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That's it, I'm ditching the dating apps (again)

It's time for a new approach.

OPINION

Another month and I'm deleting all the dating apps from my phone once again. As a 33-year-old woman, I know I'm not alone when it comes to the constant battle that is seeking romance in 2023.

The cycle starts with the mentality of "Download it one last time and this will be it, I'll definitely meet my soulmate," and ends with "Well, what a waste of time," just a few weeks later.

I feel like I've read all the dating advice and tried all the tips out there, but nothing seems to be working. Be funny, be assertive, sound smart, be open, don't give too much away; there are so many different ways to approach dating these days it's starting to make my head spin.

Red heart-shaped piece of paper featuring dating app icons being fed into shredder
More and more people are losing faith in dating apps. Photo: Supplied

In good company

So many Aussies are losing faith in dating apps. In recent months, I've noticed more and more people walking away from them for good and getting creative in their quest to find love.

My job requires me to be across what's trending around Australia and the world, so I'm a member of countless Facebook groups. Everything from podcast discussions to travel hacks and, because I have two sausage dogs, plenty of dachshund communities. They've always been a great way to keep on top of the news, but now they're becoming dating groups themselves.

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I've seen people from all walks of life promoted as a potential love interest in some of these groups. A well-intentioned member will describe a single friend as someone you'd be silly to pass up a date with and share a few photos for good measure. "Let me know if you or anyone you know would be a good match," they post.

Dating apps on the way out

Tinder's Future of Dating Report shows people born between 1981 and 2010 are starting to ditch apps and go old-school by looking towards their friend circles to find "the one". According to the study, connection and realness are what's valued above anything else, and it's hard to find that through a phone screen. Who knew authenticity would be the key to finding your match?

Tayla Stamford, who runs her own matchmaker service, is a big advocate for the set-up approach. "I'm all for married couples introducing their single friends to each other," she told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia. "It's honestly one of the best things you can do to help a friend and yes, if it doesn't work out then it can be a little awkward, but hopefully everyone is mature enough to remain friends."

Numbers game?

With all of this said, as the dreaded holiday rush begins, I'll no doubt find myself re-downloading the apps in the hope of finding someone to spend my weekends with and maybe even invite to Christmas lunch. This time though, I've been advised to step up my game.

I've only ever spoken to one person at a time on dating apps, which I'm told isn't a great strategy. A friend of mine, who I'll name "The Queen of Tinder", tells me it's all a numbers game. "If you haven't met the one, you haven't dated enough people," she said. Hard to argue with that logic.

The Queen of Tinder was grabbing a drink every night of the week with a different man she'd met through the app, which made it a little tricky for me to remember which guy she was talking about whenever we caught up. But it seems her strategy worked, because, after hundreds of swipes and at least 50 dates in just a few months, she's now in a happy relationship.

I'm not sure I'm ready to give her tactic a go just yet, so I'll be looking a little closer at my friendship circles and Facebook groups to see who can help me out in the meantime.

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