Relationship Expert Tells Us The Dating App Mistakes That Are Making Your Search For Love Harder

Let's get something straight: dating apps can be the stuff of nightmares. Although they were created to make meeting people easier, they've actually made it harder in some ways. Why? Because now there are all these options in the palm of your hand. With more choice comes more competition. Considering there are over 360 million dating app users worldwide, trying to stand out doesn't just feel impossible, but can actually be impossible. What does one have to do to get a "right swipe" these days?


"Online dating is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it creates wonderful connections," psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD told Cleveland Clinic. "The downside is that it can often bruise your self-esteem. Many singles struggle with feeling rejected, competition, or extreme pressure to create a false front or be perfect online."

While it's easy to blame the apps for your lack of matches — their algorithms leave much to be desired after all — some of the responsibility also falls on you and your dating app etiquette. To help you get the most out of your dating app experience and, ideally, find love, Women exclusively spoke to Pippa Murphy, sex and relationship expert at Condoms UK, about the dating app mistakes you might be making. Here's what you should (or shouldn't) be doing differently.


Thoughtless language

Although it should be a given that you don't enter a conversation doling out insults and swearing, what you say (and don't say) still matters. For example, just dropping a "hey" or "what's up?" as a conversation starter is not going to get you very far. "Not only does this imply that the person you matched with isn't worthy of you making a real effort, but it also comes off boring," Murphy exclusively told Women. "I usually find that people who only send a one-word message on a dating app are usually looking for the quickest way to eliminate their responsibilities." As Murphy pointed out, studies have found that online daters can tell within 30 seconds if they've made an online connection or not. "That's why the opening line is so important to get right if you plan on making a real connection with someone online," said Murphy.


But once you get the chat moving along, it doesn't mean you can take a backseat; you still need to put your best self forward and that means being positive. "Try to avoid using the words 'dislike' or 'don't' as this throws in negative vibes," said Murphy. "Instead, lead with things you enjoy doing and look for in a partner." Later on, once you've proven that you contain multitudes, as they say, you can get into your aversion to white socks, your disdain for Coldplay, and why boiled carrots are the worst.

Too many selfies

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too many selfies. Especially when it comes to dating profiles. You may not realize it, but excessive selfies say quite a bit about you. "I've noticed that people who have an overabundance of selfies on their profiles usually take an overabundance of selfies in person too," Murphy exclusively revealed to Women. "When I see multiple selfies, I think they're only looking for validation from others rather than connecting with someone who might like them for themselves." Although Murphy did say that this isn't necessarily true for all selfie-wielding folks, there's still a correlation.


If a need for validation isn't the case, an onslaught of selfies could mean that you don't have many friends which, as Murphy pointed out, is fine. (Less friends means more reasons to stay home.) But if someone doesn't have any close friendships, then their partner can sometimes become their everything and, from there, an unhealthy codependency could arise. Again, this isn't a guaranteed scenario, but one should be wary of people who don't have any friends.

Bad grammar

For years, studies and surveys have been revealing just how much of a turn-off bad grammar is for most people. One 2017 study, in particular, by Match found that superb grammatical skills are more important than good teeth and confidence. "I mean, it's not hard to proofread your profile and messages before posting or sending them," said Murphy. "If you're going to write something and put it out there for everyone to see, at least make sure it's grammatically correct!"


A more recent study from November 2023 by dating app Pure found that grammatical errors and misspellings are a major turn-off for a whopping 71% of daters! "Bad grammar makes a person wonder if they're actually serious about finding someone, or if they're too busy in life to commit to thoughtful messages," explained Murphy. Listen, no one wants to fall in love with, let alone build a life with, someone who doesn't know the difference between there, their, and they're. 

Being too specific

When most people get on a dating app, they have some idea of what they're looking for. For example, a 2023 survey by Pew Research Center found that 44% of people join dating apps to find a long-term partner, while a 2023 survey from the Survey Center on American Life found that the expectations of educated women are keeping them from getting matches as often as they'd like. So, it's safe to assume that those who go into online dating rarely do it blindly.


But just because you know exactly what you want doesn't mean you have to list it. "I've found that people who are too specific about what they want from a relationship usually aren't in touch with their emotions or needs," Murphy exclusively told Women. "They're focused on what others can do for them rather than on what they can do for others in return."

While there's nothing wrong with knowing what you want and deciding that you're not going to settle, there should be a bit of wiggle room. As Murphy explained, being specific makes it seem like you're "only looking for someone to fill a void rather than becoming part of someone's life." Breaking news: you're not going to meet someone who's going to embody every specification that you've decided makes an ideal partner. That simply doesn't exist. People aren't perfect, yourself included, so keep your mind open to possibilities as opposed to closing every door that presents itself.


Overdoing it with the cliches

The world is full of cliches. Trying to get through a day without being inundated by cliches is a feat and a half. But guess what? As much as cliches are everywhere and are, in some cases, quite funny because of their irony, avoid the cliches on your profile. "It seems like every single person loves 'The Office' and would pick David Attenborough as a dream dinner date," said Murphy, adding "the same lines such as 'I love to travel' and 'I love eating out' don't add much personality to your profile unless you follow up with specifics." Most people love to travel and go out to eat, and who hasn't said "that's what she said," easily 100 times in their life? These aren't just cliches, but common denominators because the chances of finding someone who doesn't like these things is pretty slim. "It can become predictable to read the same cliches over and over and it doesn't set you apart from the crowd," explained Murphy. "Be refreshing and original, offer a witty anecdote, and stay creative."


Trying to craft the perfect dating app profile is impossible. Perfect profiles don't exist because perfect people don't exist. So throw out the idea of perfection. Instead, lean into being authentic and honest. Don't be afraid to let your quirkiness shine. As long as you keep things grammatically tight and void of too many selfies, the rest will fall into place.