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Are you being ghosted or friend-zoned on dating apps?

On dating apps, men often try very hard to establish the other person’s comfort zone. However, it will work wonders if this approach is used after getting to know the prospective partner

Most people, who are seeking serious relationship online, are not in their comfort zone. Photo: Pixabay

By Simran Mangharam

LAST PUBLISHED 03.06.2023  |  01:00 PM IST

Navigating the world of dating can be hard for those seeking serious long-term relationships. From presenting yourself on a dating app, and the pressure of keeping online interactions exciting to eventually meeting and, perhaps, getting into a relationship—every juncture requires an appropriate approach to keep moving the dial to the next phase.

One approach that seems to be prevalent, especially among male clients, is trying to be perceptive about the nervousness of their date. Even before they know anything more about the person, other than their dating profile, they seek to make that person “comfortable" during the interaction. They ask questions like: “Hope you are not too tired to have a chat?", “I hope I am not boring you with my banter?", “Are you comfortable talking about your family?", and “How often do you think we can chat?"

The fact that they are moving in the dark in their endeavor to be perceptive, and prove how thoughtful they are, often doesn’t work for them at this stage.

A successful entrepreneur, S has been using this approach for a decade on dating and matrimony apps. S, now 41, is only interested in a serious relationship that leads to marriage. I’d even go on to say that he is exactly the kind of man almost all of my single female clients are looking for. Yet he is struggling to set up even a first date with a woman he matches with. It’s because of this one line that he uses: “We don’t have to meet till you are completely comfortable with me". When I asked him why he felt the need to mention this in his online interactions, his answer was the same—he genuinely wants the other person to be totally comfortable. It is a great thought but one which backfires on dating platforms. I pushed him further by asking him how comfortable was he using these apps? His answer was no surprise—extremely uncomfortable. Most people, who are seeking serious relationship online, are not in their comfort zone. This journey is laden with nervousness.

Also read: Is simply the label of being married enough?

While S experiences ghosting, another client of mine—36-year-old B—, gets friend zoned a lot with this approach of making the other person comfortable. He has it all mapped out, the appropriate amount of messaging, how he will ask the woman out on the first date, and more. B gives it a two-week window of interesting, but non-flirty banter, online. Two weeks later, he casually messages that he has an extra ticket to a movie or a show and if that person is free to join him. We counted the number of times he sent this message versus how many women actually agreed to join him. B sent approximately fourteen such messages and out of those only two women joined him. And both eventually friend zoned him.

Why is this approach not working for S and B? The reason is simple. It’s not their responsibility to make someone comfortable on a dating app. The onus of that is on each person using the app, and of the platform itself—how it offers a sense of security to its customers. Being thoughtful, understanding, and sensitive is great, but only after you know an individual. This mass sweep based on your own assumptions kills spontaneity, which is the most important spark that is required for any romance to start. By asking questions repeatedly to establish what the other person’s comfort zone is has the opposite effect. The other person thinks that you are not comfortable or confident in your own skin. Hence the person stops interacting with you by either politely declining to continue the conversation or ghosting you.

What works at this stage is to show interest in getting to know an individual better and share with them interesting aspects about your own self. That should be the basis of starting the interactions. Then let the conversations flow naturally based on how the other person responds. Another key tip: Ask the person out sooner rather than later.


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Also read: Are you spending too much time with your partner?

I really appreciate the fact that these two gentlemen are being sensitive and thoughtful, but it is not working for either of them at this stage. However, it will work wonders when this approach is used after they get to know the other person. At that stage, this sensitivity is what will get them to achieve their goal of getting into a long-term relationship. The final tip is for both partners to keep this thoughtful approach going well into the years of togetherness for a long lasting, solid and happy relationship.

This is a limited series by Simran Mangharam, a dating and relationship coach, who can be

reached on simran@floh.in