This is How You Strike a Work-Tinder Balance
Work + Life Balance

This is How You Strike a Work-Tinder Balance

by Isabelle Miner
Photos Jenn Anibal | September 29, 2015

DATING PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN OUR ADULT LIVES, BUT CARVING OUT TIME FOR IT CAN BE ITS OWN CHALLENGE. MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY SWIPE WITH THESE TIPS. 

In his new book, Modern RomanceAziz Ansari sums up online dating in two sentences: “Online dating generates a spectrum of reactions: exhilaration, fatigue, inspiration, fury. Many singles compare it to a second job, more duty than flirtation.”

Dating now takes place entirely within our smartphones. It provides endless possibilities of potential soulmates and people to spend time with. For millennials especially, it’s a way of life. Make no mistake about it though—while it’s easy to aimlessly swipe for hours, online dating takes work if you want to land a solid relationship. Aziz is right: it’s a side job. This is where I lose some people.

"Let it come naturally," my taken friends offer as advice on meeting somebody.

I counter by pointing out how busy I am. It's tough to meet a significant other, especially one encompassing great qualities, eccentricities you love, and flaws that you can tolerate. In my experience, that man isn't just at a bar down the street, waiting for me. I have to go and seek him out. The trouble is finding the time.

After a lengthy period of being single, I decided to venture back onto Tinder again. I was employed, active in my social life, short on time (and patience)—so it’s safe to say I knew what I was looking for. And I needed to make it work without sacrificing what little free time I had.  

If you’re ready to dive into Tinder and get your swipe on, use my tried and true tips to make your experience productive, worthwhile, and a damn good time for everyone.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

We’re consumed by rigorous work schedules with only a few hours to eat and sleep between. Our time is precious. The idea of "free time” is a gift and should not be wasted. To avoid this, do your homework on the person you’d like to date. {Click to Tweet}

Tinder offers minimal information, revealing a person’s height, current location, and a couple words of self-description (if that). We’re left in the dark about the rest, wondering if they’re mysterious in a romantic or creepy way. Although information may be scarce, chances for communication are not. You don’t have to make time for a date immediately even if you feel pressure to do so. Find a comfortable way of asking questions and carry on a dialogue— you can tell a lot from a person based on some good (or bad) conversations together.

To get an even better picture, scope out a potential date’s social media profiles, some of which may be included on their Tinder profile. Whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, viewing someone’s online persona can give you a clearer idea of the type of person you’re dealing with. We especially love Instagram’s tagged photos feature because it let’s you see a person the way their friends do.  

Searching for a great date on Tinder is like going on a job hunt. We’re looking for a good fit, something that excites our interests, but will also help us grow.

SET A FIRST (STRATEGIC) DATE

So you’ve had a few conversations that kept your attention and maybe shared a few “lols” together. One of you takes the leaps and suggests meeting face-to-face. Before you do anything else, let yourself feel excited!  Don’t be nervous because you've never met before. Just think of it as an opportunity to meet someone new, which is what we do all the time in our daily lives.

For the first date, it’s wise to opt for something casual to avoid putting pressure on the first outing together and to limit the time commitment. Certain activities imply spending a shorter amount of time. That may mean going out for drinks, coffee, or a stroll in a nearby park.

Skip dinner, which can become a bit precarious. The other person might be a slow eater and you may be itching to exit. Dinner can also be expensive, especially if you’re dating via Tinder regularly. Heading somewhere casual instead gives you both enough time to feel it out. You can always decide to grab a bite to eat on your second date or if you're both enjoying yourselves on the first, invite the person to continue the conversation over pizza.

As a New Yorker, a difference in neighborhood can often mean the difference between 15 minutes and an hour on the subway. Since you don’t know this person, find some middle ground…literally. When choosing a place to meet, pick somewhere that’s equidistant from the both of you. And if the guy seems open to an adventure? Don’t feel bad suggesting a great place in your own neighborhood. In the event it does not go well, you’ll have sacrificed neither time nor distance.

PLAN AN EXIT STRATEGY, THEN GTFO

For first dates, try to avoid scheduling on weekends. That’s precious time for career women, and hours you’d probably rather spend with friends doing activities you know you’ll enjoy. So stick to a weeknight and, whenever possible, plan a reason to leave. This applies to good dates as much as mediocre ones. Has anyone seen that Seinfeld episode where George leaves everywhere “on a high note”? So whether you need to meet friends for drinks a couple hours after your date or you’ve just got an early morning meeting that requires you head home to bed, other commitments make excusing yourself a lot easier and less awkward.

Take a different approach when you know you don’t want to see the person again. One time, I knew a Tinder date was going nowhere fast in just 28 minutes. My exit strategy? Complete disclosure.

Here’s the real secret to Tinder dating or really dating period: you need to know when to cut your losses. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but we also don't have time to waste.

I’d almost finished my drink, but he was taking his time. I started counting the seconds and knew I couldn’t last much longer. He lived far away and I had a friend close by I’d much rather spend my evening with.

I spoke up. I was upfront with him and told him I didn’t see us going on a second date. He didn’t pry and responded with, “Wow… Less than 30 minutes… What can you expect from a Tinder date?” I thanked him for understanding and we parted ways.

To be honest, that one was on me. I didn’t do my homework. We chatted for a small amount of time, planned a date a week in advance, and only talked to confirm. I should have gotten to know him a bit better before committing.

ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT

But here’s the real secret to Tinder dating or really dating period: you need to know when to cut your losses. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but we also don't have time to waste. You’re both taking a risk by putting yourselves out there so always remain polite and cordial when excusing yourself, but don’t feel bad about your feelings.  

As important as it is to be honest with your date, you need to be honest with yourself.  We’re constantly told to listen to our gut—in business, in life, and most importantly, when it comes to matters of the heart. {Click to Tweet} Your intuition can sense when something is not a good fit or there is a lack of chemistry. Remember you don’t owe anyone anything!

Searching for a great date on Tinder is like going on a job hunt. We’re looking for a good fit, something that excites our interests, but will also help us grow. As much as you don’t want to waste time looking for a job that isn’t in your field, the same goes for a partner. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t take your time, but there’s no need to waste it either. Do your homework, be conscious of distance, and trust yourself—that way you’ll always be able to maintain a nice work-Tinder-life balance.

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Tell us, how do you make time for Tinder? Do you have a foolproof exit strategy? We want to know!