Spotting potential online dating red flags isn’t always easy. Although dating apps have become the mainstream, especially post-pandemic, knowing how to stay safe online is as important as ever.
But, what are red flags when online dating? And how can you spot them to help avoid a Tinder Swindler-type scenario? Having a few tips and tricks in mind can help you to weed out the bad apples and focus on the matches that are right for you! Below, we’ve laid out our top five online dating red flags that you should watch out for.
5 Online Dating Red Flags to Look Out For
1. They have an almost empty profile
‘Zero effort’ is one of the easiest to spot red flags in online dating profiles. If someone doesn’t have a profile picture, or their profile is totally thin on content, that’s a bad sign. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re shady, it does mean that they’re lazy. You’ll have to put in a lot more work to get to know them, and you might find that it isn’t worth your time.
Dating online can be a frustrating experience. This is especially true when others don’t pull their weight. When someone is operating with a faceless or near-empty profile, compared with your beautifully crafted summary and stunning headshots, it creates an imbalance.
2. Their profile seems designed to show off
This is more commonly an online dating red flag for women. A guy’s profile that’s full of posturing and bragging can sometimes be almost as bad as an empty one. This kind of profile is easy to spot. It’ll read like a sales pitch rather than an earnest account of the person. They’ll likely brag a little, especially about their traveling adventures.
These kinds of profiles can be tedious to read. And, even if you engage with them, you might find yourself on a date with someone who just wants to talk about how great they are. Hard pass.
3. They’re too pushy and impatient
This is perhaps one of the most worrying online dating red flags for men and women alike. It screams entitlement and aggression. You don’t owe anyone your time, least of all a stranger on the internet who you’ve been talking to for all of five minutes.
Is your match is getting snippy with you because you’re taking too long to respond to them? Are they’re pushing for you to reveal personal information that you’re not comfortable sharing? Move on. They’re showing you that they don’t have a good sense of boundaries, which is definitely not the first step towards a good relationship.
4. They seem a little too eager to meet up
Spending weeks and months building up a digital connection in case there isn’t a spark when you meet in the flesh (yes, I have been there) can be a mistake. But, it can also be off-putting when a match is itching to meet up without getting to know you at all. If someone seems desperate to move to an in-person date, it could mean that they’re hoping for a quick hookup.
Sometimes, this isn’t a problem, especially if that’s what you’re looking for as well! But if you’re looking to build a connection before you commit to an evening in their company, that’s totally fine too. If you ask them to pump the breaks and they get irritable, you’ll know for sure that you dodged a bullet.
5. Something about them just doesn’t feel quite right
Yes, this online dating red flag is vague, but it’s still valid. “If your spidey senses are tingling that something about their story doesn’t add up – believe yourself”, says Heather Bien in her article for The Everygirl.
This is great advice. Even if you can’t identify why exactly, you might sometimes get a bad vibe that just puts you off someone. In these cases, trust your gut. It’ll be right more often than it’s wrong!
Get the Most Out of Your Online Dating Experience
Online dating can take time. Sure, you’re probably going to come across a few bad matches. But, these things happen when dating IRL too. What’s important is that you’re aware of the most common online dating red flags from the get-go. This will not only help to save you from wasting time on unsuitable matches but also keep you safe online. So keep your eyes open for the red flags to get the most out of your online dating experience, but don’t forget to enjoy the adventure on the way!