On Valentine's Day, do yourself a favor and avoid dating apps

Commentary: This week on Love Syncs: Give it a rest, man.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson
3 min read

Chill out this week. 

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If you've set foot in a grocery store recently, there's about a 0% chance you're unaware Valentine's Day is almost upon us. Everything is pink and red, alternately fluffy and lacy and, depending on your particular situation, cute or obnoxious. 

For happy couples, the holiday may signify a chance to spend a nice romantic evening together. But for many online daters, it's a screaming crescendo for what's been the most hectic time of the year for swiping, matching, chatting and ghosting. In other words, it's a prime time to put the phone down and take a break. 


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After all, the busiest day of the year for online dating, Dating Sunday was just a few weeks ago. I imagined folks would be depleted from the whole experience and ready to put the hunt on hold with just days to go before Valentine's. I was wrong.  

I reached out to a few of the top dating platforms, like Bumble and OkCupid, and learned that the week leading up to Valentine's Day is jumpin'. Bumble, for example, saw a 10% bump in new users in 2019 compared with prior weeks of the year. OkCupid expects up to 10 million new matches around Valentine's Day. Both companies confirmed those stats surpass an average week. 

It's easy to hear numbers like those and feel the FOMO coursing through your veins like the chilliest of LaCroix. 

But I'm going to propose something else: Instead of giving into this final mad dash of the season, just give it a rest. It might sound counterintuitive, but ask yourself if you want to jump into the dating pool when it's practically frothing.   

This time of the year there's a lot of social pressure to be coupled up. No matter if you passionately hate chocolates and pink hearts, or feel a moderate indifference to something that doesn't include you, Valentine's can be a mire to wade through for single folks. 

Sure, it kinda sucks to be by yourself on Valentine's Day, but that doesn't mean you have to treat it like a deadline and drag any available warm body to the nearest dimly lit restaurant. 

The facade of romance isn't romance. 

I say this all partly because daters complain about burnout, and burnout is particularly prevalent when you're staring into your phone, watching that parade of faces wiz by, and rending garments at the feet of the mighty Aphrodite, every night from 9 to 11:30 p.m. Like it's your job. 

So maybe, this is a chance to opt out of the chaos. Take some time to do other things -- go to a movie, read, have a meal with friends. Reset for the next season. Maybe a profile refresh is in order. Or maybe taking a few days off will give you fresh eyes. 

That doesn't mean you have to rest your thumbs until fall. When Feb. 15 rolls around, pick up some of that discount Valentine's candy and swipe away. 

CNET's Love Syncs is an advice column focusing on online dating. If you've got a question about finding love via app, send it to erin.carson@cbsinteractive.com for consideration. 

Originally published Feb. 10.