The A-Z guide to dating on dating apps for Indians

Two hearts forming a heart that have a flower in between
Two hearts forming a heart that have a flower in between

This is the year 2024 and the world of online dating is the new Sima Aunty. While Sima Aunty (of the famed Netflix show: Indian Matchmaking) can only match a couple of people ready to be married at a time, dating apps come in all flavors and can cater to a large number of people based on their individual and intersecting needs. Browsing and exploring dating prospects is easier than ever before. While being on dating apps may be easy, finding the right person and to impress them bold is still fairly challenging.

Everyone needs a guide, especially when venturing into something new. From knowing how to navigate the right app, to creating first impressions to coping with rejection, we will be with you throughout your dating journey.

From understanding what people want to prepare yourself for success on dating apps, to helping you bust common dating myths, we aim this to be the first guide to refer to when you think of dating apps.

In this series, we have covered the initial aspects of matchmaking, largely within the Indian context.

Full disclosure: I am Anurag, founder of the dating app called Dahlia, and having navigated dozens of dating apps before, I will share my experiences and learnings with you all. We will learn things like how to make a lasting impression. How to permeate shyness, introversion, and fear of vulnerability. How to manage expectations and build trust in a relationship. I will also refer to data and expert advice from intimacy experts to supercharge your dating journey. So let’s begin!

Why do you need a dating app in the first place?

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Before looking at dating apps, you first need to ask yourself if you need one to begin with. To cut the answer to one sentence: if you’re not actively seeking an intimate relationship, you don’t really need a dating app.

For all your networking, socializing, and hangout needs, there are many other apps out there. Only if you’re looking for a partner, if you’re looking for a long-term intimate relationship, or if you’re just looking to get laid, you can look at dating apps.

Outside of the question of intent, dating apps also offer a variety of tools, and choices for the 21st generation person, making it easier to quickly find prospects, break the ice, and talk about things without being vulnerable.

Click below to read some other considerations both in favor and criticism of dating apps.

Read in-depth: Why Do You Need a Dating App (or Don’t)

How to choose which dating app is best for Indians?

An image of mobile screen showing different dating apps such as OkCupid Bumble and more. The mobile is sitting at the corner of a black and white key keyboard

Choosing a dating app, despite various lists on the internet, needs some maneuvering through. It’s a matter of how much choice you want. What kind of people do you want to attract, where you’re based, and what features make you want to put in the time?

The easiest answer is to try a few and then stick to the ones that offer the most flexibility and support without all that spam. But the best answer is to find the one that feels the safest, most relevant to your needs, and gets the best results.

To help you choose better, this post in the guide gives in detail reasons as to why choosing the right app is important and also gives a comparative analysis between many of the leading dating apps in the market.

Read in-depth: How to choose which dating app is best for an Indian? (comparing different dating apps with their features)

Handling the anxiety and stress that comes with dating on dating apps

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While the sense of rejection is not as pronounced in real life as they are on dating apps, anxiety, and stress are still the most manifested mental responses if things don’t work out for us. Before we can learn how to handle anxiety, we have to learn to recognize what it is and what triggers those responses from us.

The guide will offer you ways in which you can look into your past, trace the origins of insecurity, and eventually learn to deal with stress from seeking a partner to the early days of dating.

Read in-depth: Understanding Anxiety and Stress in Early Dating

How to choose the best profile picture for a dating app?

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Someone rightly said, “A picture says a thousand words.” That’s what’s intended from a picture that you choose to display on a dating app. It should tell a story of your personality so it can attract the right group of people.

This topic will show you how to find the high and the low points of a profile picture, what other users consciously and subconsciously look for in people’s pictures, what little changes can make your profile picture stand out, the aesthetics of why first impression decides the course of your online matchmaking journey and much more.

Read in-depth: How to choose the best profile picture for a dating/matchmaking app?

How do you write the best bio section for a dating app?

Gemini Generated Image of envelope being held by two hands and it has a letter that has BIO written on it

The bio is the second most important thing on one’s profile after the picture. And if crafted with care, a bio can be the perfect tool to filter serious people from the casual swiper bunch.

All you need is the show don't tell principle. For example, if you think you’re funny, say something funny instead of telling people you’re funny.

In this post, you will learn more about how to weave conversation starters into your bio that spark people’s curiosity. You will also learn about how to make your bio seem authentic and finetune it to make it respectable, yet unique. I have shared simple tips for you to not fall in the vagueness and generalization traps while writing about yourself.

Read in-depth: How to Come Up with the Best Bio for Indian Dating Apps

How do you chat with your match on dating apps?

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While asking your player friends to compose inappropriate texts to send your crush may have worked for you, it may be great to equip yourself with the nuances of chatting and knowing the things that make for a conversation.

Great texting is all about mastering the art of personalization. We’ll talk about ways in which you can ask the right questions, make them feel interested, build trust and mutual curiosity, understanding the role of boundaries and how to navigate them without overstepping. We’ll do this and much more so you do know how to talk and know what things matter in which phase of your relationship.

Read in-depth: Mastering the Art of Chatting on Dating Apps: A Guide for Indians

How to present yourself in front of your match - both online and offline

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This section is about making things real. This is the part where things pace up, often moving into first introductions, video calling, asking them out and even meeting them for the first time.

You’ll learn about what it means to ask the other person for their contact number, the best approach when presenting yourself as a mating prospect, when to get on a video call (and when not), how to best ask them for a real date, presenting yourself as a trusting, respectful and vulnerable person, and a lot more.

Read in-depth: Mastering the Art of Presenting Yourself in Front of Your Matches, both online and offline

How do you manage expectations in your dating journey?

pexels shvetsa

When you think of expectations, think of yourself as the boy in the picture above. All the disappointments are valid for him, as much as they are exaggerated. This is to say that having expectations is not the problem, our inability to detach ourselves from them is.

We will expect as long as we live. Instead of not expecting, learn to be okay with others not fulfilling our expectations. The journey to seeking love is full of ups and downs and unrealistic expectations can quickly dishearten us and make things sour. In this post, we will understand how to escape the hell of toxic expectations and turn them into tools to communicate honestly, build understanding, and get to the heart of conflict, both internal and external.

We’ll also address the deeper parts of you that make you lose objectivity in the face of unmet needs. Use this guide as a self-help tool to stay sane, find and fix insecurities, and become a better version for the sake of something bigger.

Read in-depth: Managing expectations in your dating journey

How do you cope with rejection if things don’t go well on the first date?

pexels gabby k

When it comes to dating, rejection is the norm. In fact, being okay with rejection may not be fully sufficient. You have to expect it. We’re a sum product of all the past that precedes us, leading to who we are now. It’s inevitable that all people feel differently, desire different things at different times, and cope with their childhood trauma by attaching themselves to differing personalities. Amidst all that drama, our individual momentary desires don’t account to much. It simply takes a lot for two to tango.

This post will tell you how to plan yourself for success, but prepare for failure. You’ll learn about signs you can catch early on so you can do damage control. How you start healing from rejection by forgiving yourself, and others when things don’t go as per plan (and they hardly do). And finally, learning to let go and find yourself, yet again.

Read in-depth: Coping with rejection when things didn't go as planned on the first date for Indians

Parting words

Ends are not only necessary, they’re also beautiful. Because for some things to begin, others have to come to an end. Ends, by that logic, move life. The end is the evidence that evolution is at play. We make content around dating, and relationships; In spite of that, we wish you, the reader, to live your life with dignity and joy even without one. Intimacy may mean a lot to you, but they don’t have to mean everything. I hope in whatever corner of Earth the reader of this guide is, you find reasons to be enchanted by life and invent a purpose that extends well beyond what you know as YOU.

And as far as this guide is concerned, this is not the end. This is just the first guide in our online dating series, but we have a lot more in store for you. Stay put while we work to make more of such guides available to you. If you liked what you read, and would like to read more, sign up for the weekly newsletter.

Anurag is a filmmaker turned farmer turned entrepreneur. Originally from Faridabad, Haryana, he loves to read and write on the subjects of relationships, free will, faith, and similar 'delusions' that collectively make us human.
Having written and directed several films before, and then working with farmers in revolutionizing their supply chain, Anurag has now landed on his latest venture called Dahlia, a new-age matchmaking app that uses games to foster purposeful intimacy. His deep knowledge of human relationships coupled with scientific research has helped hundreds of individuals navigate the landscape of modern romance with authenticity and confidence.

Anurag is a filmmaker turned farmer turned entrepreneur. Originally from Faridabad, Haryana, he loves to read and write on the subjects of relationships, free will, faith, and similar 'delusions' that collectively make us human.
Having written and directed several films before, and then working with farmers in revolutionizing their supply chain, Anurag has now landed on his latest venture called Dahlia, a new-age matchmaking app that uses games to foster purposeful intimacy. His deep knowledge of human relationships coupled with scientific research has helped hundreds of individuals navigate the landscape of modern romance with authenticity and confidence.

Anurag Gulati Headshot

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati Headshot

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati Headshot
Anurag Gulati Headshot

Anurag Gulati

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