Just over a year ago, I was a nervous wreck. I was set to move to a new city over 2,000 miles away for my last summer internship before my senior year of college. The number of people I knew there could be counted on a single hand.
Inspired by friends, I made a J Swipe account. It seemed like a great way to meet more people in a new city while going on fun dates.
Within weeks, I wished I consulted a guide online on how to navigate J Swipe. At first, it drove me crazy the amount of mind games I ended up playing —there was a reason I studied business in school and not psychology. To save you confusion and stress, I’ve written a guide that has never appeared on my newsfeed. The anecdotes shared in this guide are both my own experiences as well as my friends’ respective adventurous stories on the app.
11) Update your location distances
Make sure your distance is set for guys you actually could potentially see. Remember that major cities have suburbs, and most public transportation from the city to the suburbs is a pain in the butt to use. It will only get your hopes let down if you really like a guy you’re messaging but realize he is 30 miles away.
10) Don’t overthink your profile
My first profile description resembled more of my public Twitter account than my personal Instagram account. I wanted to impress the guys—after all, as any girl I would think, I was not any “typical girl” on J Swipe. Therefore, I wanted my profile so somehow convey that I was a strong, independent young woman. What I found, though, was that I was matching with the wrong guys. These guys thought they knew me based on this profile description of what I did—not who my character was.
After a few weeks, I did a mini test: I changed my profile to instead resemble something more casual. While my new description was a bit more basic, but at the end of day, I began to match with more guys. Consequently, the conversation became more genuine. I realized that these guys first learned my character before learning about what I did outside of my summer internship and classes during the school year. Messaging first?
I am not sure what the psychology is behind who messages who first. Is it the guy’s job? Is it the girl’s? What does society say? Frankly, it doesn’t matter. If a guy is super interested, he will message you first. And if a guy is shy, then maybe he won’t message you first. Regardless, if you are interested in a guy, play to your confidence and message him. If he is interested, he’ll respond. If not—go message another.
9) They never look like their pictures
They never do. ‘Nuff said. Snapchat is a better way to see what they really look like.
8) Don’t waste your time
There will be guys who write lewd, crude, disrespectful messages to you because they misinterpret something you wrote. These will be the messages that you will never want a parent to see. Block them. Disengage.
7) Don’t get your hopes up
I’ll admit that it’s always exciting when matching with an Israeli. It is extra exciting when he wants to go on a date with you. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I did not hit it off with the particular Israeli that seemed profile-perfect. He was an entrepreneur, and we had a bunch of mutual AIPAC friends on Facebook. It was clear that he was into me based on my first profile, the one that was more like my show-off Twitter public profile. During the “date,” the guy began to talk to me about drugs. I got high on clean oxygen when hiking; he got high on weed when hiking. To each their own.
6) The ‘And-You’ Factor
The And-You-Factor weeds out the selfish, self-centered guys. Time after time, this rule seems to find the gems. This rule applies after a guy answers your question about himself. After answering, does he ask “and what about you?” It is not your responsibility to feign interest and ask about him the whole time you are together nor is it your responsibility to maintain the conversation. If he is not asking you questions back to keep the conversation going, then I don’t suggest another date.
5) Treatment of the Waiter
You can always tell the true character of a person based on his or her treatment of certain people. For example, how does the guy treat the waiter taking your order or the busboy pouring more water into his glass? Pay attention. Bookend the first date
One of the most awkward dates I had was at the We Work in the financial district of the city. It was a gorgeous space, where they had free beer and inspiring decorations on each floor. Just walking around, I realized what I was missing out on in my own corporate office space a block away.
The mistake I learned on this date was to bookend a date. This means that prior to starting the date, set a limit so that it is not awkward if you want to end the date. Moreover, this is especially important if there is no clear ‘end point’ during the date. An ‘end point’ means a waiter bringing the check or the hour-long lunch break coming to an end. At We Work, there was no such destination since the guy asked me to meet him there to a, impress me, and b, leverage the free beer.
Therefore, when the conversation bore me, and I realized my values did not align with the stranger before me, I felt rude awkwardly looking at my watch. An hour had passed, and I wanted this to be over. But I didn’t know how to leave without being rude. If only I knew to bookend.
4) It’s okay to be a feminist and appreciate chivalry
With an intern salary — whether it is corporate or nonprofit — it can be nice when he pays for dinner or fro-yo or drinks. It also can be nice when he holds the door open for you, smiles, and shrugs saying “ladies first.”
As Emma Watson stated in March of 2015, feminism and chivalry are not mutually exclusive. Feminism is believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Bustle’s Lulu Chang sums it up perfectly: “Feminism does not stand at odds with chivalry, with general human decency, with kindness. … We do not have to lose to gain. We do not have to ask men to shut doors for us so that we can open them ourselves.”
3) Set Limits
I don’t watch much TV. But there is a key takeaway from an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” that has always stuck with me: nothing good ever happens after 2:00 a.m. Our decision-making processes are impaired after a night of heavy pre-gaming before the bars and clubs. The guys who messages you at 2am only wants a booty call, most likely, if he didn’t make plans with you at another time of day. Don’t let alcohol sway your judgement for the worse.
2) Consent is hot
According to the University of Michigan Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, “consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or says ‘yes’ to sexual activity with other persons.” Consent is not just for sex—it can be for anything. No guy is entitled, and you are not expected to do any sexual activity. Thus, if a guy goes down on you without asking for your permission, he is violating consent.
Furthermore, there is no benchmarking when it comes to dating. Whether it be the first, second, or fifth date, you are not obligated to do anything for or with the guy after the date. You call the shots. And the guy who tells you most girls do XYZ after the 123 date is the guy who is most definitely not an NJB.
1) The ones who say they are mensches are not
When swiping through the guys’ profiles in the app, each one will try to impress you with how “Jewish” and funny their profile is. There will be way too many jokes related to “you’re the lox to my bagel.” There also will be way too many guys calling themselves a mensch. Remember what your grandmother taught you: a mensch does not know he is one. One who thinks he is a mensch is not.
The author is a recent college graduate living in Chicago.