Suffering from a serious case of ‘swiper’s thumb’? or maybe even ‘swiper’s burnout’?
Ask any singleton surfing dating apps and they’ll no doubt be aware of this phenomenon: thumb strain derived from over-zealous swiping. It can happen to the best of us – dating apps can be addictive and are undeniably responsible for many of us spending a little too long on our smartphones.
And finger fatigue (yes, I am aware how rude that sounds) isn’t the only unwelcome side effect of dating app culture. As anyone who has been on an awkward first date, ghosted or had to reject an all-too-keen suitor will tell you – dating can be emotionally draining too. It’s unsurprising then that when quizzed upon the status of their love lives, many millennials will emphatically announce they’re ‘taking a break from the apps’.
In fact, that exact statement became my mantra this summer. After 2.5 years spent on a virtual dating treadmill without a break, I suddenly realised I was reaching app burnout; dates had become boring and I was swiping out of habit rather than with purpose. So the apps went, freeing up space in my mobile phone’s memory and an even greater, marvellously free space in life.
In my new-found spare time, I paid some proper attention to myself, investing in what us millennials would call ‘self-care’. I ate right, sorted my finances, worked out, took my vitamins and supplements religiously, spent time with my favourite people, went to the doctors to resolve those niggling little health complaints I’d ignored for the best part of a year. And at the end of two months not only were my hair, teeth and nails stronger (vitamins work, my friends!) miraculously my enthusiasm had returned, and in buckets.
I recently listened to a TED Talk that perfectly articulated what it is that dating apps do so well. Titled ‘How to stop swiping and find your way on dating apps’, speaker Christina Wallace described apps as an excellent place to ‘source leads’ – nothing more, nothing less.
It’s quite simple – much like an Oyster card, dating apps can open your horizons and take you to new destinations (although in true Londoner style I always feel like Christopher Columbus whenever I venture beyond zone 3). However, what you can’t expect an app to do is plan the route along the way (unfortunately there is no romantic equivalent to Citymapper). Take an app for what is it; a wonderful way to meet new people, make new connections and make life that little bit more interesting.
My advice? Go on dates with an open mind rather than an expectant one. Nine times out of ten, when I have zero expectations, I’m pleasantly surprised. Arriving with a checklist of pre-requisites will lead to disappointment, and it goes without saying that if you’re looking to fill a void left by your recent ex, you’re probably just not ready to date yet. Another tip – physically go on dates, rather than endlessly WhatsApping ‘flanter’ (aka. flirty banter if you’re not fluent in Love Island speak), GIFs and memes (although there is no greater aphrodisiac than a man with a meme). There’s no algorithm for chemistry and long-winded virtual flirtations can often prove to be a waste of time when Mr or Mrs Hot Text turns out to be a bore sans iPhone.
Despite the occasional bout of app fatigue, I remain eternally optimistic. Many of my friends are in relationships forged online with normal, kind and fun guys and I remain confident I could find that virtually too. At the same time, I have plenty of friends who have met their partners at work, in the bar, through friends of friends… don’t limit your love life to your phone and remember to factor in real life interaction too. I think living by this rule of thumb, rather than allowing your thumb to rule, is the formula for dating success.
Author: Sophie Green