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  • Marissa Swanson

Single Girl Etiquette

Updated: Jun 3

Part 1: Dating Apps

I have been single for going on 4 years now and while I have been in a handful of ‘situationships’ over the past few years, my last serious relationship ended in August 2017. During this time, I have had a variety of experiences that have shaped the way I approach being single and dating. Some of these experiences involve dating men, some come from stories from friends, and others come from the endless supply of advice, sometimes unsolicited, from people around me. By no means am I claiming to be an ‘expert’ on being single, but I have gained a lot of insight that by sharing, I hope can help others.

Dating Apps – can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

2020, I hate to say it, was an unprecedented year for my dating life. I started out the year strong, surrounded by friends, dressed to the 9’s, ringing in the new year in the best way possible. With such a grand start to the year, I decided in 2020 I would focus on finding my ‘forever person’. I thought to myself, “It’s time I rejoin the dating app world,” and I created a profile on Hinge.

Queue the profile creation.

There are many factors that go into why people choose one dating app over the other. I prefer Hinge because it is user-friendly, and I appreciate the level of customization that can go into your profile. It is not a simple A/S/L (where all my Millennials at) with pictures attached, Hinge allows fun profile prompts that can really give insight to your personality and preferences. Since then, I believe other apps have caught up and include similar features.

The Basics

Whether you choose to divulge all your details - Hinge requires at a minimum your first name, age, location, and height to display for others to see. There are other categories such as level of education and where you went to school, job title and where you work, and political views. Personally, I am an oversharer, my friends and family can all attest to the fact that when I tell a story they better take a seat because it is going to be a minute, so my profile was going to reflect that. Of the additional categories, I chose to include the following:

It is totally up to you how much you want to share on your profile. For me, living in the south, I felt it was important that I share my preferences on religious beliefs and political views. I have dated many men with differing views than me and ultimately it becomes a deal breaker in the end when it comes to the topic of how we want to raise children. Children are also something I really would want to have someday and going on 32 years-old, it becomes more difficult planning for that in the future as I get older. These are just some things I have learned are important to share early on in dating because they are uniquely important to me. Share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Overtime, your preferences may change and that is ok, mine definitely did, that’s just part of the journey.

The Photos

We have all seen at least one dating app profile in our lives and I have heard the same woes expressed when it comes to the photos displayed…

“Which one is he/she?”
“Why are all their photos so blurry?”
“I can’t tell what they look like behind those sunglasses and hat”
“Why is there a photo of them as a baby?”
“That photo looks like it’s from 2009”

No one wants to be catfished so make sure the photos you select show YOU and have been taken in the last 18 months. As much as I would like to display photos of me from 2017 when my body and my skin was looking *chef’s kiss*, that is not exactly how I look today and the last thing I want to come off as is deceitful. It is also important to show a variety of photos. Include a few photos close up of your face and smile and at least one full-body photo. It is not always easy choosing these because we are all our own toughest critics so maybe have a close friend help choose photos for you – even better, have them take photos of you! I have never felt more confident than after being hyped up by my best friends, so use that to your advantage when it comes to selecting your profile photos.

I go back and forth on showing photos of myself in a group and ultimately choose to leave them off. Yes, it is cool that you have friends and a social life, but do you want that person to date your friends? Didn’t think so... All my photos, except for one with my nephew and I, are of just me. Yes, it can feel awkward and vain, but this is your first impression so go with it. Publish that ish and let’s goooo.

The First Move

Ok, so your profile is live, now what? You can either sit there and wait until the ‘likes’ start rolling in or you can start pursuing your feed of suggested matches. Hinge uses an algorithm that pairs you with those it thinks you would be most compatible with. When you connect your Facebook to your profile, it not only won’t show you people you’re already friends with on Facebook, it will match you with friends of friends you may not have met yet – pretty cool, right?

It can be overwhelming at first – I swear most people swipe just for attention but stay true to yourself and why you made the profile in the first place. I personally enjoy both receiving ‘likes’ and giving them out. Hinge’s unique prompts allow for an easy intro to someone who would be defined as a ‘stranger on the internet.’ Those are meant to help start a dialog between you and the other person. Other tactics that are great intros are commenting on someone’s photo. I have a picture of me at a winery and most men start the conversation asking, “Where is that at?” Very easy and approachable to start a conversation…then I can declare my love for all things wine, which usually leads to a first date, sipping on wine. 😉 See what I did there?

With it being 2021, don’t wait for men to make the first move, get in the game, girl! I have had success making the first move multiple times. You will soon find that some don’t frequent the app as much so shooting your shot will lead to a notification popping up on their screen, and more than likely a conversation started.

Rejection: receiving and giving it

I can count on all fingers and toes, and then some, how many times I’ve ‘shot my shot’ and it doesn’t land, or a conversation just goes dry. You must remember, everyone’s goals on a dating app are different and timing is everything. Just because they haven’t responded to you doesn’t always mean it was something you did; it could mean they are focusing on other matches that came before you or ‘life’ happened and dating just isn’t a priority for them at that time. Don’t sweat it.

There are times where after I start engaging with a match, I am just not ‘feeling it’ anymore. It could be for a variety of reasons, either they said something distasteful, or their communication style isn’t flowing with mine. I am guilty of just not responding after some time but usually it is before there is a mention of plans to meet. On occasion, I have been asked to grab a drink and I don’t feel it’s going to work out, I will make an effort to let them know I’m not interested anymore. Here is a simple way of doing this is without lying:

“I appreciate the offer to meet for drinks, but I haven’t felt the connection I was hoping to after the initial first swipe.”

I believe it is important to say thank you for offering to take you out even if they didn’t actually do it – the thought of a stranger willing to take time out of their lives and pay for your drinks or dinner is something to appreciate. Always be honest and keep it short. You don’t need to go into details as to how busy your schedule is, or how many other guys you like better, or why this particular match isn’t right for you. This is meant to be an easy, non-committing way of meeting people.

Happy swiping and stay safe out there!

Dating apps aren’t the end all be all for meeting new people these days, but they sure make it easy to do so safely in the confines of your home – especially during a pandemic. Pour yourself a glass of wine, set up your profile and have fun with it. More than likely you’ll score a date and soon enough we will be strategizing how to prepare for that first in-person date.

Single Girl Etiquette is a series of sort of ‘self help’ articles mixed in with stories from my single girl journey and sprinkled with a IDGAF what anyone thinks, I’m just going to do hot girl shit until I find my person.

Written by


Marissa Swanson is 31 and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an architect for an international design firm and specializes in hospitality design. Marissa is a lover of all things DIY and design. She finds inspiration through traveling and meeting new people. She is a self-proclaimed modern day Renaissance Woman, always willing to tackle any problem or learn a new skill.