Online dating remains an ever-growing, popular way to find love. Unfortunately, some people online have less than romantic intentions.
Yes, I'm referring to internet trolls. Fundamental essentials folks who are simply online to lurk, harass and waste everyone's time. Trolls are by far certainly one of – if not the – biggest disadvantage to online dating. They're annoying, disruptive be going to extreme lengths to be hurtful and cause psychological duress. Just ask the girl who unfortunately experienced a totally obnoxious man who swiped right just to call her fat. Ugh.
It was once thought that men were way more prone to troll online than women. However, the data paint another picture. Research conducted recently from Lifehacker asked 357 Tinder users to fill out a questionnaire about their online dating behavior and asked “if they had trolled people on the app, sent any shock comments for a laugh, or maybe they enjoyed 'griefing' other people who connect to the app.” Their research found that women troll online dating services just as frequently as men. Yikes.
Sadly, as long as the web is about there's going to be trolls. We might as well learn how to handle all of them with grace, right?
Here are a few things to bear in mind with regards to online dating trolls.
1. It isn't in regards to you.
Remember back in the day when your parents told you the reason playground bullies act the way they do is they feel below par about themselves? Well, the same applies here. Trolls are simply playground bullies with laptops, smartphones and online dating accounts. By using derogatory language to hurt, offend and/or cause you stress, their behavior says more about them than it does in regards to you.
In fact, a 2022 study found that people with higher levels of sadism and psychopathy were more likely to participate in online trolling behavior, with sadism being the strongest predictor. Lifehacker also says that, “In addition, these internet trolls are likely to be motivated by negative social rewards, meaning they're reinforced by creating a disruptive social environment.” Uh, yeah, therefore it is totally not in regards to you.
2. Don't feed the trolls.
While there are lots of creative ways to on-site visit trolls, remember that as mentioned above, they're often looking to create an anti-social environment. Should you return their vitriol by engaging in a name calling war, you're essentially giving them exactly what they need. If you're going to respond to a troll, have a page in the book from the ladies who was fat shamed by that obnoxious dude and take the high road. Keep your interactions civil and to the point (even when they're not prepared to do the same). Additionally, there are the option of just not engaging at all. If you sense you're handling a troll it's within your rights to simply ignore them.
3. Report them.
If you think someone is being inappropriate, report them. It's a well known fact within my small hometown that a guy I went to high-school with has been banned from multiple dating apps for sending inappropriate messages and/or trolling women online (#truestory). By letting trolls realize that we're not prepared to participate in their shenanigans, we are able to hopefully create some positive momentum in the internet dating space.
4. Use a paid internet dating service.
As Lifehacker notes, “Results of our study show that internet trolls may troll like a dysfunctional impulse, and cost-free dating apps offer the perfect chance to get it done.” So if you're seeking to minimize your interactions with nasty trolls, you may want to consider actually paying for a web-based dating service. The financial commitment may be enough to deter those impulsive trolls who're just there to torment other users.