THE One Secret to
Successful Online Dating

There is quite literally an app for everything today—and dating is no exception. There are so many options: Hinge, Tinder, Carrot, Coffee Meets Bagel…

The list goes on and on. One thing most of these apps have in common is that they offer us a chance to get a snapshot—a quick rundown on the basic stats of a potential date.

What do they really tell us though? Aside from age, location, and looks there’s really not many details. While attraction is important, shouldn’t we be looking for a little more?

Think of dating apps like making eye-contact at a bar. Swiping right is saying, “Yeah, maybe you should come talk to me,” while swiping left says, “Don’t you dare.” In real life, we do the same thing, it just feels a little less obvious sometimes. For those of us who are a little more reserved or have difficultly overcoming shyness, it can be really helpful because you get that awkward “meeting” out of the way. Online dating can be really fun and a great opportunity for growth!

Of course, dating apps aren’t perfect or the solution to everything. Just like so many things, they can become a soft addiction: we become so enthralled with the idea of that rush of excitement we get on a first and second date that we become serial daters. Suddenly we aren’t really taking things to the next emotional level with any of our dates, so we’re stuck with a full calendar and a lonely heart.

So where’s the balance?

Know What You’re Looking For

Like most things in life, knowing the outcome you’re aiming for helps steer you in the right direction. If you’re really looking to connect with someone and take things to a deeper level (i.e. beyond one or two dates, or even into boyfriend/girlfriend territory)—be up front about it. There can be the fear you might turn away the “perfect match” (which we know doesn’t exist, anyway) by sounding too demanding or too choosy, or by laying out your wants and expectations upfront.

Don’t fall into this limiting belief. Instead, pay attention to your yearnings and be real about them. Ask yourself if you’re using dating as a crutch. If you’re failing to put your expectations on the line because you’re too vulnerable—if the relationship goes awry you won’t be able to blame it on the other person, because you were honest about what you wanted.

It can be challenging to be this honest with yourself, but let’s admit it: dating is about gaining experiences and really, it’s about also getting to know ourselves better. It’s about finding out how you interact with people and what strengths they bring out in you. It’s about expressing your yearnings and finding people who can meet those yearnings in a way that is enough for you.

What If I’m Not Looking for Anything Serious?

Maybe you just got out of a relationship or you’re in the middle of your own transformational work, and you’d prefer to keep things casual. You know what? That’s perfectly okay, too. Word your profile and interactions as honestly and genuinely as possible to convey what you want.

Sometimes saying, “I don’t want to get serious right now” can be read as, “All I want to do is have no-strings-attached sex.” Unless that IS quite literally what you’re looking for, you might prefer to say something along the lines of, “Just looking to get to know lots of new friends right now, so I’m not looking to take things to the next level.”

When you’re in a place of growth and learning about yourself, you might find that dating is part of that. You need to understand the ways you interact with different types of people and how they make you feel. It might not be about future long-term plans, but rather just about observing yourself over coffee with new people and understanding your reactions and where they come from.

One thing’s for sure: dating should be fun and interesting. It’s a time to work on your social and emotional growth and get to the nitty-gritty of who you are so you can really know yourself. That’s something anyone can swipe right to!

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s new book The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available on Amazon now!)

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About the Author


Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.

Blog post image courtesy Flickr user freestocks.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How To Reboot
Your Dating Life
by Telling the Truth

Meeting new people and discovering who they are isn’t all there is to dating; we also get to know ourselves in every relationship—whether it’s one date long or a thousand dates long.

Authenticity is one of the hardest things to bring to the table when dating. After all, we’re getting to know perfect strangers, so often times our instinct is to put on a pleasant face and demeanor even when things aren’t going quite right.

But the entire dating experience can really change when you commit to honesty and authenticity. Yes, always being your authentic self can be challenging, but it’s also the best way to learn and grow, and to get the most out of every date.

Honesty on First Dates

Authenticity on a first date can be difficult—but it’s completely worth it. Prior to your date, try telling yourself, “I am going to be fully engaged while I’m there. I will be present enough to know what I like or dislike about this person, and I will be real and honest.” From there, work to be present and go with the flow.

Admittedly, being your true self is sometimes easier when a first date is going well. But what if you like your date’s personality, but you’re just not attracted to them? What if you end up in an uncomfortable conversation that conflicts with your values? What if only one of you is interested in a second date? Yikes!

This is when the going can get tough. Instead of engaging and being honest, many of us either put on a happy face and “smile through anything” or we become distant, just hoping to “get through it.” But that’s no way to live. Let’s think about the big picture: what do you want out of this date? If you’re not getting it, don’t be afraid to say how you’re feeling out loud (without being mean)—trust me, the world around you isn’t going to crumble! Both of you will probably be just fine, and then you can move forward from there.

A Second Date? Or Not?

When dating, consider going out with lots of different people to discover more about what you want in a partner. If you’re honest, authentic and present on every date, you’ll learn so much about yourself and each person you meet.

There’s nothing wrong with going on lots of first dates. Have fun! (And yes, you can tell the truth AND have fun!) Savor your experiences, talk about your loves, your likes, your dislikes…dive in and be there.

So after that first date with a new person, if you don’t feel like it’s going anywhere—say so and move on. While it may be hard to say NO to a second date, think about it this way: you’re not really sparing that person’s feelings. Instead you’re just delaying the inevitable. The other person will think you’re interested and you’ll suffer through a second date, distant and far from engaged. Sounds like a terrible way to spend time, right?

The bottom line: Simply say yes and mean yes or simply say no. You can do it.

Take Notes and Learn More

As a dating failsafe, try taking an inventory after each date: what were your likes and dislikes? Journal your thoughts and feelings about each person. Even when dating consciously, it’s worth reflecting on each date afterwards to get a handle on your overall experience. Writing down everything can help you be with your thoughts for a moment and perhaps even learn a new lesson or discover something new about yourself.

Consider your journal your “dating study guide.” It’ll help you learn more about yourself and exactly what you’re looking for in a partner. Happy dating!

About the Author

Kate Holmquest

Kate Holmquest is a coach, curriculum developer, and campus director for Wright and the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential who believes that dating is one of the best possible playgrounds for discovering and transforming yourself! Potential movie titles that describe her quest for satisfaction in single life are “40 First Dates” (a.k.a. dating with velocity), “Ten Things I Hate About You” (a.k.a. telling the truth on dates), and “The Thing About My Folks” (a.k.a. noticing and breaking the relationship rules I learned at home).

Blog post image courtesy Flickr user wtlphotos.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.