10 Tips To Improve Your Online Dating Etiquette

It’s official – online dating etiquette is important and they have evolved. What worked for you last year might not work for you this year.

“Aww no!”

I know, I know. But here’s the thing: Online dating is complex. People are complex. With more and more dating sites and dating apps popping up, and with more and more men and women joining online dating apps as online dating loses its stigma, the way you approach the whole thing has to be absolutely right. Otherwise, you will lose out 🙁

And no one wants that to happen.

So to give yourself every chance of success, join me as I take a look at 15 online dating rules.

10 Tips to Improve Your Dating App Etiquette

1. Be Truthful & Transparent

People might have got away with a few white lies back in the day, but not anymore. It’s just too easy to get caught out now that we’re all over social media. 

Not just that, but what if a lie you told on your dating profile begins to spin out of control? Maybe you took 5 years off your age on Tinder because you never expected to meet the man of your dreams. 

Three months down the line, you meet the man of your dreams … but he doesn’t know your real age.

Well, it’s going to come out eventually and it might ruin everything. 

Dating has become so casual in 2019 that people think they can get away with telling a few lies. After all, none of us are taking these apps seriously, right? As if we’d meet Prince Charming on Bumble! We just want some fun! 

Lies get the whole thing off to a terrible start and things will just get worse and worse. Always be honest, real and truthful. It will work out better for you in the long run. 

2. Don’t Leave Them Hanging 

For me, it’s just super impolite to wait a whole week to reply to someone. It also gives off the vibe that they’re not looking for anything serious when someone does that.

There’s nothing wrong with taking your time, but if you’re looking to seriously date someone and see where things can go, don’t wait too long to reply.

I’d say replying within 24 hours is a good rule of thumb to live by. It helps to keep the momentum going, and it shows interest – but it also doesn’t show too much interest. 

Online dating is a game – whether you like that or not – and you don’t want to show your entire hand by replying too fast all the time. 

3. Ask Interesting Questions

I can never understand people who say they don’t ask questions on dating sites because they’re “not really interested” in the other person.

If you’re not interested in them, just don’t reply at all!

If, on the other hand, you are interested, ask them questions. It keeps the conversation going, it’s polite and it shows them you’re interested. 

Not sure which questions to ask? Keep your questions light and mundane from time to time, (“how was your weekend?”) but be imaginative, too.

I recommend you to take a look at this list of questions you can ask on bumble for inspiration.

4. Don’t Try To “Change” Them 

They don’t like drinking? Deal with it.

They don’t support your political party? Deal with it.

Don’t spend time on a dating app trying to change someone you haven't even met yet. 

And definitely don’t joke about it either: “I bet I can get you drinking! :D” is just plain rude. 

5. Don’t Act Vulgar 

I know some people who say things on dating apps that they’d never say in real life.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take them long to start “sexting” people. I guess being online makes them more confident. 

But not everyone is going to appreciate that, especially so soon. 

Generally speaking, it’s much better to play things safe by avoiding vulgar talk that could get you un-matched, or at least change the way the other person feels about you. 

6. Don’t Get Political Too Soon

If you have strong political leanings and you’re looking for a comrade, by all means, be political on a dating app.

On the other hand, if you want to broaden your chances of success and see who’s out there, it’s best if you keep politics out of the arena for now.

Politics can make folk get angry, and you might show a potential date a side of you they’d probably rather not see just yet. 

7. Don't Act Desperate

I used to be flexible with the follow-up message.

“Should I send one or not?”

Sometimes I would, sometimes I wouldn’t.

Thing is, if someone is really interested in you, they WILL reply eventually. Even if it’s been a week, they will get back in touch. If you nudge them and say, “Hey! Not heard from you in a while, how’s it going?” you’ll come across as needy … and that will break the attraction.

Always stay cool and in control and never – under any circumstances – get tempted to send a follow-up message. It instantly weakens your position. 

8. Wait a Few Days Before Asking for Their Number 

It just isn’t accepted etiquette to ask for someone’s number straight off the bat anymore. Even in real life, girls (and maybe even guys) are now wary of handing out their number to someone they just met in a bar. Instead, they might offer their Snapchat or Instagram handle. 

I’d say wait until you’re fully in rapport with someone before you ask for their number. Maybe 3-4 days. You could ask for their number sooner and it might work. But it’s just safer to leave it for a few days. 

9. Set Up a Date After 5-7 Days 

If you ask for a date too soon, you look needy.

If you ask for a date too late, momentum will drift and someone else will ask them out.

A week or two is the perfect time for a date, but it’s always nice to ask for it, say, 5 days after that first message. 

10. Remember, You Don’t Owe Anybody Anything!

Lastly, if it’s just not working for you online with someone, don’t be afraid to go ghost them. Heck, unmatch them if you feel that’s the best course of action!

And, nope, you don’t need to apologize or explain your actions.

If you’re thinking of ghosting or unmatching someone, it clearly isn’t working. So they’re hardly going to be too upset. Maybe they’ve already seen it coming. 

On the other hand, if things are going well but something has come up in your life (maybe an ex has returned or maybe you met someone else), it would be kinda cool if you told the person you were talking to that this just can’t happen anymore.

But, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with just disappearing if you haven’t met yet. It might be sad, but in this day and age where there’s so much choice and so little time, it’s kinda accepted. 


Online dating is hard, right? Right. But if you abide by the important rules of online dating, then you’ll have a better chance of getting success with swipe life.

About Harshita Dagha