Married? Stop being smug with your friends on dating apps

Welcome to CNET’s Love Syncs, where we answer your online dating questions. I’m Erin Carson, staff reporter, fairly young resident, chill correspondent, curator of weird internet stuff, very likely to leave you on “read”.

This week, a married reader wants to know how to support her friends who are struggling through the world of online dating.

I hope you brought a pair of knee-high wellies.

Q: I’m happily married to someone I met on a dating site before Tinder, so I believe in online dating. However, I have friends who use the apps and are understandably frustrated with the whole situation. How can I remain an encouraging and supportive friend without coming across as a smug married person?

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– A.

A: The bride and groom! They are everywhere. You might even be one of them. You know who else is everywhere? Single people! Somehow we all have to get along, not rubbing our faces in our respective marital bliss or the freedom to buy cheese in bulk without consulting anyone else in the house.

Sometimes, however, even cheese bought in bulk isn’t enough to quell the frustrations of online dating. So what do you do if you’re married and your single friend plans to set his phone on fire in the middle of a field under a full moon? (Note: Love Syncs does not endorse starting fires in the middle of a field under a full moon.)

Rule #1 is very important and often trampled on. LISTEN TO ME MARRIED PEOPLE: NEVER EVER say, “Hooo, boy. Of course, I’m glad I’m not here anymore.”

Who is this comment for, exactly? It’s a jerky move and a great way to make your friend feel like they’ve set off for Everest without a tent.

Next: let your friend let off steam. You can’t go wrong giving your friend the space to vent their grievances with whatever weird and annoying thing that just happened to them thanks to Applications. In fact, venting might be all they really want to do.

This brings me to the next point: don’t assume they are coming to you for advice or for you to critique their strategies. Bombarding someone with advice they’re not looking for is a waste of everyone’s time.

How you respond to your friend will depend somewhat on your relationship and what you know about their personality. Maybe they do want your help browsing the profiles. They might even want to hear assurances that everything will work out. Or not. You know them better than me, which is to say not badly because I keep inviting them to the Bunko party and I receive zero answer.


In any event. If anything, the fact that you have experience with online dating, even if it goes back a few years, probably makes you a pretty attractive person to discuss the difficulties of dating in the digital world with. And if it seems like your friend is in a good mood, you can always tell your own bad date stories out of solidarity. So when you hand them a beer (or a fizzy cold compress juice!) and honestly and empathetically offer them a “man, that sucks,” they know that you know how they feel.

Read more: Best dating sites of 2019

CNET’s Love Syncs is an advice column focused on online dating. If you have a question about how to find love through the app, send it to [email protected] for consideration.

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