Hook-up apps often come as standard issue with the average gay man. And it’s not hard to see why – they give us access to a seemingly endless supply of (often ridiculously attractive) available people in our area, they’re fun to use, and they let us to connect with people who we’d otherwise never have a chance to meet.
But, despite these perks, people who use these apps often walk away from their experiences feeling more lonely and insecure than when they started. It is impossible to interact with so many people without experiencing some kind of rejection – whether it’s that hot guy ignoring your message, chats fizzling out, or conversation ending abruptly after meeting up.
So, what can you do to make your app experience more enjoyable?
One way to start is by questioning your assumptions about what everyone else online is doing. Once you get online, it’s easy to assume that everyone else is getting exactly the kind of responses they want, from a lot of different guys, a lot of the time. But, this is just not true. Nobody is appealing to all the people they are interested in (even that guy with the ripped torso). Rejection is never going to be pleasant, but it’s easier to cope with when you realise that being rejected is not the same as failing.
Supplementing apps with other ways of meeting people can also help. While apps are great for instantly finding new people, there’s still an important place for making an effort to meet friends of friends, joining community groups and striking up conversations with new people at bars and clubs.
If you’re finding that your use of apps is interfering in your life or strongly affecting your mood, it can also be a good idea to check in with a psychologist or counsellor.
Ben Walters is a psychologist at the Centre for Human Potential www.cfhp.