I have a confession: I’ve never used an online dating app. Yes, I’m single and have been for a hot minute but the idea of being vulnerable with a complete stranger—before even meeting IRL—scares the living daylights out of me.
Now it’s not to say that I haven’t thought about using a dating app before. I ‘d be lying if I said no, considering we live in a society that would rather communicate with a stranger through a screen than make eye contact on the street. But whether online or in-person, opening up to someone new and making a real connection is not exactly easy. There’s still a stigma that seems to surround vulnerability—and according to Bumble’s latest survey, 43 percent of Canadian millennial women believe this to be true, associating being vulnerable as a weakness rather than a strength.
What it means to be vulnerable
“At Bumble we’re all about smashing those stigmas and encouraging authentic connections that lead to honest, healthier relationships,” says Alex Williamson, Chief Brand Officer at Bumble. “People worry that by putting yourself out there, you’ll get hurt. But in reality, it’s the only way to get what you want and actually be in control of your relationships.” Plus, Bumble is unique in that women make the first move once a connection is established, bringing a little bit of power back into our hands.
By being more open and honest, and showcasing your true personality, it then become easier to make an empowering connection with someone. “I think we all have grown accustomed to filtering our lives on social media, but to truly showcase who you are (not who you think you need to be), to fill out your bio thoughtfully, and to share the music you listen to through our Spotify feature, is to tell a more complete story of who you are,” says Williams. “People usually fall for the quirks and unique traits that make you different and perfectly you, so don’t be afraid to share this so you can connect with people who want to connect with you.”
Curious how to create a more honest profile? Williamson suggests taking these three tips into consideration:
#1: Make your first photo stand out
“We’ve found showing off your smile, your eyes (without sunglasses) and your whole face (without a Snapchat filter) make a positive first impression. Also, make sure it’s only you in your first photo,” she says. “It’s great to include photos with your friends too, but you want your potential matches to know just who it is they’ll be swiping right on when they land on your profile.” (Here’s why you shouldn’t rely on physical attraction when dating.)
#2: Keep your highlight reel real
“Your photos are all about showcasing slices of your actual life—especially the slices you’d like to share with someone,” she says. “If you’re adventurous, show that off by including that great picture of you cliff-diving in Majorca.”
#3: Never leave your profile blank
“This is your opportunity to show off your amazing sense of humour and let your next potential match get to know a little bit about you. Remember to keep it positive!” she says. “For guys who are looking for a date, asking a question in your profile that a woman can answer as her first message to you is always a good idea.” Don’t forget to read up these other dating app profile mistakes.
Newbie to dating apps?
For those of you [like myself] who are new to this kind of dating experience, Williams stresses to be kind to yourself. “Other people don’t define your self-worth so don’t be afraid to make the first move and walk away from a relationship that doesn’t serve you,” she explains. “You have the power within you to create a life that you love and it’s important to surround yourself with people who make you feel empowered.”
Especially with there being an underlying societal belief associating a woman’s worth to her relationship success, it’s dating apps like Bumble who are trying to alter this mentality. “It’s better to be happy, single, and accepting of who you are than to be in a relationship that doesn’t bring out the best version of you,” says Williams. “It’s also important not to define yourself by your relationship, and to feel complete on your own.”
And although I’m still subconsciously waiting for my “meet cute” moment IRL, the dating app world is starting to sound more and more realistic if I’m actually serious about taking the leap and finding a partner who’s right for me. Maybe it’s about time I jump on board.