FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Can Somebody Tell Me How Dating Works?

Hi everyone! I’m Drew and this is my first time hosting the Friday Open Thread. If you met me at a party we’d probably get past pleasantries pretty quickly. I’d like to say it’s because I’m a good listener but it’s possible I’m just that annoying Tavi Gevinson Twitter character who hates small talk.  Either way, hi, nice to meet you! Let’s talk about our personal lives!

I ended a three-and-a-half-year relationship back in February and so began three months of post-break up turmoil, excitement, and overall insanity. But now everything feels like it’s sort of leveling out and I’m realizing that I’m just… single? So, I’m asking: Can somebody tell me how dating works? Please?

I’m mostly joking (mostly!), but I do want to know how all of you approach dating. Do you online date? If you do which apps/sites do you use? What’s been your experience on them as queer people? If you don’t online date, how do you usually meet people? And, for everyone, what’s your dating style? How do you let people know that you like them? Do you tend to make first moves or do you wait for people to reach out to you? Do you enjoy the classic lesbian maybe-date or do you prefer more clarity going into a hangout?

I have questions!

Personally I’ve tried to start being more deliberate when I online date. My first few months on Tinder I used it like any other social media, compulsively swiping and checking. But I started feeling very bored with it and after a particularly bad date I deleted the app. I redownloaded it (classic!) but now I’m trying to only swipe right on people who I’d really, really be excited to match with. And to only open the app on occasion. I’m getting less ego boosts out of it, but hopefully it will waste less time and actually be useful.

I also generally prefer to be direct. I’ll play games with certain people, but for the most part if I’m interested I reach out and I text back quickly and I don’t worry about trying to seem aloof or anything. And I’ll go on one maybe-date with someone I meet in person, but if by the second time I’m still not sure I’ll just ask. New friends are good too and I’d rather know that’s what’s happening so I can adjust my expectations.

THAT SAID. I’m trying to figure out if my assertive approach to dating is true to me or if I just have muscle memory from years dating as a man! Part of me would love to be pursued and be swept off my feet and be kissed Lara in the locker room style. Anyone know how I can manifest this??

Also, I transitioned early in my last relationship so I’m dating for the first time as an out trans person. Which does present specific challenges! I don’t find it helpful, personally, to dwell too much on cis people who don’t date trans people (because trust me, there are plenty who do). But there are unique challenges (and joys maybe?) so if you’re trans I’d love to hear about your dating experiences that feel trans-specific!

Anyways, I need your help. Maybe you need my help. Let’s all hang out and give each other good and bad advice!

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 538 articles for us.


  1. I have a very good friend who last year got a bit drunk and said she wanted to try dating girls. She said nothing about it again for months until this week, when she asked me for some advice on how to do that. I wrote her a decently long email filled with some basics that I sent to her at 10am. By 6:30pm on a Wednesday she had a date set up with an absolute hottie. WHY DOES MY ADVICE NOT WORK THAT WELL FOR ME?

    • Wow story of my freakin life. Do you think there are ways you’re not taking your own advice or is it just bad luck/something else?

      I still have not figured this out myself, because I too am much better at helping friends than myself! It’s very annoying!

      • Well in hindsight, my friend is very hot, has a great, job, and an absolutely stunning apartment, and has the entirety of the SF queer scene to go through without a single ex, or ex of an ex to deal with. So perhaps it’s not THAT surprising that she immediately started killing it. But still!

        • Hahaha okay fair. lol

          Wait but also would you be open to sharing all or part of the advice you emailed?

          • It’s a bit long, but if this brings any help to anyone, please enjoy!


            Okay so first obvious caveat that I am just one person with one opinion and if you asked someone else, they’d probably have a different take but that said.

            Question 1: How do I know if a girl is into girls vs just friendly?

            That is the eternal question. There are certain things that you will start to pick up on as you get a little bit more knowledge about the community, and there are tells for when femme girls are into girls, but there aren’t any absolutes, and honestly I’m still wrong about it all the time. Basically the way you know if a super femme girl is into girls, is because she casually drops something like “Oh yeah, one time I went to Tahoe with my ex girlfriend, and we built a snowman”. The harder question actually becomes, does this cute girl who is into girls think I’m cute, or does she just want more gay friends? If I had the answer to figure out that question, I would write a best selling book and be a millionaire.

            Question 2: How do I make it clear I am into girls –
            The reverse of that, because you are super femme, you are going to just have to say it because everyone is going to be too nervous you’re straight to hit on you. Which is totally nervewracking, but also kind of fun! The way I always do it if I meet someone in the wild is just casually drop something I did on a date with a girl in the conversation, but we can have a brainstorming sesh about something that would work for you.

            As a side note, if you know someone is into girls, and you want them to be into you, you can hit on them! But you’ll probably have to do it in a little bit more of a direct way than you are used to. I think there can be kind of negative connotations sometimes when girls hit on guys, people can be judgmental about it. There is literally none of that when it comes to super femme girls hitting on other girls because everyone gets why you are doing it, and basically everyone thinks it’s hot. Genuinely, I was just talking about this last weekend about that “I am here to do this!” femme energy, when they are extremely determined to let you know they are in fact hitting on you. It’s a whole thing, everybody gets it, everybody appreciates it. But if that feels to intimidating to do right away, no worries!

            3) How do I meet girls
            – Dating apps. Basically all the dating apps have girls into girls on them. I would however put the swiping option as “girls” only because if you do girls and guys you’ll typically get one girl profile for like every ten guys, it’s annoying. You can toggle between the two pretty easily. If you do match with someone you like, don’t be afraid to just ask them out for a drink, or it is strongly possible you’ll just end up messaging for a week and then it drifts into nothing. Dating apps in you case are probably the best way to specifically get a little experience going on dates with girls, because it takes away the uncertainty. I usually use Bumble, but last summer I had great luck with it, and then I went back on a month ago and haven’t, so I don’t know if all the cool kids have moved on to something else?
            – Other ways. Do gay things! This is personally how I have the best success meeting girls, but I’m bad at dating apps so this might reverse for us. Jolene’s just opened in SF, the new lesbian bar. Unless things have drastically changed, Ships in the Night still happens in Oakland, and Mango should still be going on at El Rio. So if you want to just go and dance and maybe practice flirting with girls or make out on the dance floor in a very low stakes setting, that could be a good way!
            – There are also non drinking events that can be fun. There are all kinds of queer events in SF that you can go and meet people. That’s also a good way to make friends, because genuinely having other queer friends and feeling like a part of the community will help more than anything with any kind of imposter syndrome about it.

            Just for perspective here is how I have met girls that I have at some point hooked up with or dated.
            – A autostraddle (queer women’s website) SF holiday party meetup.
            – Volunteering for the same theater company
            – In an elevator for a different organization I was volunteering at
            – Bumble
            – A Taylor Swift themed 2000s night at a dance club.

            4. How do I not lead anyone on here without ruining the mood.

            Okay, so I would personally reframe how you are looking at this. If you go out on a date with a girl, especially if it’s a dating app, that date won’t tell you if you are into women or not. You’ll find out if you are into that one specific woman or not. That’s what a date is, to figure out if you won’t to see that person again. I’m definitely into girls, and I’ve gone on tons of first dates off apps where we had the chemistry of a wet noodle. You don’t owe anyone an attraction to them. If you go on a date and you aren’t into them, then you aren’t and that is totally fine! And I think if you take off that pressure of “this will tell me something important about myself!” you’ll have more fun, and you’ll figure out if smooshing faces is what you want to do with that particular person. I think it’s totally fine to be upfront that you haven’t really dated girls before, I wouldn’t however specifically say that “you aren’t sure if you are into girls or not” because that is going to come off really differently than the way you mean it.

            5. Bonus advice.
            I recommend reading Autostraddle. It’s a queer women’s website that has all kinds of great advice on sex and dating, and will also give you information about upcoming events, and it’s a good, low key way to kind of just find out the inside jokes, and community stereotypes, and just the general things that can make it a little bit intimidating to feel a part of the girls dating girls club. It also, if the time comes, has a pretty decent guide to how to have sex with a girl for the first time, because literally everyone freaks out about that.

            And last but not least!

            I’m super proud of you, it’s a big step to decide to do something like this for yourself when you have other, easier options and I genuinely think you are going to have a ton of fun. Dating girls is wonderful, and super irritating, and always hilarious, and whatever happens, I can’t wait to hear all about!


            P.S. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with like seventeen different ways to make direct eye contact and touch in a way that is both flirty and appropriate, or write a guide on how to spot a bisexual in the wild, but there are tons of weird tiny details we can talk about if you want them, but you don’t really need them need them, they are just fun. And honestly, you’ll probably start dating and within five months have a totally different opinion on things, and you’ll be telling me how I’m doing it wrong!

    • That’s all SUCH good advice! This especially: “If you go out on a date with a girl, especially if it’s a dating app, that date won’t tell you if you are into women or not. You’ll find out if you are into that one specific woman or not. That’s what a date is, to figure out if you won’t to see that person again.”

      Also shoutout Autostraddle!

      Can I ask why you use Bumble? I always thought of that just as the “guys ask first” dating app so it didn’t seem relevant for queer dating. What’s been your experience on it?

      • My not great answer to that is, I signed up for it, and I had better luck on it than on Tindr or Her (does that app still even exist?) so I kept using! It is very possible however that I am doing it wrong, and that is not the app to be on. But it’s actually the “girls ask first” dating app, so I think I generally ended up meeting a lot of queer women who date men and women, and they found a balance on that one.

        • Yes “girls ask first”! That’s what I meant. And that makes total sense re: meeting queer women who date men.

          Her does still exist, but in my experience it is not… good.

  2. I have almost never “dated” in the usual sense of meeting up with a near-stranger to get to know them for the purposes of potential romance/sexytimes, but I fully agree that directness is the best approach. One of the big reasons I have found dating so daunting is because I feel like I don’t understand all the hidden rules of the games people play. I want open earnestness and clear communication! Other people might not find that intriguing or seductive or whatever, but me and those people are probably not good fits anyway.

    • I think open earnestness and clear communication can be super seductive if done right!

      I generally have little patience for people who play games, but since I’m not looking for anything serious right now, lately I’ve left myself a bit more open to people who are aloof or elusive. I’ve noticed over time my interest doesn’t increase. I get bored and want to move on.

      But I’m a Capricorn so what do I know!

  3. This only gets more difficult once you’re 45+. Everyone is either married (with kids!) already, or they’re bitter and jaded. I’ve been trying to find a girlfriend for literally years with no success.

    • Ugh I’m sorry! I would have thought queer people 45+ would be less settled down than straight people. But I’m probably naive!

    • Yes, same! A lot of dating apps are tumbleweeds for over 40 for just matching with anyone, let alone something more. It doesn’t help that I am also on the bitter & jaded side myself

      • I also have this suspicion that a lot of people under 40 have their settings so that they don’t even see people over 40, but it’s purely speculation on my part

  4. About a year and half ago, I started to use okc for the first time, for about 6 months I met up with at least one if not two people a month. Idk people actually responded to messages and made plans. Most didn’t turn into second “dates” but I felt good about at least trying. At the end of that time, I met someone who is now one of my best friends. I don’t think our first meeting and the new few after were dates at all, it was more getting to know each other, then I checked in on feelings and it was a platonic situation. But so far best outcome of online dating for me!!! In the last year, I haven’t met with anyone, there were periods of time I wasn’t using any apps but also no one really responds to messages it seems or will at first but not long enough to actually make a plan to meet. I don’t get it! Dating is confusing. I think I’ll forever be falling into semi-romantic friendships and navigating friend crushes cause that seems to be the close form of intimacy I can find.

    • People are sooo bad at replying to messages. And sending messages. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but what confuses me is when people who ARE interested are bad at messaging. For me whether I message back/message a lot/whatever is so tied to my level of interest. If I’m actually into someone why would I wait a week to respond??

  5. Informal poll: those of you who have either in the past convinced one of your close friends to take things to the next level, or vice versa, have been convinced by a close friend to take a chance on getting involved romantically….how’d it all go down? What ultimately convinced you to take that leap? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • My answers are different depending on whether you’re like secretly in love with the friend or you just want to mostly stay friends but have sex.

      If you’re in love with them/consumed with feelings for them then generally I’d say just tell them (if they’re available and you think there’s a chance). In my experience letting these feelings fester hurts your friendship and your availability for other people to enter your life.

      If you just want to hook up with a friend or maybe casually see where it could go then I’d increase the flirting more and more and see how receptive they are. I’ve found after a little while it’s very easy for the “are you attracted to me/have you ever considered us hooking up/etc” conversation to flirtatiously come up.

    • I was friends with my now-girlfriend for a few months before we started dating. Basically both of us took gradual, tiny steps toward being in a romantic situation with each other. At first we were only hanging out in group situations… then we started platonically snuggling on the couch during movie nights… then we started hanging out just the two of us… then we started snuggling “platonically” just the two of us (!!!)… by which point I was pretty sure that I had romantic feelings for her and she for me. I asked if I could kiss her and she said yes! 💖 And that’s how it happened 😊

    • I did this! She is still my girlfriend, four years later. We moved in together at the start of this year. So I can say it went down fairly well, and I feel like it is a pleasant experience doing the getting to know each other stuff without having the “is this working? do we have chemistry? should we organise another date?” stuff hanging over you.

      Full disclosure: it was in fact neither of us who convinced the other to take the next step. We were becoming…increasingly intimate, and then an acquaintance asked her if we were a couple, and she messaged me like, “I realised I wasn’t sure what to say.”
      I was like, “You can say yes next time if you like?”

  6. For me online dating has been an utter hellscape. I am currently holding out hope that I am invited to a queer friend’s wedding and will there meet the woman of my dreams, she will be wearing a jumpsuit and ankle boots, and we will have a meet cute in a gazebo over hummus. The prior sentence is possibly the gayest thing I have ever written in my life.

    • I am so excited for you to return to this thread in a year or whatever and be like “Last weekend I was invited to a queer friend’s wedding and met the woman of my dreams! She was wearing a jumpsuit and ankle boots and we were in a gazebo and both tried to dip carrots in hummus at the same time!!”

  7. I never had any real success at finding people I actually connect with over dating apps. I met my now girlfriend and one of my now good friends because we all joined a lesbian book club that someone organized through Autostraddle! 💖

    • It is really hard, as a bi, non-monogamous person. Dating apps are all men (I am hardly ever into men), unicorn hunters (please, no), monogamous queers, or the conversation just dies for no apparent reason! I am also not in my 20s anymore, which seems to not be helping.

    • Hey Drew, i recently started following you and i love your writing.

      I broke up w my gf of several years + came out as trans in 2017. tl;dr relatable content.

      I have dated/hooked up w some people who i met as friends, others on dating apps, and others via random connections. Most of the dating has been in what young people these days call ‘situationships-‘ lasts a few months, never hits that killing eve ‘id drown you in a bathtub bae’ peak.

      I used to get in a lot of serious relationships as a cis guy. There was no bathtub drowning bc straight people don’t understand romance. But I was hot unavailable stuff (i.e. the fucking worst 0/10 WOULD NOT DATE) in the closet, and now I’m just an honest, vulnerable, and facetious tranny.

      In my experience of dating mostly cis women in lesbian spaces here are my unordered thoughts:

      – Seriously consider dating t4t, if you have that community around you. Trans people are less likely to bring boxes to put you in to the table, and are much more likely to see you as ‘datable.’ I am kind of like a cat so i like boxes at first, but ultimately not into it. P.s. this is also advice for myself because most of my network is cis and i have not leaned into trans romance like i should bc transphobia. Dear diary…

      – Cis people are less likely to see you as datable unless they are comfortable with you, in my experience. I always wanted at first to walk into a bar and get the “Who is she?” glances that are so hyped on gay tv. However, in my experience people are less like that and more like “….??” when i walk into a space. I generally assume I will have to do some being friendly + demonstrating i am a good trans person tm to be treated like someone worth pursuing. Once i am part of the group, then people get interested w all of that “who is she?” energy. tl;dr transphobia, delayed gratification.

      – Directness is awesome: I am an Aries (title of my memior). And, in my experience I have overwhelmed people and missed some *beautiful* tension by being too direct. I think it has been important for me to be less direct than i would have been in straight (or even straight adjacent) spaces when queer dating. Just learning this lesson, anf it has been great!

      – I hate dating apps, but i also hate texting

      Anyway, love your writing!

      • This is all amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. For some reason I didn’t receive a notification about this comment until today.

        I would love to date more trans people! It was actually one of the main things I wanted to do when my ex and I opened up our relationship. But I’ve yet to really do that. So agreed, definitely something I should be seeking out more.

        It is sooo validating to read that. I don’t feel like being trans is going to prevent me from dating all sorts of people, but I have wondered if it makes casual hook ups harder. What you describe about walking into a room definitely resonates. I sometimes feel like people don’t initially know what to do with me, even if later they express interest.

        I admire your journey of indirectness and will consider dabbling in it myself. haha

        Anyway, thanks for this comment and thank you for reading my writing!! <3

  8. I don’t really have any idea how to properly date online. It’s all married couples from what I am seeing looking for a 3rd or married woman trying to explore her women options, all under wlw. I’d as agender/non-binary and sometimes trans woman. So, for some reason, dating sites ask trans people do you want to be seen under men or women(I don’t fully get why these apps let trans men be under women but that’s beside the point). I am not certain if I want to go on HRT or something, so I look like a dude with lipstick and they/them pin(the purple autostraddle one). I’ve had a few women ask me why I ID as such and why I can’t just be content, as gnc and others were cis gay men acting like OKC is grindr. I don’t date men(and men aligned people). I’ve lost plans cause I didn’t know what certain terms meant over text or cause I said can’t make it at that time(this happend two days ago). Also, dating apps that are aimed specifically at the whole lgbtq community or trans people, like Thurst dating lack users, even in a big metro area like SoCal/LA and are a bit buggy cause they don’t have VC funding like Tinder or grindr did. Ugh

    How’s everyone’s week going? Found out this week my bff+ is moving back to her home town and that bummed me little cause she’s just one of my favs. But, also happy cause she gets to be with her family and friends she’s known for a decade plus. It also means avoiding some of our songs for a while. It also doesn’t help we are seeing a cold May gray so far. Like it’s spring in SoCal, I should not be in a jacket. I should be in short sleeves and doing sundress Sundays(if I can find one that works with my figure).

    I spent my Sunday at Cuties and sat hung out with people I regularly hang out with, plus a really cute woman in a boy scout outfit. It was well needed as I had some lovely tea and very good cookies. I also took a walk around my neighboorhood as I had to run an errand. I only have a flower image to share this week.

    Thank you for reading and viewing my post. Have a positive weekend friends!

    • And what a flower it is.
      The corridor of wild flowers on the beach was very dreamy, but this one I feel like I touch it.

    • That is so frustrating that people are putting that pressure on you regarding labels. It’s been really disappointing to find out how many queer people aren’t that QUEER if that makes sense. Or just don’t have the experience or education beyond binaries/mainstream queerness.

      It’s frustrating that there isn’t one properly queer dating app that could be well funded and work well and we could all just start using! I think a lot of people are frustrated with the heteronormative format of something like Tinder. Like imagine how much happier we’d all be if you could say whether you were a unicorn or not!! Oof.

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend and commend you for being able to recognize it’s ultimately good for her. That’s such a difficult thing to do. And yeah what’s with the sweater weather!

      That is a gorgeous flower. Thank you for sharing!

      • Yes it is frustrating and the app that are there, like HER are a mess, cause the goal was for it to be for lgbtq women and then terfs/transphones ruined it for trans and nb women, and sex worker. Then trans men were not happy they couldn’t use the app HER and from there I heard it went down hill a bit. One review in the app store said she felt too old to use it cause all these young women in their early 20s would be hitting her up for money. Seriously, not cool. And from other trans women and non-binary people I’ve heard with grindr you can specifically search for trans people and really only get messages by trans people now, but I really don’t want to be on an app mainly marketed towards gbtq men, but at least it’s an option now.

  9. Looking through an older(?) more cynical lens I don’t think I’ve ever dated just sought someone I felt I could trust to have sexual relations with, but I’m not aromantic just passionate.
    If I desire someone I tell them and proceed from there. I’m “if I’m hungry enough to eat a whole pizza, I’ll eat a whole pizza” kind of person which I’m told makes me easy to fall in love with.

    Totally unrelated Por Una Cabeza just happens to be stuck in my head earworm style.
    The song for Americans(I don’t know about the rest of the world) is most known from 3 movies and in its instrumental form
    #1 is that tango scene from Scent of a Woman
    #2 Schindler’s List
    #3 the end of True Lies

    The song has lyrics and the lyrics are about the gamble of love using horse race betting as literature device word I cannot remember because my brain is futilely trying to sing along and figure out how to dance solo with this song at the same time please stop brain.

    por una cabeza as in by a head

  10. This is truly all I want to talk about at the moment, so perfect open thread topic timing!

    I’ve been single since July and just last month went on my first date. I’ve downloaded and deleted all the apps many times. My current favorite is TINDER of all places because I find the most masc ppl are there and that’s what I’m into, as a tomboy femme nonbinary person. Everywhere else seems femme heavy.

    I’m uhh a pretty blunt person and I’m done playing games and not being sure of stuff. So I went on two dates with someone recently, initiated the whole thing, made all the moves, and asked about intentions and told them I liked them and they said they liked me too. After the first date it was fine but after the second date I’m feeling a little spooked (ha get it, bc ghosting :’) ) but I truly connected with them, and I’m not trying to spend time on people I don’t connect with OR people who can’t deal with my upfront nature. That’s kind of my mantra for now. If I have to guess if you like me I’m moving on because I don’t have the time or energy to waste on worrying about that.

    That being said I’m also v lonely at times and starved for human touch! Both things can be true. I just don’t want the latter to interfere with the former so I’m holding off on physical stuff for now.


    • Do you mind me asking how long it’s been since the second date with that person?

      Ghosting is baffling to me. I accidentally swiped right on someone and then they messaged me and I decided ignoring it was the nicest approach and I feel SO GUILTY. The idea of actually going out with someone (twice!) and then just vanishing gives me such anxiety. lol

      I think a big challenge for me has been realizing people aren’t as direct as me and trying to decide what kind of communication styles different from mine I’m open to. Because someone doesn’t have to approach dating exactly like my ideal, but as you said they have to be okay with my approach.

      Also ugh I feel that last bit. It’s easy to have all these like smart, mature ideas about dating and what’s best for you in theory, but then some nights you just feel shitty.

      • I’m don’t mind! It’s been two weeks since the last date and the last time we spoke. I texted them earlier this week but heard nothing so I’m wrapping them up for now in my mind. They also had A LOT going on in their lives so I can imagine dating might not be their priority. But how would I know 🙃🙃🙃

        I understand communication styles are different, and I’m so down to learn someone else’s and show them mine as well! But there has to be some *actual* communication for that to happen, right?

        I can forgive ghosting if I’ve never met someone or been talking to them for very long but after two dates I would categorize it as Shitty Behavior™️ And something I would only do if I felt in danger or something extreme.

        • I’ve definitely tried to adopt that attitude as well. Like if I text someone and hear nothing I try to let it go and move on. If they reach back out to me then great, but it’s too exhausting to put energy into someone you barely know who isn’t responsive. But also part of that for me is not having strict rules. If I really want to text them down the line then fine I’ll try again. But in between not spending time thinking about them.

          And I totally agree. It’s one thing if you’re just casually talking on Tinder. But after two dates… definitely shitty.

  11. All the yes. Just got out of a 4.5 year relationship. The struggle is real figuring out how to date and when to start.

    • Waiting so long to start helped me! I had to basically learn about myself as an adult and figure out what I really want in my love life. Still figuring it out as I start meeting people and trying so hard to be less socially anxious around new people. I’m hoping Pride brings some opportunities to meet new people!

  12. OMG, I have my own list of very specific challenges when it comes to dating since accessibility of apps, and orienting myself to new spaces is always a challenge. Also, many dating apps are very visually driven, which is okay, however, it’s nice if people write at least a little something about themselves! I am so slight of stature that most potential swipers might just assume I’m lying about my age. I have had success meeting people through friends, but that narrows the pool considerably. It’s just hard, and I’m a little sad I’m still single, LOL!

    • Have you found that some of the apps are more accessible than others? Or that some of the apps attract people who actually write more than others?

    • I am literally in the same situation as you re apps not always being accessible/too visual. I find Her has the most accessible interface, but that is basically just pictures and possibly a one-liner – makes things hard! Can I ask which apps you use?

  13. i use tinder and instagram. if i match with someone or think they’re cute, i’ll send a message that says hello and i think they’re cute, and then something specific about their profile or a picture.

    then we chat for a bit and if i’m feeling like it’s good banter, i’ll ask if they want to meet up for a drink or whatever they want to do.

    be honest. be communicative (having good grammar and spelling doesn’t necessarily mean you’re communicating well!). tell them about your intentions with dating. if you want to kiss them, ask first.

    good luck, you rad babes

  14. My approach to dating is to like women from afar and never tell them. It is, unsurprisingly, not a successful approach.

  15. I am also pretty terrible at dating, but I think a pretty good part of it is that I really don’t experience interest unless I also feel a strong sense of connection? (Yes, quite likely demisexual, but not quite committed to that label yet either.) Basically, I end up crushing on friends who have long since decided that nothing is going to happen… and often end up oblivious to any sort of subtle signal of interest. Some exceptions: now that I think about it, most of my relationships have started with me being rather overtly pursued romantically or outright asked out, so…

    The few times that things have happened have all been in person, hanging out, having that moment of realization that I am actually crushing on another person, checking to see if it is mutual before I have any chance of getting over-invested in that crush, and going from there. Small problem: for me at least this requires almost too much self-awareness and fails terribly when I don’t run into someone regularly-ish.

    • I relate to this! I also think I’m demi, but haven’t committed to the label. I no longer date (monogamous and married for 18 years) but when I did I was pretty oblivious and just crushed on friends.

      Interestingly (at least to me) I’m bi and my demi-ness seems to vary by gender. With men I’m all about the emotional connection and chemistry – I have no physical type, no celebrity crushes, no interest in strangers. But with women, while I still seem to need the emotional connection, it’s slightly less important because I do have a physical type and I get the occasional celebrity crush. I have never, ever gone to a movie based on how a male actor looked in the trailer but one glimpse of Scarlett Johannson looking hot in jeans and a t-shirt had me shelling out money to see Lucy (it was a pretty terrible movie but I have no regrets).

  16. i’m considering going to a lesbian-centric party for the first time in my life tonight, but i’m in a new city and i don’t know anyone to go with. on the other hand, that in and of itself might be a very good reason to go and meet people…how does one socialize without resorting to “hummus. thoughts?” as an icebreaker???


      As someone who has been in a new city going to queer things where I know no one all I’ll say is it will probably be awkward and if you accept that and just like make the effort and talk to people, it’s so worth it. Not promising every night is great, but I do think it’s really worth the attempt.

      My thing is usually seeing who else is by themself and then go up to them and be like Hi I’m Drew or Hi I’m alone you’re alone want to talk? haha

      • thank you for the pep talk!!! honestly embracing awkwardness is just how i need to live my life at this point

        • So make sure you wear a jumpsuit and ankle boots, ’cause from your opening-line plans it sounds like you and Ása might be made for each other ;)

  17. Y’all I’m having a neurotypical quizler moment

    Why is directness an “assertive” approach? Especially in regards to romance and/or sex.
    Or has assertive unfortunately taken on a different context for someone who hears that word when people are trying to be nice, but it’s clearly an effort.

    • I’d say directness (like saying “wanna make out”) feels more assertive than indirectness (like saying “i like your shoes” when you really mean “wanna make out”) because you are asserting your wants and actively creating a situation where the person will have to say yes or no directly back.

    • As a little tomboy my mother taught me there are three things. 1 aggressive – that’s being pointlessly nasty, 2 passive – that’s letting people roll over you and 3 assertive – that’s saying what you want in a polite but clear way ie being direct without being a prick about it.

      I’d say it’s better for an aspie to be direct. Even maybe for anyone to be direct, that way consent gets given etc and it’s not all reading between the lines.

  18. I am naturally very shy so I use online dating apps in order to establish some connection before meeting people. This is difficult because these are usually pretty visual so not super compatible with my accessibility needs – but I manage! I also like these because I am extremely straight passing so it’s the only way to signal my queerness – in fact I’ve come out to multiple friends because we’ve matched on Her.
    I’m still young enough that I can write anonymous crush posts on our uni’s missed connections page (but I’ve only done this once and they remain blissfully unaware so doesn’t really work).
    So in a nutshell, idk how to date pls send help

  19. I approach dating by not doing it. Especially right now as I’m a jobless recent graduate (as of yesterday!) and I’m not sure if I’ll be coming back to Colorado or moving to California.

  20. I need to figure out how to date. It would have been nice if I’d just lucked into a relatoinship with someones I was friends with first, but realistically I’m going to need a more deliberate approach, which probably means dating apps? We’ve talked previously on here about how making friends as an adult is hard, but what about making specifically queer female friends who might at least know other queer women who are looking? I don’t know, I feel so far behind because of being trans and taking a really long time to find something resembling a stable job/career.

    • I definitely relate to feeling behind due to being trans, but I think it’s really helpful to remember that like 80% of queer people trans or cis feel behind and that one of the great parts about being queer is timelines matter so much less. People come out at all sorts of times and have different experiences at all sorts of ages. Not to say different ages don’t present different challenges, but I do think it’s amazing how quickly things can shift when you’re queer.

      When I met this one friend of mine I was so intimidated by her because she seemed like this crazy cool experienced dyke and then I found out she’d come out like less than a year earlier and cut all her hair off and changed her fashion even more recently! It was so funny to realize that in the span of a year her entire vibe AND level of experience had totally shifted. And I was like… oh cool mine can too.

      But yeah making friends IS hard and it’s especially hard when it feels so tied to dating possibilities as well.

    • I completely understand feeling behind due to being trans. I feel behind in so many ways as I’m 38, just got my bachelor’s degree (and am now trying to start a new career with said degree), and I’ve been on 6 dates in my life. Maybe someday soon I’ll feel secure enough to date again, but I can commiserate with you on feeling behind.

  21. I’m currently stuck in the muck with dating of all sorts. I’ve tried the Big 3 apps (tinder, okc, her) resulting in several convos that fizzled into nothing and exactly one date. Honestly I think it’s mostly because I’m pretty bad at it. I’m very particular about liking people and I rarely message first, out of a combination of insecurity and unhelpful romanticism (won’t someone do me the honor of sweeping me off my feet via tinder message???). As for irl meet-cutes, I really just have no idea where or how to meet people, and between full time work and grad school I’m lacking the time and energy to commit to finding a book club to join or whatever. There’s one gay bar in town and I don’t love the vibe (looooots of bachelorette parties) and I barely drink so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    This is all to say that I’m going to Berlin in a few weeks, and I have this foolhardy dream of hitting up a lesbian bar while I’m there and finding some strong beautiful German woman to fall in love with. Any advice on that front or general dating-for-homebodies tips would be well appreciated!

    • Oh my God I am so excited for you to go to Berlin. Even if you don’t have the total fantasy romantic whirlwind I’ve found traveling to be so helpful in shaking up single life. I know personally I feel more emboldened to talk to people and be open to experiences because it feels so removed from my daily life. And my only advice would be to really force yourself to go out and talk to people and push through anxiety, insecurity, etc. I always feel a bit like I’m playing a character when I’m traveling and it’s a helpful way to frame myself to let me be a bit more adventurous.

      I share the desire to be swept off my feet via Tinder message. I just find the app so frustrating when I wait around for that. People message so rarely. And sometimes I’ll message and feel like I’m swept in other ways like they ask for my number first or they ask me out first. So maybe it’s worth it to message more?

      I don’t know. Yesterday someone IRL emphatically insisted I start using Bumble and claimed that if I’m not using Bumble it shouldn’t even count it as queer online dating! They were very persuasive. So maybe this is our answer. lol

    • Oh hey, how exciting! I live in Berlin and would be happy to be your wingperson when you visit! :) Hit me up on Instagram if you want @deraluce

  22. I’ve been eating up the replies to this thread. I’ve been single for a while after having a partner for ten years (that I met when I was 17) and I feel like I’m drowning trying to figure most of this out now that I’m 28 and have no experience relative to my age.

    All I’ve learned from my attempts is that I’m too exhausted these days for games and chasing, I just want peeps to be up front with me about what they want. Seems like most of us do (so why the hell are we so bad at it)…

    • Did you see this tweet from @poisonivykin:

      lesbians are just like “wish I had a gf to share my freshly baked vegan bread with

  • It definitely stops feeling worth it after the 5th time of someone being totally full of it and was really just playing around. I don’t know, I don’t feel like I know enough to have a real opinion. But that tweet is spot on haha.

  • I haven’t the slightest idea how to date, but I’m pretty sure I know how I’ll someday find my future wife. I’ll be at a wedding, the bride will throw the bouquet, I’ll reach up to catch them and get smacked in the face by a mess of flowers. They will conveniently rebound off my face into the arms of a gorgeous woman, and that will be that.

    • I’m too used to ig – where is my like button for this??

      (a year later cos I just followed the link to this)

  • Recently started getting active on the apps… but it really hasn’t gone anywhere. I’ve had a couple conversations, so far no meet-ups. It makes me wonder whether people ever really date from these things! It doesn’t help that I’m in a relatively small city, but still, it’s slow going! How do other people do it??

    I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should just give up on the apps and do gay dating the old fashioned way–furtive glances across a room, tension building for decades until one of us confesses our love to the other on her deathbed or something else equally dramatic. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • In my experience it’s really taken so many swipes, so many matches, so many conversations, to finally lead to meeting up with someone. So I can totally imagine being in a small city would make it even more difficult.

      Hey nothing is hotter than tension building for decades and deathbed confessions!! (Genuine shoutout to furtive glances though.)

  • Got a new buzz cut. Got compliments from everyone except my Catholic ‘friend’. He’s a bloke and old. I seriously just watch football with him. Don’t care what he thinks of my looks. But he needs to learn to keep his gob shut.

    He wasn’t actually rude but he was just being really passive aggressive and said ‘well as long as you like it’…

  • Also, I really don’t know. I feel like nobody would want an autistic football fanatic who is short and butch so I don’t bother. I’m OK being single but I’d be OK if something casual came along, too.

    • This is corny as fuck but I truly, deeply believe not only is there someone out there for everybody, but there are endless people out there for everybody. That said I certainly understand it does not often feel that way!

      • Yeah, I might have been having a tough time because my ‘friend’ was being judgey yesterday about me looking butch and the guy next to us was being homophobic about men rather than just saying wimps.

        Maybe if I try some more gay places I’ll at least feel like I fit in rather than feeling weird. Trouble is, I feel like those are just dating places and I don’t feel ready for that yet.

        • That makes total sense. Some days I’m like “ugh why do I feel so ugly” and then I’m like “oh I spent all day yesterday with my family who criticized and misgendered me!” Maybe those things are connected! haha

          I think that’s a great idea to be in more gay places even if it not explicitly looking for dating. And I get that it can feel like all queer places are made for dating/hooking up but I’ve found that they don’t have to be. Hell, I’ve gone to places for dating/hooking up and instead found friends/community. lol

  • See, this is something I’ve *really* been struggling with lately. I’ve been single again for about 3 months now and I want to get back into a relationship, but I have no freaking idea how. I’m ruling out dating apps because I feel like those aren’t going to give me the types of connections I want (and also because I’m worried about being judged as a transgender lesbian)… but even living in a big city like Chicago, I don’t know at all where to go to start meeting people, and I don’t know how to start looking for those sorts of places. With all this, I half wonder sometimes if there’s any hope at all for me in this whole dating thing… it’s rough.

    • I totally respect it if you don’t want to use dating apps. I will say, as someone who was very against dating apps pre-transition (aka the last time I was single), I found them to be pretty life-changing when I first used them a few months ago. There is so much messaging out there about trans people not being desirable, it’s basically impossible not to internalize some of that. And going on dating apps really made meeting people/people wanting me feel possible. I’m not saying they’re perfect, and it might take a bit of time, but there’s something about the immediacy of being like “Oh wow these handful of people looked at me and read a bit about me and said yes!”

      I think now I’m probably meeting people I have a deeper connection with in person (at queer events, through friends, etc.), but I’m only able to approach those situations with the confidence I have because of the ego boost I got from the apps.

      But again just my two cents! And the apps are awful in lots of ways and can make you feel insecure as many days as they can make you feel confident. It’s just the hopelessness I think they can cure. They remind you that people you’re interested in ARE out there and some of those people ARE interested in you too.

  • Okay I’m not single but when I was on all the apps I had some reference to Autostraddle in there to try to meet people who are into the type of queer culture Autostraddle cultivates, which worked a little bit but not as much as I hoped! I know $$$ is a thing but has Autostraddle ever considered creating a dating app?

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