If You Want To Date More In 2020, Make Sure You Open Your App Today

Photographed by Savana Ogburn.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to date more, make sure you’ve downloaded your dating app of choice, uploaded your best photo from New Year’s Eve, and brushed up on your best opening messages (“Hey” doesn’t cut it). That’s because the busiest dating app day of 2020 is already almost here. It’s this Sunday, January 5.
In 2019, dating app Coffee Meets Bagel saw over a million messages sent on the first Sunday in January, making it the biggest chat day in the app’s seven-year history — and they’ve observed similar spikes every year since they were founded, as have a plethora of other dating apps. “A big driver is New Year’s resolutions. Over their holidays, people might have had some downtime to think about the year ahead and decide what they want to spend time on,” Dawoon Kang, founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, tells Refinery29. “If you’re single, dating is a big part of that.”
By the first Sunday in January, most of us have settled into our routines, says Annabel, a matchmaker for the dating app The Inner Circle. "January 5th marks the end of a season of packed calendars, family gatherings, and trips. It's when people settle back into their routines and don't have to plan three weeks in advance to get a date in,” she says. “And unlike the summer holidays, singles come back in January with a 'New Year' mindset. This means they are open to new experiences and ready to light a spark for the year." 
It's a busy month for dating apps in general. In 2019, OkCupid saw over 11 million new conversations during January, and they’re expecting a 36% spike in US registrations during the first week of January. Coffee Meets Bagel also sees spikes throughout the month — the second Sunday in January is their second-busiest day of the year.
The popularity of Sundays, specifically, makes sense too. People are working on the weekdays, while Fridays and Saturdays tend to be reserved for going out with friends. Sundays are for relaxing — and considering your dating options
While all this might sound great, keep in mind that this weekend, people will be both sending and receiving more messages than usual — so you’ll want your profile and opening message to stand out. We asked dating experts for their tips on how to make the most of Dating Sunday.

Update Your Profile

“When you update your dating profile, we actually show you to more people,” says Melissa Hobley, Global Chief Marketing Officer at OkCupid. “It’s our way to show our appreciation for you putting more effort into dating. And the benefits don’t stop there," she adds. "When you update your profile on a regular basis, you’re making sure people aren't matching with your interests or looks from 2018.”

Be Specific

Simply listing your interests won’t attract much attention, Kang says. Instead pick one interest, and get detailed about it. “Something like ‘I like to hike and run and exercise,’ doesn’t tell me much about you, and there’s probably a million other people who have written the other thing,” Kang says. “Pick one thing and get deeper. If you like hiking, mention your favorite hiking trail or the most recent trip you took. That’s much more interesting than, ‘I like hiking.’” 

Connect Your Instagram

If the dating app you’re using offers the ability to connect to social media, go ahead and hit accept. “People who connect Instagram to their profiles get more messages than those who don’t,” Hobley says.

Put Effort Into Your Photos

Hobley says that using Portrait Mode, taking photos during golden hour, and captioning your photos can make you pop to potential matches. "People love that golden hour light, and users with photos taken at that time get more likes," she says. "And pictures with a shallow depth of field, meaning that the subject is in crisp focus while the rest of the picture is blurry, get you more likes."

Show Support

Don’t be afraid to get political or talk up the causes you support. “People really want to date others who care about the same things they do,” Hobley says. “So if you volunteer for a local organization or support a non-profit, say something in your profile. On OkCupid, people can match on whatever matters to them, whether that's a shared love for the ACLU or Planned Parenthood.” Over the past two years, OkCupid has seen a 240% increase in mentions of climate change and other environmental terms — not to mention an 800% increase in mentions of activist Greta Thunberg in 2019. 

Work On Your Opening Messages

Seriously — don’t be the twelfth “Hi!” your potential match gets today. “If you actually ask a question, that’s much more likely to elicit a response than just saying ‘hi,’ or even saying a statement,” Kang says.

Respond Quickly

If you get a message from someone whose profile looks promising, don’t wait to respond. “People gauge your interest level based on how engaged you are,” Kang says. “If you take too long to respond, the other person is going to think you’re not interested, and they’re going to start disengaging as well.”

Make The First Move

Don’t just sit back and wait for the messages to roll in. “To make the most of online dating, you need to be prepared to make the first move and message your matches,” Annabel says. 

Think About Who You’re Looking For

Try widening your filters — while you might have some non-negotiables (such as dating someone who shares your political beliefs), do you really want to limit yourself by height? “The perfect person may be waiting just outside your set filters,” says Annabel. 

Try Messaging In The Evening

Evening tends to be most popular time of day for dating apps. According to Match’s Chief Dating Expert, Rachel DeAlto, 9:15 p.m. ET is the most popular time of day for Match. Similarly, the Inner Circle expects to see the most Dating Sunday activity between 9 and 11 p.m.
Aim to update your profile and think up a couple opening lines ahead of that time so you're ready to go. Also smart: making sure you're in the right frame of mind in general, DeAlto suggests. “Check in with yourself beforehand to make sure you have time for love and your heart is ready to be vulnerable. Your new connection needs to be able to have room to grow.”

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