The first time I downloaded Tinder was in 2016. Propelled by a breakup, I was amazed that I could efficiently find romance again by swiping on a series of photos from the comfort of my couch while eating ice cream. It was a dream setup for someone freshly heartbroken.
It wasn’t long till I booked my first date. He was a Jehovah’s Witness who loved discount coupons. So we went out for a buy-one-take-one cocktail. But frankly, it was an awkward encounter. At night’s end, he asked if he could kiss me. And I said, eager to please, “Okay.” But as he leaned in, I ducked away.
That’s the thing about dating. It’s a reflection of one’s current state of mind. It’s not always about the other person, but more about if you’re ready or not for relationships. At that time, I was far from ready.
Last Thursday, July 7, Tinder hosted a roundtable discussion in Romulo Cafe, Makati, on the future of dating, looking specifically at the characteristics of young Pinoy daters, revealed by a recent survey conducted by Tinder in the Philippines among 18- to 25-year-olds.
Papri Dev, Tinder’s senior communications director of APAC, said, “We recognize that dating is a high-pressure environment.” No words could be more consoling than that, especially to an active dater like me. And in that morning discussion, her words made me rethink dating again. Finally, perhaps, it can be a lot simpler in my 30s.
Here are six ways we can be better daters today:
K.I.S.S. It stands for “Keep it simple, singleton.” Papri Dev shared that 73% of Pinoy young adult daters prefer simple dates. Relationship experts, like Logan Ury or Vanessa Antonio, have suggested that perhaps simple dates are better at building connections. Try taking a walk with your dogs. Or have tea or coffee in a cafe. Forget the fancy dinners and frills at first.
Drop a hint. It’s all about the paramdam. Nowadays, there’s romance in a meme, sticker, GIF, or emoji. It’s all about sharing a laugh or a secret language.
Don’t hyperfocus on tall, dark, and handsome or the “3 Bs” (beauty, brains, body). People are craving human connection now. They prefer to have someone to talk to and to confide in. Some even find it attractive when a person is open to seeing a therapist. A healthy mind is a sign that a person would be a good communicator, has a growth mindset, is a better lover, and can set boundaries.
Never give up on love and finding “The One.” Papri Dev said, “Filipino daters are some of the most optimistic people when it comes to love.” Perhaps it’s because of our love of K-dramas and Pinoy rom-coms that make us ever hopeful about finding the designed one or itinadhana. A whopping 86% revealed they are looking for “The One” or at least a long-term relationship.
Forget the saying, “Opposites attract.” As someone usually attracted to the rebel or the typical bad boy, I know this is not always sustainable. If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, pick someone you’d be okay to be stuck with 24/7. This behavioral change is why Tinder introduced an Explore section, which helps daters find common interests, passions, or my favorite, “Free tonight?”
Don’t be shy. Drop a hint. It’s all about the paramdam. I was talking to a friend about the lost art of letter writing, but perhaps it’s not lost. It’s just evolved into short and snappy messages. Nowadays, there’s romance in a meme, sticker, GIF, or emoji. It’s all about sharing a laugh or a secret language.
Stay true to yourself. I’ve been on a few dates where people have slipped that they’ve searched for me on Google or Facebook. I love that people do their due diligence or homework before meeting me. Today, it is no longer about putting your best foot forward. It’s about being consistent with who you are online and offline. Skip the lies.
Compared to six years ago, I am no longer that girl who ducks away from situations. Instead, I love dating and sometimes see it as a self-development activity. So in 2020, I started a podcast called “Thirsty and Thirty” with my co-host, Ciari, on smarter love, dating, and relationships.
We constantly get messages from people saying, “I just downloaded a dating app.” My instant reply is always, “I’m excited for you!” Because once you get over yourself, dating is fun and rewarding. It’s full of peaks and pits. You’ll also go through momentum and burnout. But at the core, it’s about human connection, which we all need. So here’s a tip: swipe right on Tinder and see how it goes.