Telling Someone What You’re Looking For On Dating Apps Can Be Tricky, But Don’t Sweat It

Successfully maneuvering through the sometimes murky waters of dating apps can definitely feel like a struggle. Unfortunately, figuring out what kind of relationship you’re looking for is the easy part — typically, finding a "chill" way to communicate what you want to a bunch of random strangers is where things get a bit more challenging. If telling someone what you’re looking for on dating apps feels like a riddle, then trust me: You’re not the only one who worries about the perils of either coming on too strong or pretending to be down for anything at all, all while perhaps still hoping that things will eventually move in a more serious direction

If you’re wondering how to get your message across tactfully, there is hope. I spoke with dating and relationship writer Demetrius Figueroa to get his take on how to approach making your intentions known. "You should be honest about what you’re looking [for], but on dating apps, you should choose your words carefully," Figueroa tells Elite Daily.

When you match with someone, it’s only natural that questions about the kind of partnership you might want may come up. According to Figueroa, it’s important to be careful with how you phrase things because conversations via text simply don’t work the same as conversations in real life — so much meaning can get lost in the shuffle. These lapses in communication can make certain language come off much more intense without the help of vocal cues and facial expressions that are present in real-life convos.

"Spread out over several hours with long pauses between each message, an innocuous statement like ‘I want a relationship’ may mean one thing to you, and another to a person receiving the message," explains Figueroa.

This conundrum makes it easy to understand why people avoid stating their honest intentions clearly, only to be disappointed later on down the line when the person they’re dating resists a serious relationship. "You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re dishonest about what you’re looking for, and you’re wasting the time of whoever you choose to date," warns Figueroa. "If you want a relationship and someone you want to date doesn’t right now, don’t date them in the hopes that you can convert them."

We all likely have at least one story about trying to convert a friend with benefits into a serious relationship, only to have it backfire. And in my opinion, the worst part is that all of that time could’ve been invested in cultivating a relationship with someone who was on the same page as you from the start. Figueroa says that when it comes to wording, sometimes it’s best to refrain from saying the word "relationship" if it’s still early and you’re just getting to know each other.

"People get hung up on the word ‘relationship’, so if you avoid that word but still basically say it, you make the whole conversation way less stressful," he says. "The best way to take the pressure off of saying ‘I want a relationship’ is to phrase it slightly differently. ‘I’m looking for something serious’ conveys the same sentiment, in much more palatable language."

According to Figueroa, another option is to emphasize that you are simply looking for “more than just a hookup." However, sometimes this phrase can lead to more questions, and if this happens, Figueroa says it’s OK to say that you’re looking for a relationship. In that case, you’d just want to clarify that you’re not on some intense quest to lock down the next person you see.

"Say that eventually, you’d like a relationship [but] that you aren’t trying to rush into a relationship, but be clear that you are dating in the hopes of finding someone to commit to," explains Figueroa.

Finding the right balance of language and conveying intent is far from easy. It might take a bit of practice, but learning to effectively communicate via dating apps is a skill that can always be improved. So don’t get discouraged — just try to be patient and remember that dating should be something fun, not something that stresses you out or makes you believe that you should, in any way, hide who you are and what you want. When it comes to dating, honesty is always the best policy.

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