I’ve noticed a curious behavior on dating apps like Tinder that always dumbfounds me.
It’s the common habit of women writing something like the following on their dating profiles:
- “Not here for hookups!”
- “If you’re only interested in sex, swipe left…”
- “Don’t bother messaging if you only want something casual…”
Whenever I come across such profiles, I can’t help but ask myself: Does that really work??
Not because I believe that dating sites are only useful to facilitate quick sex and no-strings-attached physical encounters. Quite the opposite: I’ve known plenty of friends who have used sites like Tinder or Bumble and ended up finding dates that eventually turned into relationships and (and in one case even an engagement).
Rather, when a woman says emphatically, “No hookups!”, my thought is always: This is exactly the kind of thing that scares great guys away.
This might seem counter-intuitive, so at the risk of seeming unclear, here are the three major reasons why women should avoid writing this on their profile:
Reason #1 – It doesn’t really help you filter out “players”
When a woman stresses on her profile how much she “DEFINITELY doesn’t want hookups”, she might do so because she believes this makes her appear high value to a man.
However, while I understand the intention, the strategy is entirely wrong.
Sure, there may be a few “player types” who are scared off by such a line, but there are also a fair amount of guys who are just as spurred on by such a challenge (or who at least ignore it entirely).
In other words, just saying, “I hate players!” isn’t some kind of lethal kryptonite that destroys every man who just wants a hookup.
The only REAL effective filter is judging guys based on their actions and looking for little signs in actual conversation.
- Does he want to invest time in seeing you, or does he just always try to get you over to his place?
- Does he seem curious about who you are, or does he barely listen to what you say?
- Does he push for sex on a first date, or does he take his time?
- Does he say he squirm whenever the topic of relationships or marriage comes up? Does he say he is “just having fun” right now, or does he express a desire for something more serious?
I suspect in some ways, just writing “No hookups!” on a profile is an attempt at a shortcut. It’s wanting to screen out the worst guys without doing the actual work of screening them through the methods above.
But there is no 100% foolproof way to do this in dating: There’s certainly no way to do it on a dating app, just as there’s no certain way to know if the cute guy who chats you up in a coffee shop isn’t only asking for your number so that he can sleep with you and then never call again. That’s why you always have to watch both his actions and his words and pace yourself before you jump in too deep with a new guy.
(Note: Of course, you could write on your profile something like, “I’m looking for a great guy who cares about family, closeness, etc.” because at least in this case you’re writing it as a positive rather than the negative “No hookups!” approach…)
Now, we’ve seen how writing “no hookups” on your profile can be ineffective in filtering out players, but there’s also another reason you should avoid such a strategy…
Reason #2 – It scares good men away
Whenever I see the phrase: “Swipe left if you just want a hookup!”, it’s as though the person who writes this believes that a stable, mature, kind, high-achieving man is going to read that and think to himself, “Ah good. A woman who doesn’t want to play games and who is really ready for a relationship. That’s great.”
But what he REALLY thinks is, “Wow, she seems intense.”
Think about it: he may be open to a relationship with the RIGHT woman, but also not be 100% certain what he wants yet.
But now he’s being asked to date a woman with an exact outcome in mind, knowing that if he later decides he doesn’t want to commit to something long-term, he may get a world of grief, be accused of being a player, or get a highly emotional response that makes him sorry he even took the chance in the first place.
Showing how much you are desperate not to meet a player doesn’t make him think you’re serious. It makes him think you’ve been burnt, that you’re jaded, that you’re someone who is suspicious of men and has a negative view of guys in general.
And nothing is more unattractive to a new partner than someone who still lives with previous emotional baggage.
Which bring us to the final reason you should avoid writing this on your profile…
Reason #3 – You start identifying yourself as a “victim”
When you paint yourself as a woman who is always afraid of being burnt by “players” or dishonest guys, you begin to identify yourself with the label of being a victim.
Taking on this role makes it so much harder to appear fun, relaxed, open and willing to embrace that tingle of spontaneity that occurs when you first start dating someone new. It sucks the fun and mystery away and makes a man feel like he is more being sized up for a relationship than just getting to know and connect with you.
Bottom line: We cannot have fun dating if we’re always afraid of being gut-punched by love.
That doesn’t mean you have to be naïve: you can still meet a guy with eyes wide open and without putting your whole heart on the line with a guy you barely know, but if you go in always waiting to be let down, you’ll scare away any guy with honest intentions.
Good guys resent being treated like bad ones. If you don’t know a guy and he peaks your curiosity, give him the benefit of the doubt until he gives you reason not to.
No-one likes being the object of suspicion and doubt. Don’t be the one who makes him feel like he has to justify himself before he even knocks on the door.
Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.