Dating with Beeminder: a Journal

Beeminder has solved every persistent problem in my life – I’ve been using Beeminder since the summer of 2020, and it has helped me become a consistent runner, a 100+ books a year reader, a habitual tooth-brusher (and, more recently, flosser), a gym go-er, and a piano practicer. I’m a mostly happy, productive grad student who survived moving across the world during the pandemic. I believe that almost any life situation I might encounter could be improved with a well-designed Beeminder goal and a bit of inspiration.

So… can Beeminder help me date?

I’ve been single and open to a new relationship since January 2020. For a while, there was a good excuse to not be exploring the dating pool (a pesky virus), but now I’m tripple-jabbed, single, and ready to meet new people. I’m tired of listening to my own excuses, about waiting for the right person to come along, and about how tiring it is to send messages into the void on apps. I do lots of other hard things, so why not this one? I love first dates, so really my biggest hurdle is maintaining the energy and habit of sending the message.

I set up a Beeminder goal (Do More, +1 per day) for actions taken towards setting up dates. 1 action counts as sending a first message or engaging in an ongoing conversation towards setting up a first date.

No more opening Hinge/Bumble/etc., swiping to the limit, sending a flurry of messages, and then pretending the app doesn’t exist. I’m Beeminding the input, and crossing my fingers for the output.

As long as it’s ok with the community, I’ll plan to update this journal with how it’s going with my goal of sending messages and keeping conversations going. Assuming I ever go on any dates, I’ll probably share how I’m feeling about that, too, while maintaining the privacy of everyone involved.

Have you ever made any dating or relationship-related Beeminder goals? Any tips as I embark on this nerve-wracking experience?

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I had a goal about spending quality time with my husband which worked pretty well, so that’s something to look forward to, maybe! :slight_smile:

In more general advice, depending on where you are, I’ve always found as a nerdy woman dating nerdy men that you have a ~100% success rate at having any straight guy from a site go on a date with you if you just ask. We’re probably dating in very different circles (polyamorous straight Australian woman here), but assuming you’re a woman who dates men, I find getting a good instinct/vibe from a profile (I like OKCupid personally) and then just asking them for coffee pretty quickly works well.

In terms of general life advice, in 2021 I found myself going on second and third dates with guys I liked but not that much, which wasted time and emotional energy.

I think the idea of beeminding those hard-to-convert-into-dates app interactions will work well, though obviously don’t force yourself to schedule a date with someone who gives you off vibes just because you don’t want to derail!

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This makes me so happy! It’s a brilliant Beeminder use case. It also reminds me of the classic example of @nick beeminding romantic gestures to his then-girlfriend and now THREE WHOLE HUMANS maybe/arguably owe some fraction of their existence to Beeminder and I just glow every time I think about that.

So, yes, please please post updates. Also I know this is not a totally uncommon thing to beemind so I hope we can find some people with success stories to chime in.

Btw, we started talking about this in the Discord just now (join us?) and @mad wondered why a nerdy woman who dates men needs a Beeminder goal – don’t men throw themselves at you? I speculated that maybe it works better to apply your own filters and initiate contact… But then it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter. Even (or especially) if you’re inundated with incoming messages, you still have to pick some and actually reply for a date to happen. It’s eminently beemindable!

(And of course a typical experience for men on dating sites is getting zero incoming messages but it’s the same story: you have to keep sending messages. See also Scott Alexander’s post the other day about getting married.)

Thanks again for posting this!

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I’m a big proponent of beeminding both systems (like this), as well as outcomes. :smiley:
How about something like a second goal that’s aimed at like 1 date/month? Good luck!

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I’ve always enjoyed the “personal topics” in the forum.

Looking forward to reading your experience and maybe even getting inspired into action! Otherwise there’s a good chance “I’ve been single and open to a new relationship since January 2022.” a true statement for myself ^^

(And thanks @dreev for the nudge in the Discord to actually type this!)

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Thank y’all so much for the encouragement!!! It makes me even more excited and optimistic about this whole experience. :smiley_cat: I love the Beeminder community and I can’t wait to hear more about your experiences using Beeminder for social goals.

A bit more background: I identify as a queer woman and have been in several serious long-term relationships in the past, always with people I met in-person through activities or groups. The “pandemonium” of 2020- made opportunities to meet people in person scarce to non-existent, and it seems like most of my friends in my new city (UK) have met the people they date on apps.

After the end of my longest relationship (3.5 years) in 2018 I made dating app profiles for the first time, but I find it incredibly difficult to feel any connection with profiles and developed a very bad, approximately fortnightly habit of reinstalling the apps, sending a flurry of messages, and deleting the next day when I’m overwhelmed and remember that my life is just fine as it is. (I’ve heard from friends that I’m not alone in this habit.) I’ve been on like 2 first dates from apps in the intervening years. The primary aim of the Beeminder goal is to encourage a more sustainable, little and often approach to using dating apps.

@mad Good thing I love coffee! And thanks for the rec about OKCupid, it’s not yet in my toolkit but I will probably add it! You also bring up one of my biggest goals, and reasons for doing this whole thing – going on dates with enough people to get a better gauge for who I like and who I really like.

@dreev Can I put a Beeminder endorsement in my profile? Jk, thanks for the enthusiasm, I would love to be a future success story. I provided a bit more background that hopefully explains more why a woman who dates men might want a Beeminder goal about message sending (dating akrasia? :smile:). I will check out Scott Alexander’s post!

@brennanbrown Good point! Maybe I’ll wait until I have my first date in the calendar. It would be fun to see the slope change as I build momentum or find the right person.

@ozanogreden Keep in touch, especially if you decide to Beemind this too! I responded to the nudge about the Discord as well… to finally join!

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I think if you’re a woman who dates women it’s going to especially be important to try and do actions that lead to dates (c.f. the “useless sapphic” trope), so beeminder might even be better. Best of luck and keep us updated :slight_smile:

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Update: Beeminder has indeed helped me stick with and trust the process when I definitely would have otherwise given up already. It has been a learning process for sure. My dating “actions” tally is now at 14, but I haven’t managed to schedule a first date yet.

I started off on Bumble, figuring that as a woman willing to make the first move it might serve to my advantage. After about 10 conversations that went nowhere, I decided to add OkCupid, which I think was also a helpful exercise in reflecting on my values and desires in a relationship. As I go, I think I’m learning to be pickier about who I feel I would really be compatible with. This evening I sent off 5 messages to people who seem like higher quality matches, in terms of shared interests and goals, than some of the others I’ve chatted with so far.

Other dating ideas I’ve chatted about with friends recently – a singles ad system for the research building I work in, because dating within a research lab of 20 people is too close for comfort but I know hardly anyone from the other research groups in our 6 storey building!

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I once did something like what you’re doing now. I made myself swap “x” amount of people and send at least a message per match everyday.

But I couldn’t overcome the feeling that it’s too unnatural. I would regularly think something on the lines of “Why am I forcing myself to talk to these people? It’s not necessary at all!”. In the end I couldn’t believe it worth. But it’s a personal thing.

I would say to you: give it a try… as long as you are motivated. I hope the pros outweigh the cons for you.

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I reached a motivation shift this past weekend, and accordingly decided to update my Beeminder goal. It now counts an action as a message, or messaging to plan a date, OR attending a dating event. I’m choosing to define a “dating event” to include those such old-school dating activities as going to a bar or cafe with a friend and expressly talking to and meeting new people, or gasp going to a speed dating event, because apparently that’s a thing again! I’ve lowered my weekly goal to 2 per week, so that I can prioritise these sorts of in-person events. And I added myself to the waiting list for a local speed dating event!

Maybe my spark and confidence will come back, but after a week of confidence-knocking life events and 3 ghosting-after-planning-the-date events on the apps, I’ve been feeling burnt out and need to focus on things that are enjoyable in the moment, like meeting cool new people in person.

Edit: I played myself, and by talking about how I feel like giving up I accidentally became motivated to send more messages. +3 new matches and first messages today.

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I think this is a really cool idea.
I struggle a ton keeping conversations going. Even after initiating contact etc, that whole smalltalk thing is just something I don’t get but I also don’t want to overshare right away. Social interactions are hard. I wonder if I should consider this goal, I did plan to prioritize connection this year.

As a non-binary queer poly person, I surprisingly found Bumble and Tinder pretty alright in the UK. OkCupid was pretty empty and all the appeal it had to queer and poly people were slowly phased out it seems. (It’s pretty amazing in other countries, or maybe it was just the general transphobia that made it a bit more difficult for me. Who knows.) The questionnaires were a lot of fun though. Obviously, you’ll have the usual unicorn-hunters, but I don’t think I have to tell you. The ghosting seems to pretty normal too, if I judge it by anything I hear on Tiktok. Don’t let it discourage you.

Good luck eventually archiving that goal!

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