by Kate Edwards
Ever wonder why your love life feels like an endless cycle of let-downs? Do you feel like you keep dating the wrong people, or can’t find anyone to meet your standards? Are you are great first date, but can’t seem to translate those skills into a real relationship?
Most people who use dating apps can relate to at least one of the statements above. Why? Because dating apps lack one of the most important elements of dating – the feedback loop.
On a dating app, you can swipe right over and over again, but ultimately you get nowhere. The average person is spending 12 hours each week on dating apps, but these apps don’t get smarter or better at matching you. They are designed to ensure you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Why? Because they only reinforce the same bad dating habits, instead of helping you get closer to finding love. You end up choosing the same types of people to go out with, and once you’re finally on the date, you keep doing the same things that threw you under the bus the last time. Face it – you have no idea what you’re doing wrong.
In matchmaking, the feedback loop is our secret weapon. When we set you up and you go on a date, we get insider information that is far beyond the purview of any dating app. After every date, we speak with you and hear what you liked and what you didn’t, and we listen for cues about why it might not have gone as well as it could have. Our process is an iterative one – we are actually able to get better and better at matching you over time because your specific feedback makes each date better than the last.
More importantly, we speak to the person you went out with after every date. Sure, this sounds a bit scary at first, but we know exactly how to do this in a tactful, productive manner. Your date might tell us that you were very sweet, but you kept being negative about your career prospects, which turned them off. Or they might say they were miffed by how you treated the waiter. These are both tiny, easily fixable habits that you would never otherwise know you’re doing. When we get feedback about you, we can artfully suggest that you make a few tweaks. We never try to change anyone, or tell them to present themselves as anything other than their authentic selves, but there are tiny ways everyone can improve their dating skills – we just help our clients speed up that process.
You don’t have to work with a matchmaker to enjoy the benefits of the feedback loop, however. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re not stuck in a dating rut:
1) Go on a practice date
Ask a good friend out to dinner, and let him or her know that you’re trying to be a better dater. Pretend you’re on a date with your friend, and at the end of the dinner, ask what you could have done better. It’s like a mock interview, but with dating. You’ll need to identify a friend that will be honest with you no matter what, or you might just end up missing the whole point.
2) Learn to read people
One thing we notice is that some daters are awful at picking up on cues from their dates, which means they will never learn anything from them. Look at body language, eye contact, and tonality. Is your date genuinely laughing at your joke, or are they chuckling awkwardly? Do they truly want to order dessert, or are they ready to go home? Both men and women often need to focus more on listening and reading cues – it’s the cheapest feedback loop out there.
3) Communicate your feelings
When you don’t like something about someone, it’s ok to let them know, politely of course. When we hear feedback about a client, it can feel awkward for us to tell them, but we know it is in their best interest. If they, for instance, wear too much cologne, and multiple dates have told us it was off-putting, there’s such an easy fix that it would be negligent not to tell them. While it’s not your obligation, don’t be afraid to speak your mind about things like this. That person might be the love of your life, with just one simple tweak. You’d want someone to tell you, wouldn’t you?
4) Adjust your dating app settings frequently
In general, most people are too restrictive with their dating app settings. Your dating range is 31-35, but if you met someone incredible in real life who was 36, you wouldn’t think twice. Make sure after each date you are going back and re-assessing your inputs, so you’re honing in on what really matters. There’s no need to be overly selective, but these filters aren’t arbitrary, they are designed to help you pinpoint what you’re truly looking for.
Dating, like most elements of life, is all about growth. Don’t be afraid to try out new things, and you’ll be sure to get better at the process over time. Feedback sounds like a scary thing, but just remember my favorite adage: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.