Top 10 Ways to Deal With Discrimination on Dating Sites and Apps

Thomas Edwards
How to handle discrimination on dating sites and apps
I have a friend, let’s call him Matt. Matt’s a good-looking Asian guy with a solid career in the Aerospace industry. He’s affable, athletic, great in social settings, and has his feet firmly on the ground. For the sake of appearances, Matt is above-average height and appears to be professionally successful, given some of his profile photos. He’s what most consider a catch.

Unfortunately, Matt has had some less-than-stellar experiences on dating apps. He’s been the subject of discrimination, primarily because of his race.

Matt told me about one time where he connected with a woman on a swipe-based dating app. Taking the lead, Matt initiated the conversation with an opener that was witty, unique, and specific to her profile. She soon responded with: “Sorry you’re not my type.” Matt, who wanted to understand more asked: “How so? You’ve hardly gotten the chance to know me.” Her response? “I’m not into Asians.” 

The unfortunate thing is she had initially swiped right, allowing him to reach out and connect with her. On top of that, sending that “I’m not into Asians” message caused Matt to be very confused and discouraged by the overall experience.

My friend Matt’s example is just one area of discrimination and disappointment you can experience on dating apps/sites. There are other popular areas such as height, body type, income, religion, having (or not having) kids –– the list could go on.

While technology has made dating more accessible, convenient, prolific, and honestly, fun, it has made dating more complicated than ever before, oftentimes leading to negative sentiment. 

Here are 10 ways to deal with discrimination and disappointment on dating apps:

1. Remember the Complexity of Abundance

Sometimes, even the most popular dating apps can give us a false sense of endless potential partners. You can swipe on potential suitors for what feels like forever, never reaching the bottom of the pool. This makes you:

  1. Think you *actually* have access to all those individuals, potentially tricking your ego.
  2. Substantially less tolerant because you know there are countless others right behind the last person you swiped left on. 

“You’re always just one swipe away.” But when does the ease of dismissing someone become too easy?

2. Understand That Some People Mindlessly Match

I’ve literally witnessed friends of mine mindlessly swipe/match with very little context, if any at all! In fact, I have a friend who will literally swipe right on every single profile they see because “It’s a numbers game, and I will make the decision after we match.” Knowing this might help temper some of your expectations when you match with someone. Rather than get your hopes up when you match, try to proceed with caution — you don’t know if they’ve put as much time and care into their selection process as you have. 

3. Know That You Are Not Just Your Profile

Our online dating profiles are constrained to a certain number of photos we can share and a word limit when filling out our descriptions. All of which can’t ever fully capture what makes you, you! That unique “special-sauce” that adds the complexities and intricacies to your personality. If you aren’t getting the kind of matches you want, try not to take it so personal. It may not have as much to do with you as it does with how your profile represents you. So see it as a potential opportunity to refresh your profile. 

While making the pursuit of a partner online a little more efficient, combined with the ease of feeling protected by the perceived safety of your smartphone, online dating has allowed folks to easily “dismiss” someone within a matter of seconds, in a way that doesn’t happen in person. This can easily turn into coming off rude and inconsiderate when it comes to how you interact with others on these apps. So how do we handle this?

4. Don’t Depend Solely on Online Dating

While I am a huge fan of online dating –– I personally met my wife on Twitter –– it shouldn’t be the only way you’re meeting potential partners. Online dating should be used as a supplement to everything else you’re doing. 

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is relying on just online dating to meet someone. If that platform was to go away or not deliver results, it makes your chances of finding a partner virtually non-existent.

To really optimize your chances, you should also be meeting potentials offline. This will make you less dependent on online platforms, giving you higher long-term self-esteem, more options, and a less anxious approach to dating overall. Scared to go out and interact with people you’re interested in? There are many ways to learn how to meet someone in person.

5. Look for a New Platform 

Just because “everyone is on that app” doesn’t mean you need to be there too. In my experience, my clients have found success finding their significant other in smaller, more focused apps than the bigger ones. Their success was based on where they were having the most interactions. Remember, there are dating apps for all types of people. Where you’re discriminated against in one app, you are a total catch in another. Be patient in finding the app that works for you.

6. Understand Preferences vs. Discrimination

It’s important to know the difference. Unfortunately, when someone is selecting preferences/checking boxes on their dating profile, it can feel more like discrimination for someone on the receiving end. But remember, people are selecting their “ideal” person which, almost always, narrows down the field to an incredibly small percentage. Dating apps give you the perception the “ideal” person is actually in there, and then your actions reflect that mentality. What inevitably happens is your “hyper-scrutiny” can lead to poor results online.

7. Keep in Mind: It’s Not Personal, It’s Dating 

People are selecting their preferences, and I would encourage you to not let that deter you if you’re interested in that person. Preferences are not always a reflection of reality. What you select on a dating app may not be what you end up ultimately attracted to in person. 

When my wife dated online, she never interacted with men who were younger than her… but when I showed up, it changed everything. I’m nearly 4 years younger than her and we’ve been together for nearly 11 years! So again, don’t take it personally and don’t let someone’s surface preferences deter you from pursuing them!

Navigating dating is an emotional process but if you keep at it, you’ll eventually find the one who loves ALL of you. They’re out there so have fun on your journey to meeting them!

8. Know That You’re Not Alone

From having worked with literally thousands of clients, I can tell you Matt’s experience isn’t unique, not even close. Sites like OkCupid have been putting out data about racial discrimination on dating sites, constantly showing Asian men, like Matt, are less desirable than other races. At the bottom of the list includes Indian men and Black women. And after a decade of more data, not much has changed. 

9. Keep Putting Yourself Out There

If my friend Matt had given up after this disheartening experience, he wouldn’t have met his current girlfriend — and she’s pretty awesome! They actually ended up meeting on another dating app, one less focused on swiping, and more on connecting.

10. Explore a Dating App That Requires More Effort

All the most popular dating apps and sites require a bit more curation on the profile side, meaning people who are on here are putting in a bit more effort. We’ve found that the connections that come from sites like the ones on this list tend to feel a bit more deliberate. That’s not to say you can’t find love on some of the other more popular apps though.

Final Thoughts

With anything worth pursuing, there will be moments of disappointment, and dating is no exception. The key is to keep your eye on what you’re committed to, which is a long-term, quality, and loving relationship, and continue to be resilient in the face of doubt.

Thomas Edwards
Thomas Edwards writes for top10.com and founded The Professional Wingman to help singles find long-term relationships by developing their social skills through experiential coaching. With his first-ever publicly available course, Dynamic Dating, Thomas teaches you how to create a lifestyle conducive to meeting, attracting, and getting into a relationship with women both online and offline, while staying true to who you are.