I tried Facebook Dating even though it terrified me—here’s what happened

When I heard that Facebook came out with a dating service, my first thought was why? Dating apps are not in short supply these days, and Facebook Dating is joining the game late—with stiff competition. At 22 years old, hardly any of my friends use Facebook at all anymore, so why would young 20-somethings turn to it to meet new romantic prospects?

I was scared to try this fresh-on-the-market dating service for many reasons. Would everyone be weird? Would they be ten years older than me and total creeps? I was skeptical, to say the least.

Dating apps have never really been my forte. I was in a serious relationship for four years before graduating from college, so I’m basically new to the dating world in general. But after moving to the giant dating pool that is New York City a few months ago, I decided to give online dating a shot. I signed up for Hinge and had mild success. By mild success, I mean I met a handful of guys who actually wanted to go on fun dates instead of the standard, “Let’s grab drinks sometime.”

Hinge Guy #1 suggested we ride the Staten Island Ferry at sunset with a bottle of wine. (Okay, so alcohol was still involved, but it was a first date—cut us some slack.) The views were great, and there’s just something intimate about being on a boat. Hinge Guy #2 suggested that we walk across the Williamsburg Bridge for dinner at a restaurant on the water. Romantic, right? Hinge Guy #3 brought me to an obscure indie concert (which I have a total soft spot for). So, Hinge set my online dating expectations pretty high.

Although these various Hinge Guys were great, none of them quite stuck, so by the time I heard about Facebook Dating coming onto the market, I was on the market myself. I decided to swallow my fear and give it a try.

Below is my honest review of Facebook’s dating feature:

Creating your profile:

You would think a social network with some of the brightest minds in the world behind it would know how to set up a great app format. This is not the case. Facebook automatically uploads your Facebook profile picture as your main image on your dating profile (which is fine), but I literally hadn’t set anything else up before little red alerts saying, “so-and-so liked you” started popping up. This really irritated me. I hadn’t entered any of my information yet—let a girl properly curate her online image before throwing her out into the wild, Facebook!

While I ignored the notifications, I continued setting up my profile.

Facebook asks you to describe yourself in either three words or three emojis that will appear under your first photo. The pressure!

I chose emojis, because they seemed less serious. (To me, this emoji represents your fun personality more than literally writing, “fun”, but I could be wrong.) Next, you can add your age, city you live in, hometown, job, education, and height—standard dating app info. You can add as many photos as you want, answer as many “personality” questions as you want, and sync your Instagram account at the bottom of your profile. I chose five photos and three questions. (My personal favorite question: “The song that always gets me on the dance floor is…” The answer is “September” by Earth Wind and Fire, if you care.) My account was now ready to go—bring on the potential soulmates!

Filtering matches:

A nice feature of Facebook Dating is that you can filter the prospects you see by some general preferences. Those include: gender, distance from you, children or no children, religious views, height, and age range (alleviating my original age-related fear). With my preferences listed, I was ready to scope out some potential matches.

Using Facebook Dating:

Facebook followed in its dating app predecessors’ footsteps and decided to use a general “X” or “heart” setup. But unlike other apps (ahem, Hinge), you can’t send someone you’re thinking of “heart-ing” a message as a way of introduction. You either like them or you don’t. Personally, I prefer being able to strike up a conversation with people I “heart”—whether it’s by commenting on one of their photos or answers to prompts—it just feels more personal and actually intended for getting to know someone. Once you both like each other, of course, you’re able to send a message. I just think having the option to say something right off the bat makes it easier to connect with someone.

Secret Crush feature:

This is where things get interesting. Facebook Dating allows you to choose one of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers that you have, well, a secret crush on (you can add up to nine people). If said crush has joined Facebook Dating, too, they’ll be notified that someone has a secret crush on them. The catch: They won’t know who you are unless they add you as a secret crush of their own accord, too. Bogus.

If you’re going to take the leap and tell someone you actually know in real life that you’re into them, they should be notified. Otherwise, if they have no idea you’re into them romantically, chances are, they probably won’t tell you if they happen to have a crush on you too, and this defeats the whole point. I deem this a missed opportunity, and I decided to opt out of this feature.

My experience:

As I began combing through potential dates on Facebook Dating, I noticed a theme. Maybe this is just relevant for the age range I selected (22-30), but there was a plethora of mirror pics, flexing pics, and selfies (a lot took place in cars). Call me picky, but if you post any of the aforementioned, I’m gonna give you a big ole “X.” It just comes off as arrogant to me. I found myself hitting X after X after X.

Another automatic X: You can only include one photo. I don’t think Facebook should allow anyone to do this—I mean, we all look amazing in at least one picture, right? But it doesn’t really show who you actually are, and also comes off as kind of lazy. Another automatic X: You don’t answer any of the questions. Um, hello, where’s your personality? Does it exist? This is another thing I don’t think Facebook should let people do—but I guess it’s the person’s choice how they choose to come off.

Eventually, after scrolling through far too many posed gym selfies, I started talking to a guy who seemed pretty normal. He was a little bit older than me, super into traveling, and genuinely seemed interested in getting to know me. After a few days of messaging, he went for the typical, “Wanna grab drinks?” I’ll admit, I did have a brief eye-roll moment (those Hinge Guys set my expectations high), but I decided to give him a shot.

Facebook Dating Guy and I had a good time at a cool bar in a part of the city I’d never been to before, which in it of itself made the night worth it. Is he my soulmate? No. But he was a nice guy who provided a fun night, and I guess I have Facebook Dating to thank for that.

Am I eagerly checking my likes every day? No. Will I give Facebook Dating a try again? Maybe. But not before I meet a few more Hinge Guys first.

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