9 Thoughts on Christian App & Online Dating

Single Christians on secular apps, looking out onto the horizon: " Helloooo? Is there anybody worth meeeeeting?"

Single Christians on secular apps, looking out onto the horizon: "Helloooo? Is there anybody worth meeeeeting?"

Yes, I've been on Tinder.

This post is your permission to try Tinder for a day. If you don't like it, you can also just delete it. No one will know. 

I’ve also signed up to Happn, LavaLife, eHarmony, trawled casually through RSVP, Match and Plenty of Fish. I've downloaded the Christian version of Tinder (called “Collide”) and grew frustrated at its lack of functionality and it’s insistence to match me with guys physically in Vancouver and California (I’m in Sydney Australia. We’ll talk about LDRs in another article).

To be sure, I have a list of regrets, should-haves and should-have-nots. But for the person thinking of trying e-dating and hesitating, I hope this post pushes you out of your armchair, into the world of small risks and tiny wins.

Think of it as another personal development tool. Another instrument to learn about who you are and what you want. In the words of my favourite Christian psychologist Dr Henry Cloud (summarised and paraphrased):

"Dating should be treated just as a fun social activity, not as a way to meet the one you will marry, or else you put too much pressure on the first date."

So with no further adieu, here are my 9 Thoughts on what is unfortunately just a heavily stigmatised introduction service:

1. It doesn't work in isolation

This man is alone in the wild. And the lonely wild is not how online and app dating works.

This man is alone in the wild. And the lonely wild is not how online and app dating works.

If you can strike up a conversation with a person on an app but not in real life, and are making no efforts to expand your social approach skills, I would encourage you to take a break from swiping. 

The purpose of apps/online is to give you more opportunities. Don't grow app-dependent! Don't crutch on it to meet new friends! Go to a bush walk Meet Up or a Finance Class. Use it as one method amongst plenty you have already incorporated into your busy, exciting life. 

2. A few emails is not sufficient to determine spouse material

It sounds obvious, doesn't it? 

This will shock you, but I've actually had the worst online dating experience through eHarmony. Through no fault of the site's, the narrowly guided communication function is intended to specify right down to the core of a person's being, and thus accurately assess compatibility.

However because of it, the Expectation Metre gets waaaaay too high for some guys. When I embarked on meeting 2 of these Christian men through eHarmony, I wondered if we were reading the same emails to each other...

One was determined to get married after the first date.

The second looked at me like a long-awaited, indiscriminate sandwich after fasting himself from sandwiches for five years.

My point being - it's meant to be a lighthearted introduction service. So treat it like one!

3. A Great profile is an art

Short, succinct, honest. This will help you filter out the no-gos.

Short, succinct, honest. This will help you filter out the no-gos.

While most apps and online profiles allow a paragraph, when do you actually sit down to read a whole essay on a dating platform? Most people swipe left after so much as the first look

Alas, I'm a Great Dating Profile Appreciator. With this knowledge, my best experience was on Happn. The handful of gents I met through the app were courteous, lovely and complimented me on my slightly quirky and tacit mini bio:

My favourite word is pulchritudinous. 
I studied to be a Pastor. My hobbies include analysing personality types, writing poetry, rock climbing and eating obscure foods.
Character is sexier than achievements. And yes, I still subscribe to Jesus.

That was literally all I wrote. Short, succinct, honest. Which brings me to my next point.

4. You need to be upfront about who you are and what you want

But say it tactfully. Understand you are responsible for your own life choices, not judging the choices others have made for their own lives.

For example: "I still subscribe to Jesus" clearly communicates I am a Christian, but it's not in-your-face and is appropriate for a secular dating platform. One guy saw that I was a Christian after matching with me on Happn and said "Hey Jess, you are really beautiful but I think our fundamental beliefs have us on different life paths (kiss face emoji)."

Trust that there is maturity amongst those who possess opposite values so you don't fear describing your true self, even on an app! In other words, they can either take you or leave you.

5. You get to practice bantering

...with very little risk of embarrassment.

Don't place too much value on the start of a conversation with a guy you just met on an app. It's your opportunity to practice different means of conversational techniques, like funny one-liners, riddles, and the occasional haiku ;).

6. You get to practice your social skills

"Hello. How are  youuu ?"

"Hello. How are youuu?"

Good Christian girls (and boys) rarely go on dates.

Championing the cause of seasonal celibacy and sexual integrity, we think super-holiness is our banner because we haven't been on a date in years. If you've got a thriving social life, can hold two opposing ideas in tandem and know how to conversation the heck out of a new acquaintance, I salute you. Keep not-dating.

However, opportunity awaits to practice and learn about men (or women), dating etiquette and making conversation with strangers.

Throw yourself in a new situation and use your imagination to make it a fun experience. Diversify! But...

7. Set boundaries

....like only having afternoon dates as first dates.

We are most vulnerable and needy for intimacy at night. After half a glass of wine I don't trust myself with a new guy, especially one I would find extremely attractive. Going on app-dates or online dates showed me patterns I should avoid. We are all needy for connection. If a handsome cutie is lavishing compliments on me it will take me extra amounts of self control to withstand him, so I've resolved to 2 Timothy 2:22-24 it.

Also, if a guy asks "DTF?" on Tinder you can block + delete him immediately. Exclusively keeping in respectful guys looking for a potential friendship-turned-relationship means you are keeping out sleazy yukky people who just want to get into your pants (no offence!). 

8. Assume you will go dutch

Ladies, expect to pay for yourself, no matter the outcome.

I don't agree when women talk about letting the guy pay as a means of signalling her interest. A gentleman will want to pay for you, love interest or platonic friend. That being said, it's nice when a man offers to pay for me, but I would happily shout him back. More on that here.

9. If it’s not fun, don’t do it

Guys throwing their numbers at me after so much as the first "Hello" on Tinder = not fun.

Going to a dorky Christian event with socially odd people = tolerable, but mostly not fun (also awkward).

Playing Would You Rather on the chat function on Happn = mostly fun!

Going to a Church-organised speed dating-style event, completely top-secret and under the radar... ending with crazy dancing in Double Bay, meeting both amazing men and women = super fun!

Who wants to meet someone under desperate feelings for a partner and signing up to any crappy thing just to increase your odds? Incorporate the priority of meeting new people into the fun stuff you are already doing in your vibrant, bustling, exciting life.

Do you have an app or online dating profile? What tips do you have for the hesitant? Like, comment and share below!

Or...keep anonymously Reading more on Christian Dating here.