This week: What to do when you just wanna burn it all down.
Q: With the constant swiping and a string of terrible first dates, I'm ready to delete all the dating apps. How do I combat the burnout?
A: Holster your swiping finger, pal, and let's talk about burnout.
Burnout is very real. Like a dead phone battery. Or an empty jug of milk sitting in your fridge. Or the yawning silence of an important email left answered. It's a thing. And it's not great.
There's a way to come back from it, though. You mention "constant swiping," so I want to start there. Particularly with swiping-based apps, it's easy to fall into the habit of swiping whenever you're bored and have a few minutes. You might pull up a dating app while you're in line at the grocery, at home watching TV or even RIGHT NOW. (Are you swiping now? TBH, that's a bit rude. I'm trying to do a thing here.)
Anyway. Though this might be a way to fill the time so you don't have to be left alone with the thoughts banging around in your brain like a feral cat in an alley at 2 a.m., it's not necessarily the best way to approach online dating.
For starters, swiping can be a numbing experience -- you're watching a parade of faces fly by. In truth, you probably spend about a second on a profile before moving on, unless someone really jumps out at you. Feeling like there's no one out there can nag at you, especially when it seems like you're investing a lot of time looking and not finding much.
Here's the thing, though: Swiping while sitting through the latest episode of The Masked Singer isn't exactly the most focused or deliberate way to go about searching for a date.
Instead of swiping fast and swiping all the time, limit the amount of time you spend every day on The Apps. Slow yourself down. Take a bit more time to really look at profiles. And when you're done, close that app and give yourself a break.
Breaks are important; they let you reset and come back to any situation with fresh eyes. You might need a short break from dating apps. It's also OK if you want to step back for longer. Don't feel as if you're required to sit perched like some 13th century gargoyle, ever vigilant to catch that ONE PERSON. You know, the one with the face, the impeccably-curated list of favorite bands and the subtle reference to your favorite Dave Eggers book in their bio.
As for that string of bad dates, unfortunately it's almost impossible to know if a date is going to be good or terrible until it's happening. You might try keeping those first dates short -- coffee, a drink, an ice cream -- something that reaches a point of possible conclusion after only 30 or 40 minutes. Whenever you have a crummy date, mentally toss it on your pile of war stories for the next time you and your friends are having that conversation.