There was a time when online dating was associated with desperate, antisocial singles. Thankfully, that time is long gone, as one in six Americans have tried it and 60 percent of the country says it’s a good way to meet people. Unfortunately, that ubiquity hasn’t stopped your coworkers, friends, and rude aunt from saying incredibly dumb things once they learn you’re trying to find love via your phone.
Dating of any kind is just a sensitive subject — and criticism or advice is rarely welcomed. Of course, people don’t always realize they’re saying something awkward, so here are a few seemingly harmless phrases or reactions you may want to avoid.
1. “Can I play on your phone? It looks so fun!”
For the married or spoken-for person, dating apps might seem like a novelty. For a single human, they represent real true efforts to find someone (whether for a romp or a relationship, no judgment), so don’t treat those efforts like a thoughtless game of Candy Crush. You’re minimizing their real life.
2. “What will you tell your grandchildren?”
Meeting a partner online isn’t like meeting them at a KKK rally. Don’t frame it as something shameful or embarrassing or automatically unromantic.
3. “You can just say you guys met at Whole Foods or something.”
Again, single people don’t need to fabricate some fairy tale about the way they met their S.O., nor should they cover up the method with a lie. It’s not a big deal.
4. “What’s the latest app? Ugh, I’m so old.”
Yes, there are often new dating apps each month. But humblebragging that you’re soooo out of the loop about Bumble/Tinder/Coffee Meets Bagel because you’re coupled up isn’t cute.
5. “I met my husband on my first-ever online date!”
So you haven’t stayed up swiping until the wee hours, fairly positive that there was no point but continuing to schedule nights with strangers in a two-mile radius anyway? I get that announcements like these are meant to be inspiring — it could happen to you! — but they’re really just jealousy-inducing.
6. “I know a girl at work who’s really into it, too.”
Online dating isn’t some incredibly rare hobby like spelunking in Antarctica. Don’t try to make a single person feel better by giving them examples of other humans you know who online date; it perpetuates the stigma that it’s an odd thing to do.
7. “Wouldn’t you rather meet someone in real life?”
Oh, thank god you mentioned that idea. I’ll give it a try!
8. “No one ever just talks to each other anymore.” *LOUD SIGH*
A statement like this one is meant to be an observation of our increasingly digital lives, but it feels like an indictment. Oh, and an insult, as if our Tinder habit alone is the downfall of Western civilization. We are all partaking in the on-screen revolution, OK??
9. “How do you keep all the guys straight?”
Usually a comment like this is meant to sound impressed, like I bet all of those guys are blowing up your phone! But it can sound like you think a single girl is some sort of slutty gadfly, flitting from dude to dude.
10. “Isn’t the whole process kind of shallow?”
Oh, I suppose you met your boyfriend or husband when he handed over an essay on Chaucer, sight unseen? No. We all make our first impressions of someone based on what they look like — and mutual attraction is an important part of a romantic relationship.