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Dating trends: whelming is the narcissistic app behaviour we love to hate, here’s how to deal with it

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Megan Murray
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Another day, another millennial dating app trend – but could whelming be the worst one yet?

In the digital dating age it’s easy to feel disposable. Just a swipe away is another person, another profile, another chance at meeting someone. It means that when we do make a connection with someone it can feel less special or we feel less appreciated. Even worse is if this person makes you feel that they’re about to spend another 10 minutes flicking through an app, to see who else is out there.

In the Stylist office we call the problem the BBD: bigger, better deal. It’s when dating app users aren’t satisfied with finding one match that works, but are always holding out for someone ‘better’.

But if this is the problem with our dating habits, the symptom in which it presents itself is described as whelming.

Whelming, essentially, is when a dating app user has (by their standards, anyway) a lot of matches and therefore doesn’t have time to respond to everyone, or takes a while to continue a conversation. 

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You might know someone like this. We certainly do; one digital writer in the Stylist office, groaning with recognition, says: “My housemate does this all the time. He’s always bragging about how many matches he has, so many in fact, that he says he can’t reply to them all. Sigh.”

You might have had your suspicions already that someone you’re speaking to isn’t really invested and is slowing down communication to make for the rest of their avalanche (eye roll) of matches, but what makes whelming particularly terrible is when said person actually tells you this is the situation.

Yup, you read that right. A whelmer is likely to say something like: “Sorry for the late reply, I’ve just got so many matches I haven’t got time to reply to everyone.”

Our advice? Un-match them, immediately. We spoke to an expert at dating app Bumble, who shared their thoughts on what to do if you virtually meet a whelmer, and they shared our sentiments.

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Naomi Walkland, associate director, EMEA marketing at Bumble, says: “Whelming matches is something that we would encourage our users to avoid. If someone has taken the time to message you it’s kind to make them feel respected and avoid mentioning other matches to them as everyone deserves to feel special during their dating journey.

“If you do find yourself becoming fatigued with conversations, we have a handy snooze feature that will pause all of your match conversations until you are in a more positive frame of mind to reply. Equally, if you are experiencing whelming yourself, try not to be too disheartened or take it personally.”

So, if you spot a whelmer in your midst you should know that, however many matches they say they have, they clearly don’t deserve the one they have with you.

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Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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