How Much Time Should I Spend on Dating Apps?

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We’re in 2021! Dating apps are typically the easiest way to meet new people, and actually, they’re not really frowned upon as much as they used to be. And why should they be? The internet has the power to connect us with people from all over the world, so why not harness it when it comes to looking for love? The thing is, just like social media – online dating can get pretty addictive. On the flip side, it can also get a little disheartening when you’re putting the time in but not getting the result you really want back out. So how much time should we spend on dating apps?

To answer that, it completely depends on what you’re looking for. If you just want to use online dating to start getting to know different people, give yourself a little confidence boost and see who’s out there – this doesn’t really require much time at all. We’re talking 10 minutes or so daily, or maybe just an hour a week. This gives you enough time to do a few swipes, maybe start a conversation with someone who catches your eye and get a bit of a feel for it.

If you’re looking for more serious however, and to ultimately find the right person to have a relationship with, you’re going to have to invest a lot more time on online dating. Just like many things in life – the more you put in, the more you typically get out. There are of course still no guarantees at the end of it, but it certainly increases your chances when you put a little more commitment into it and remain upbeat and positive. (Because yes, your attitude will have an impact on your success rate when it comes to dating – both online and offline!)

So How Much Time Should I Spend Every Day?

Well, it entirely depends on you and the amount of time you currently have free and what you want to get out of it. Don’t try to stretch yourself too thin, but at the same time – remember why it’s worth it. Keep the end goal in mind!

A good, healthy starting point would be an hour a day. Or even an hour a day for five days a week – so that you have a bit of a break. This doesn’t include the people you are developing relationships with – those that you have seen or are set to see. Nope, in this hour, we’re talking about purely making new matches and speaking to new people to increase the number of dating opportunities you get coming through.

If you’re in less of a hurry to find someone, you might want to do less. If you think that now’s the time and you’re ready to really go after what you want, you might want to do a little bit more. It’s entirely up to you and you can change it as you go along.

For example, the longer you’re on these dating apps, the more dates you will have had, the more people you know on a deeper level and as you explore this, you may not need to spend as much time finding new potentials. So this is just a starting point.

How Much Time Are Other People Spending on Dating Apps?

Well actually, a decent amount! A survey of 370 million dating app users revealed that people spend more than an hour on certain apps, every single day. Men averaged at 85 minutes a day, with each session averaging 9.7 minutes – so that’s a fair amount of logging in, speaking and then re-visiting later in the day. Women followed shortly behind that with 79 minutes spent on dating apps every day, and sessions averaging at 7.6 minutes. Interesting huh? 

How To Save Time When Online Dating:

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to save time when online dating, or learn how to use your time more effectively when you are on these dating apps. Let me run through them really quickly:

1. Swipe Faster

I’m going to say a few things now which may surprise you. The first being this. But think about it – there’s no point analysing a person’s profile in great depth until you actually know if they’re going to match you back.

(And remember: just because they don’t match you, doesn’t mean they’re not interested. They may not be using the app actively. So don’t automatically assume if you remember swiping for a certain guy and not getting that match back!)

It therefore makes sense to speed up the process your side by having a quick scan through, seeing if the initial attraction is there, seeing if there’s anything that catches your eye or makes you want to give this person a shot and if there is – swipe right! You can then ‘qualify’ your matches better once they come through.

The reason this also works pretty well (aside from time saving) is because you’ve not scrutinised every single detail about them – you may find yourself matching with people who are not necessarily ‘your type on paper’ yet who the conversation just flows with. People aren’t profiles. They’re also often very different in person. So this get’s you giving people a chance who you may not have otherwise. Win win!

2. Qualify Better

Uhhh, what?! I know what you’re thinking, “didn’t you just encourage me to make more matches?” Yes. Yes I did. But I’m not talking about at the first swipe stage. Once you’ve matched with a person and the conversation has started – find those you click with, find which conversations flow, and who you’re genuinely interested in. There’s no point having conversations for the sake of them.

Of course you have to find the right balance and give people a proper chance. But typically, you’ll know within a few messages if the chat is just dead, or if you viewed their profile again and the attraction really isn’t there. With these people, you don’t need to blank them or be rude necessarily. But if you replied to every single person, every single time, it would eat at so much of your time and actually just begin to get too much. So make sure you’re focusing on the ones who actually catch your attention.

3. Move Things Forward

When the conversations are going well on a dating app, move things on a notch. And no- I don’t mean anything seedy! I’m talking more about grabbing their number or switching it through to speak on social media. This is a good progression – particularly the social media aspect, because it helps you to get to know them better. You also want things to move forward by turning these online chats into actual real-life first dates.

At the end of the day, you want to know if the spark is there and if this is a potential relationship (or friendship even initially) that’s worth pursuing. The only way you will really know this is by seeing someone face to face, so the sooner you meet, the more time it will save. Scientists also say that the longer you wait, the more chance you are of having a disappointing first date… and science doesn’t lie!

The only thing to be mindful of here is to not push it straight away. Have you ever matched with someone who’s just jumped straight in with asking you out for a drink? I know I have. And one part of me is like “Wow, that’s pretty ballsy. Refreshing even!” The other is thinking, “Just like that? How do I know that you’re worth the investment of my time? Or that I am with yours too?” So there’s got to have been enough conversation to have some sort of connection to build on.

When it comes to the first date then, another time-saving suggestion, don’t make the first one a massive thing. Just one drink or a coffee will do, as oppose to a full-day endeavour. This means it’s more casual, has less pressure, doesn’t take up too much of either of your time, but will give you a better idea as to whether or not there’s something potentially there. If first dates fill you with dread, have a read of this post for how to get rid of the nerves!

4. Work Through The Matches You Have

This is a big one and something we are so, so guilty of! The swiping part is the easiest. You can do it when you’re bored, you can do it when you’re tired, all within a matter of seconds. Getting to know someone then is the time consuming bit, and of course it can be a little repetitive. But, if you’re serious about online dating and genuinely want to get something out of this – you have to put in the effort. (Click here for a little boost on how to stay motivated when dating!) When it therefore comes to spending time on these apps, if you already have plenty of matches in the pipeline – don’t log on to just match more!

Instead, spend that time going through the matches that you do have and sending the messages back. Qualify in the same way I mentioned above, sussing out if things flow and keep your attention within the first few messages, but make sure you’ve worked through all of your matches in this way before moving on to make new ones. Otherwise, you may be missing some people and are really just wasting your time by finding them in the first place, without going on to fully explore! Makes sense right?

Remember, there’s heaps of fun & entertaining dating app questions so conversations DON’T have to get dull! Just mix it up. Ask different questions to different people and have fun with it!

5. Spend Time That Doesn’t Take Away Time

What I mean by this is don’t allocate your online-dating time to a Saturday day for example – when you have all the options in the world for things to do, things to work on, real-life dates to be on even! In fact, I’d actually avoid dating apps on the weekend to avoid getting demotivated – unless it’s a hungover Sunday evening, then I guess it’s allowed! But you want to be a little strategic about online dating in terms of timing so that it’s not actually having a massive impact on your life, yet is still able to enhance it.

What sort of times do I mean? I’m talking when you’re on your lunch break at work, on the evenings when you’re just chilling or on when stuck on public transport doing nothing but aimlessly look out the window. You still need to have the energy and concentration so that the chat isn’t falling flat from your side. But the best time to go on dating apps is when you wouldn’t really be doing much else anyway. It’s the kind of time you’d be just scrolling through social media. Only instead, you can put your time into something a little more ‘productive’ and use it on dating apps instead!

In Summary…

It’s easy for dating to take over your life – especially with dating apps because they’re so accessible. All you have to do is pick up your phone and BAMN, it’s there! But it’s good to get a healthy balance. Invest enough time into online dating so that you’re able to get out of it the things that you want. But don’t let it get so much it starts to bog you down and feel like a chore.

So in answer to your question, “How much time do I spend on dating apps?” It depends what you’re looking for. I’d suggest more initially, so that you have new relationships coming through that you can build on. Then you can reduce it from there. Whatever you decide however, make sure you’re dating smart and saving time where you can. That way, it’s a lot less tiring and a lot more fun.

Best of luck!


How Much Time Should I Spend On Dating Apps

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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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