Dating Apps and the Danger of First Impressions

I’m noticing a trend among my clients. Many seem to already know each other and have briefly interacted via dating apps. But when they don’t click during that initial interaction—which could consist of just a couple of exchanged messages—they decide that person’s not the one and move on to the next prospect. While there are many benefits to meeting people online, the ease with which you can start and immediately stop a conversation makes it far too simple to dismiss someone who could have a huge impact on your life.

Think about your closest friends. Did you meet them for the first time and know right then and there that you’d be besties for life? Maybe, but probably not. Building a bond takes time. It takes effort and the willingness to dig deeper. It takes much more than chatting for a few minutes within an app.

When deciding whether two people could be a match, I favor quality over quantity. I must seriously think they could be a couple, and at least 70-80% of each person’s criteria should be compatible before I make a recommendation. But sometimes I make what I think could be a match with great potential, but they've already sent a few casual messages back and forth on a dating app. They haven’t communicated in any real depth or tried to learn much about each other, and then things fizzle out, as they tend to do on these platforms.

I believe in a three-week testing period. It takes about this long to discover if there could really be potential with a person. Without giving someone a fair shot, which requires investing some time, I don’t think you can truly know. Sometimes things can be totally off right away, but more often than not, people don’t put in enough effort. I partly blame these apps, with their plethora of options and emphasis on casual communication. People are rarely patient enough to get to the good part.

People rush to see if their potential mate checks off all their boxes, and are so busy making sure they have the right career, come from the right country, and are in the right age range that they forget to actually get to KNOW that person. What makes them really excited? What are their goals and ambitions? What do they do when they aren’t working or studying? Can you answer these questions for the last few people you’ve chatted with?

Many people search for a spark, where you hit it off instantly and there are fireworks bursting through the sky. But most of the time, that spark is a myth. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist because it occasionally does. But I also think this immediate connection gives zero indication of whether a relationship will last and transform into a long and healthy marriage. The truth is, the first few conversations may not be that exciting or give you butterflies in your stomach, but that’s okay! Sometimes the butterflies come after those first few days when you’ve given yourselves a chance to get past the basics.

Hoda Abrahim