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How to Be Kinder to Yourself and Others While Dating

By Ashley Edwards Walker

At Bumble, our mission is to foster kind connections. But when it comes to dating, ways to be more compassionate towards yourself and others aren’t always obvious or easy. So when you feel like you’re not bringing your best self to dating, remember these expert tips. Leading with kindness will only make your experience—and that of your potential matches—better.

Assume the best

When you’re first getting to know someone, there can be some guesswork. What did that emoji mean? Why aren’t they responding right away? Instead of making assumptions, give your Bumble match the benefit of the doubt (within reason!) and assume that they have good intentions. “Give them the assumption of goodwill,” says dating and relationship coach Jay Asooli. “They have their own life and priorities.” Plus, you probably don’t know their background or communication style yet. Not only is this a kindness to yourself—because you’re giving the connection room to grow—but it’s a kindness you’d probably want your match to extend to you, too. 

Send a compliment 

It’s exciting when you come across a Bumble profile that sparks your interest. And showing this potential match a little kindness and affirmation using Bumble’s Compliments feature can be a great way to make a good first impression. Anyone on Bumble can compliment another user in their dating queue—even if they haven’t matched yet—which means it can also help you stand out from the crowd. 

To compliment someone on their bio, one of their photos, or their Profile Prompts, just click on the yellow icon featuring the heart inside a speech bubble that’s located in the bottom left-hand corner of any of these profile features. From there, a text box will open for you to write something short (150 words or less), positive, and respectful. Liz Higgins, a therapist and founder of Millennial Life Counseling, says a good place to start is thinking: “What kind of compliment would feel good for me to receive?” Then get specific and tell the person you’re complimenting exactly what it is that piqued your interest, be it their inviting smile or great taste in music. If you’re still struggling with what to say, check out our advice for how to give a good compliment on Bumble.

Don’t let negative self-talk get the better of you

When you’re reading through Bumble profiles and taking in all the things daters are looking for in their ideal match, it can bring up feelings of not being “good enough.” And when you’re feeling self-conscious, it doesn’t leave you in the best headspace to have a positive dating experience!

If you find yourself in a moment of negative self-talk, therapist and dating expert Michelle Herzog suggests focusing on affirmations to help put things in perspective. These can be things like, “I’m brave for putting myself out there,” “I’m worthy of love,” or “Dating is just one part of my full and happy life.” And remember: it’s not your job to date a certain way or to meet the specifications someone else has for their ideal partner. Your job is to be yourself and find enjoyment in the dating process, whatever that looks like for you. 

Treat others how you want to be treated

It’s important to remember the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated. Bumble is here to help daters make authentic connections, so don’t make that more difficult for others. “In practice, this means no ghosting, no stringing people along, being clear and kind when you’re not interested in someone, and always practicing consent,” says Herzog.

Of course, you can only control your own actions. If you find yourself on the receiving end of any bad behavior from someone, standing up for yourself is the best way to show yourself kindness. “A simple, ‘I don’t appreciate being treated this way,’ and moving on is a clear and effective way to let someone know their behavior isn’t okay and that you’re no longer interested,” says Herzog. You can also always use Block & Report to report the profile to our team.

Handle rejection with care

Not taking rejection personally is easier said than done. But learning how to reframe rejection as an acknowledgement of incompatibility rather than a dismissal is an important part of dating with kindness. “Dating is just assessing one another’s compatibility for a long term relationship,” Asooli points out. 

If you’re the one doing the rejecting, think about how you’d want to be treated and end things kindly: don’t ghost, drag it out, or make false promises. Do acknowledge the other person’s feelings and give a straightforward reason for ending things so they aren’t left wondering what happened. For the latter, something like “I didn’t feel a romantic spark,” or “I think our vibe is more platonic,” will suffice.

Take breaks as needed

If your dating life is causing you anxiety or distress, Higgins says it might be time to try a “dating detox.” It may seem counterintuitive, but in this situation a way to be kinder to yourself and others when dating is to take a break from it. This can help you to avoid dating burnout and maintain a positive mindset when swiping and matching. It’s also a kindness to others, since burnout might prevent us from being our best selves on a date. 

If you decide to take a dating time-out, it’s helpful to set a specific timeframe for the break, be it a week or a few months. You won’t have to miss a beat: Bumble’s Snooze Mode lets you pause your account without deleting any of your information or losing any of your existing connections and conversations. When you feel reenergized and ready to log back on to Bumble, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.