Mindfulness Tips for Sucessful Online Dating

By: Kayleen Pen, MA, LPC

Online dating has been gaining popularity over the past 10 years. With applications like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge, people are finally getting more opportunities to meet other singles. Around 49 million singles have tried online dating and over half of them have reported it being a “good way to meet others”. With statistics like these, it's naive of us to turn a blind eye to such an important topic!

One of the most common reasons people come to therapy is to discuss their dating desires and disappointments. For many, online dating is no longer fun and feels like an exhausting, empty endeavor. However, it doesn't have to be that way! Mindfulness can be a great tool for grounding yourself and having a more meaningful dating experience. Here are several tips on how to use mindfulness with online dating:

1.  Slow Down!

Literally. We are so keen to continue swiping on profiles, even if we have matched with someone. While this temptation is totally fair, we start to dehumanize the person behind the profile. Suddenly, those profiles that you would normally consider become irrelevant, and you are more driven by curiosity to see who's is next. Slow down and give yourself the chance to talk with those you've matched with before moving on to see who's next. See if you can set up IRL (in real life) contact before continuing to match with a whole bunch of others. This will allow you to feel less overwhelmed with options and gives you a more grounded and purposeful direction when it comes to dating.

2.  Be more present in the conversation than focused on the future  

Many people enter the first date nervous and excited with the possibility of meeting "the one”. Of course we want to find the love of our life! However, challenge yourself to reframe your mindset before entering the first date. Instead of asking yourself anxiety provoking questions like “can I see a future with this person?” or “do I want to be in a committed relationship with this person?”, be more interested in getting to know the person as who they are in this moment. Be interested in understanding their background, passions, small quirks, and discuss topics you are actually interested in talking about! When it comes down to it, stop analyzing and start being present in the conversation! This will allow you to be more open to the experience rather than being stuck in futuristic thinking. Analysis can come later. Right now, it's time for you to simply enjoy the conversation and learn something new before you decide on whether you can have a future with them.

3.  Use Grounding Skills

Nothing wrong with pulling out a couple of grounding skills to help ease those first date jitters! Use your five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) to help keep you in the present moment. Dates often create a lot of anxiety and can definitely cause you to get lost in your thoughts. Using mindfulness tools can allow you to be present with your date and more calm and open to the experiences.

Tips like these are meant to take that frustrating and anxiety provoking dating experience and actually turn it into something enjoyable. Yes, they are not going to magically help you find the love of your life or save you from a disaster date, but they sure will help! In fact, using mindfulness will allow you to have more success when it comes to dating. Don’t be afraid to explore other ways mindfulness can be beneficial. Get out there and try it!