There's no question that online dating moves fast. After all, that's one of the benefits. But sometimes, swiping left and right so quickly seems to translate into IRL dating, too. Many of us have gone out with someone once and then moved on, thanks to a lack of spark or totally mismatched lifestyles. Sometimes, that kind of quick judgement on a date feels 100% right. But other times you might wonder if you were too quick to reject someone and consider reaching back out. You'll have to ask yourself: Is circling back to an ex-Tinder date ever a good idea?
It depends on why you're doing it, says Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back. If you're considering an old match because you've run out of other options in the online dating pool, then that's not a good enough reason, she says. Most of the time, whatever turned you off of the person — be it poor communication skills, a lack of attraction, or mismatching values — will still be a problem. But, if you've realized that you didn't give them enough time or attention on the first round of dates, then reaching out could be a good thing.
"The only reason you should give an old Tinder date a second chance is if you can answer the question, 'Why didn’t it work out the first time around?' and then be able to justify what’s changed," she says. The first time you went out with someone you might have been swamped with work, or you just moved, or weren't over your ex and therefore couldn't prioritize trying to get to know someone new. In those cases, your date didn't really get a fair shot, so it might be worth revisiting whether or not you have chemistry.
But, you may also have relied too heavily on chemistry the first time and ruled someone out if you didn't feel an immediate connection. "Many of today's daters get hung up on superficial issues, such as differing tastes in music or how someone chews their food," Burns says. "Or, they unrealistically expect fireworks from an hour-long date." Many people aren't thinking about how attraction can grow over time, especially as you and a date become more emotionally intimate. The quick-swipe mentality of online dating doesn't work when you're trying to find out whether or not you're emotionally compatible with a match, she says. So if you're ruling people out without first having important conversations about what you and they are looking for in a partner, then you might be missing out on a great match.
What that means, of course, is that you first need to know what you want from a relationship. To become a smarter, more intentional dater, you'll have to work on knowing yourself first, Burns says. "If you don’t know what you want, and how you want to feel about it, you won’t know if and when you’ve found it," she says.
Once you've done the work to know what you want out of a relationship, some of the people you dated once or twice and then passed on might suddenly seem like good potential matches. Because maybe you didn't give them enough time to charm you or ask the questions that really matter. If that's the case, go ahead and reach out again, Burns says. At worst, they'll say no.