Swipe right: Are you looking for love or fishing for likes?

It can be way less scary to approach someone that you’re into online than IRL (in-real-life), especially if you’re on the shy side! Online dating can help you create that flawless first impression with the perfect profile from the comfort of your phone, and meet people outside of your current friendship group, but there is a danger of hiding behind an app, rather than being your true self.

Watch our video to see how Xander and Lucy turned things around when their online dating became less about finding love and more about getting likes.

Here are some dating-app dos and don’ts:

DON’T live for matches

Although it might feel great to get that match initially, make sure you remember why you’re there in the first place – to meet new people and, maybe, that special someone. Try to avoid focusing on the ‘buzz’ of getting a match (or too many matches!) and make sure it’s more about the conversations you’re having. If it all gets too much, take a break and even turn off your notifications, at least for a little while.

DON’T respond to every notification

Lucy was receiving polite reminders to check out new profiles and matches, but the same way you’d play it cool in real life (or try to!) it’s good to avoid responding to every ping as it comes through! It’s easy to get drawn in to clicking on every notification, especially when there’s the possibility that someone you like likes you back, but trying to limit your time on any app is important for your mental health.

DO pay attention to your mood and wellbeing

When Xander was feeling down, he found himself skipping classes and, instead, looking for that instant boost in mood, by swiping for matches. It’s normal to want to reach for something that makes you feel good when you’re down, but if you find yourself avoiding things in your life or regularly looking to an app to boost your mood, try to address the things in your life that are making you unhappy. And, if you’re not feeling your best, speak to someone you trust or a professional about how you’re feeling.

Remember, not everything is what it seems - so stay safe!

Remember, until you get to know a person, you don’t really know whether you’re a match made in heaven or a pair in peril. Anyone can select profile photos showing their best ‘sides’ and even a photo from their younger days. It’s important to get to know a person – and their likes and dislikes – before you start to build any kind of relationship, online or offline.

Learning about each other’s shared interests and personality traits is more important than whether they look super in that selfie, and, if you decide to meet, make sure it’s in a public place and someone you trust knows when and where you are going.

Where to get support.

For more information about online dating safety, visit The Mix

It is always good to speak to someone you trust about the issues you might be facing, no matter how big or small. Although it can be hard talking about mental health and relationships, it’s something that affects us all, and if you are having trouble, don’t feel ashamed or different, and don’t feel you have to hide away from it.

Speaking to someone you trust about issues your facing or your GP or health professional in relation to mental health, can put you in contact with the right people who can help, and the support can be life changing.

You can also get support from Mind and the NHS

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