Dating apps make me hit a ‘wall of overstimulation’

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Hi Meredith,

I'll be honest with you: I hate dating apps! Dating apps burn me out to the extreme. I have ADHD, so apps like Tinder and Bumble supply consistent dopamine hits for my dopamine-deficient brain, but then I either hit a wall of overstimulation, or the dopamine stops hitting the way it used to. I've used apps on and off since I was 17, and I'm 23 now. I deleted all my dating apps about eight months ago, and while I love living without the overwhelming stimuli and the FOMO (fear of missing out) that comes with using the apps (like forgetting to reply to the point of the other person unmatching), not using them also comes with its own FOMO. I've concluded that the day or two of dating dopamine is no longer worth the month-long burnout. But I can't help but feel like if I'm not on dating apps, I won't meet anyone.

– Appily Ever After


It sounds like dating apps give you the worst kind of dating fatigue. It's great you know that. (Yay for self-awareness.)

That said, if you're really worried about meeting people and want to be on apps for that reason (as opposed to the rush), there are some options for less stimulation. Some apps are designed to limit your browsing options to a few people a day. Last I checked, Coffee Meets Bagel was one of them. In real life, at a party, you wouldn't evaluate 40 to 100 people as potential dates. Maybe you'd talk to a few people and move on. That's a small rush. If you can replicate that experience online, it might be better for your brain. Look for apps that set boundaries for you.

Remember that people do meet in real life. This is a great time to tell people you're open to setups. Maybe team up with a few friends and think about ways to introduce each other to new people in your larger communities.

It might also help to focus on an activity you love and broaden your world, even with friends. That's a great feeling – doing something fun with good company. Sometimes it leads to more.

– Meredith

Readers? Is there a way to be on apps just a little? How do you deal with FOMO when you're not on them? Other ways to meet people?