By Cady Drell
It’s a cliché that you can’t tell a book by its cover, but the saying is especially fitting when it comes to matching on Bumble. While a profile can give you an idea of someone’s personality before you even exchange greetings, think of it as the dust jacket instead of the full story. That’s why keeping an open mind is so important when it comes to making meaningful matches, and why having a strict checklist for potential dates could be holding your love life back. We talked to the experts to see how daters can check their habits, broaden their dating pool, and make lasting connections just by being more open-minded.
Keeping an open mind can help you expand your idea of a “type”
Most of us walk around with an image of the ideal partner in our head, and it informs who we seek to match with before we have a chance to get to know them. But if your past experience dating people who fit that mold has been underwhelming (or downright negative), it’s worth examining whether your “type” is really suiting you at present. Rather than disregarding a profile because they don’t initially seem like the kind of person you usually date, online dating expert Julie Spira recommends asking yourself, “Could I be friends with this person?” Doing so can help you keep a more open mind than if you were thinking of them strictly in a dating scenario. “Even if you’re not sure if there’s a romantic connection, some of the best relationships start out with deep friendships,” she says. “That’s the person you should be looking to match with nd meeting up with.”
You’ll see people as more than just the sum of their photos
It’s pretty standard to linger on someone’s profile because we find the other person attractive, but if you’re looking for something deeper, then it’s important to take in the full picture of the person and not just pictures of the person. Amie Leadingham, known as Amie the Dating Coach, says having that strong initial spark of attraction isn’t necessarily an indicator that you’ll have a lasting connection, but having interests and values in common can be. So start thinking about matches beyond the first impression they give you. “When you hang out with someone over and over again, you start getting more attracted to them because of their personality,” she says. “As long as you find some inkling of attraction [in their profile], there’s a chance that it can grow.”
It can help you figure out what you’re really looking for in a date
Staying open-minded toward new matches can introduce you to things you didn’t even know you wanted in a partner—so pay attention when you find something you like. “What you see on a dating app is really just the smallest glimpse of a person,” says Hannah Orenstein, senior dating editor at Elite Daily. “In my own dating life, I take a lot of notes about the people I’m going out with—the green flags that make me more interested in the person, and the red flags that might be things I want to stay away from.” Not only can this broaden your horizons, but she says it even helps you take a more active role when you’re considering potential matches. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, I didn’t click with this person, so onto the next one.’ It forces you to think, ‘Ok, what is it about this person that I’m not enjoying or connecting with on some level?’” Even a low-stakes voice or video call with someone new (which you can do in the Bumble app, without disclosing your information) could help you expand your idea of what makes for a good date.
Widening your age and location range means more potential matches
There are plenty of ways that being close-minded may make our dating pool smaller. Take your set age range, for example: Sometimes when we set narrow age ranges for matches, we’re really just making assumptions, says Leadingham. “You have these preconceived notions that aren’t fact, so there may be a diamond in the rough outside of your age range.” Age isn’t actually a stand-in for values, like whether someone will have their career together or want kids—you have to actually get to know someone to determine those things.
The same thing goes for proximity. While searching in a five mile radius can make date planning easier, it could also cut you off from great folks just a little further afield. Spira suggests revisiting your location to cast a wider net, and says that many of her clients say they’re willing to travel for a date if they feel a strong connection.
Sorting through potential matches can feel like an exercise in snap judgments, which is why keeping an open mind might take some effort at first. But by rethinking your expectations, you just might find someone who exceeds all of them.