First Time on a Dating App? Make Sure You Do These 5 Things

woman chatting over the phone

Catholic dating can be anything from weird and frustrating to exciting and surprising.

Until the last time I tried online dating, I had never used dating apps before. I had really only tried online dating websites. But during this most recent online dating experience, I threw all the eggs in one basket and decided to add dating apps in the mix with the Catholic online dating websites I was using.

Coming from a healthy and whole place, I wanted to put myself out there as much as possible to meet nice men and practice healthy dating skills. No, not every date was a love connection (or even that great to begin with!) but it’s definitely possible to make a great connection on an online dating app. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try out various dating apps.

Pick your best photos

taking a picture

Photos matter a lot when it comes to online dating apps. So pick the best photos of yourself that make you feel most confident. Ladies, choose the pictures that make you feel beautiful and most yourself. Gentlemen, pick the photos that you feel most handsome in.

Another thing to keep in mind is finding pictures of you doing interesting things, like the time you were a godfather to your nephew or when you traveled to Europe last summer with a handful of friends. Active pictures of you can help draw in the other person more.

Ask yourself what makes you unique and interesting

happy man

What makes you yourself? What are the interesting things about you someone may not know at a glance from your pictures?

For example, I love to write.  I also love to read and have a goal to read 100 books in a year (the closest I have come is 88!). I knew what makes me unique, and I had those interests in mind when I started sending and receiving messages on online dating apps. 

Some dating apps allow you to answer interesting questions to help the other get to know you more. If that is the case, have some fun, interesting answers ready to go.

Keep some good questions in your back pocket


Whether a man messages me first or I do, I always have tried to have a few good questions ready to use.

In initial messages (and even when you first meet someone in person), it is good to have some things ready to talk about. Are there similar interests or different ones you would like to hear more about? Are the clarifying questions you have that would help you get to know the other better? 

Here’s a few of my own to give you some ideas:

  • What are three dreams for your life?
  • What is bringing you joy in life right now?
  • What are the top three travel destinations on your travel bucket list right now?

Be yourself! 

happy woman

I know it sounds a bit trite, but this tip is true and important. Just be yourself. Show up on dating apps, online platforms, and dates as your authentic, real self. No matter how good (or not good) a date goes, showing up as you is what matters most.

You being yourself is the best way to see if you connect and hit things off with the other person. When I would drive to meet a man for a date, I would remind myself of this on the way over. Sometimes I would give myself a little pep talk in the car. These pep talks helped soothe my nerves and just remind myself that being me is enough, always enough.

Set some limits for yourself 


When it comes to knowing myself and my Catholic dating journey, I knew that I needed to give myself a certain amount of time each day to respond to messages, reach out to men, and look at new profiles. 

This was an incredibly important boundary I set for myself. I was doing something tangible each day about working to connect and meet men, while not losing myself in the process and approaching it in a desperate way. I didn’t want to spend hours each night online or dating apps, but I also wanted to be proactive. This was a good middle option. 

The amount of time for you may look different. For me, one hour a night was the right amount. Find what the right amount of time is for your life and the other activities you have going on. Remember to have fun on dating apps! Enjoy the process! Life might surprise you when you open yourself up to it.