hair, showcase your natural beauty!
Okay, so we've heard that you don't want your photo to be so good that it's misleading (then the guy ends up disappointed). Is it important to be accurate? Or maybe having several different photos that show a range of how you look?
We recommend showing the range of who you are. Two photos of you by yourself (better not to use selfies), two photos of you doing activities or adventures you love (in the mountains, at the beach, on the lake), two photos of you with people you care about... but keep these towards the end once you've establish who you are (photo with your mom, or dog, or best friend group).
image via fairfaxjournal
And how important is the good bio/description? What makes a really good one?
Bios are the most underrated part of a profile. The best bios start the conversation before it begins by showcasing a witty personality or sharing that you are currently traveling to intrigue a future connection.
What do you think women should look for when it comes to selecting an online match?
Easy communication. If your conversation isn't going anywhere on Bumble, why bother meeting IRL?
image by eleanor pendleton
Are there any warning signs in particular we should watch out for or avoid?
I'd watch out for anyone who lists what they aren't looking for in their bio. That shows that they may not be as openminded long term... plus, it's a first impression. Why be negative?
How much digital interaction should someone have before agreeing to meet up IRL?
Enough to be interested in having a face-to-face conversation.
When you're ready to go face-to-face, what types of atmosphere and activities do you think make for a great first meet up?
We recommend something very casual, like going for a walk together (bonus if you have a dog) or meeting for a mid afternoon drink. This way, you don't commit to a long time together if you don't hit it off, but you can grab a bite to eat and continue the date if there's a spark.
Should women still expect men to pay for a first date? Or are those days done?
We think whoever initiates the date should be comfortable paying. If you make the first move on Bumble and the guy makes the second date to actually ask you out, then it can go either way. But I have always found it a bit outdated to expect a man to pay for a first date because he's a man.
If you could change one thing about how our generation dates, what would it be?
Ghosting. We can't stand that in our generation, ghosting has become almost socially acceptable. We are big believers in kindness, and ghosting isn't a kind way to treat people. Our goal is to change that this year through education.
When it comes to love, do you believe in "The One"? (Or "The Many Possibilities"?!)
I believe that I've found "The One" in my amazing fiancé, but I don't believe anyone can actually know the answer to that question, as everyone's life paths are different.