Tinder tips: Chanel Contos shares her dating red flags

Consent activist Chanel Contos has shared her top red flags to look out for on a Tinder date.

Off the back of the book launch for her debut novel, Consent Laid Bare, the 25-year-old has partnered with the dating app to help educate users on healthy dating practices.

School of Swipe is an in-app crash course on all things modern dating created in partnership with Ms Contos and young men’s respectful relationships coach Max Radcliffe.

It includes an enhanced safety guide and a Don’t Be An Ick syllabus that offers expert advice on how to handle rejection and bad behaviours.

One in five Aussies admit they didn’t handle it well the last time they were rejected, according to recent Tinder research.

Mr Radcliffe said he worked with his clients to understand why they might have an intense emotional reaction to rejection. He said for many people, it resulted from a lack of emotional fulfilment outside of their romantic experiences.

“People get really obsessed with it, they hinge a lot of their happiness on whether they get a match, whether someone talks to them or not,” he said.

“But if that’s the whole source of your happiness, that can actually trigger some really bad reactions, especially in men.

For women, the reality is that “bad reactions” to rejection often carry serious consequences, ranging from verbal abuse to stalking and worse.

“Unfortunately, a lot of men’s violence can be because of a sort of rejection or damaged ego,” Ms Contos.

She praised Tinder for making strides to prioritise consent education as a way to promote healthier positive intimacy and prevent sexual violence.

The tech giant launched its Dating Safety Guide earlier this year. It included a range of new features such as the block feature and video verification.

The app also uses artificial intelligence to flag potentially harmful language with a pop-up so you can quickly report or block matches in-app.

Chanel’s top red flags to watch out for

1. How do they react to a NO

Seeing how someone handles rejection in small ways can be a great way to test the waters before the relationship become more serious.

A friend of Ms Contos’ once told her that she ordered a plate of olives on dates just to see if her date offered her one.

When they do, she politely declines and then waits to see how they react to the rejection.

If they become very forceful and refuse to accept “no” for an answer about something so insignificant, it’s a good sign they might be inclined to react intensely to a bigger or more personal rejection.

2. Do they actively ask for consent

Rather than waiting until you’re in the bedroom to start checking for consent, Ms Contos suggests looking for signs the person is setting healthy boundaries from the get-go.

“It’s also a red flag if they don’t enact certain forms of consent. If they kiss you, did they ask for it?” she said.

“Did you say you wanted to go home separately and they got really angry about it.

“I think those are kind of telltale signs of like how a person will be in other aspects of their life and a more committed relationship.”

3. Love bombing

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of someone dousing you with affection, gifts and wanting to hang out all the time, but sometimes this behaviour can indicate a subtle red flag.

“Especially if you have come out of a long-term relationship, you can be quite used to very overt forms of affection and it can seem normal,” Ms Contos said.

“But like, take a step back, and ask yourself, ‘How long have we actually known each other, how much do they actually know about me?’ and that can be like a massive red flag.”

4. Trying to force you to move faster than you’d like

Whether it be to move the conversation off the app, meet up in person or even get private information off you sooner than you’d like about where you live or what gym you go to, if a potential date is moving faster than you’re comfortable with, you should feel empowered to let them know and slow it do to your pace.

Ms Contos said that there was always the block function available on Tinder to quickly remove yourself from an uncomfortable conversation.

Chanel Contos’ debut book, Consent Laid Bare, is out now in Australia.

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