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I was scrolling through the dating app “Hinge” the other night and had the realization that I treat dating apps like the grocery store.
First of all, I’m only there because people have told me it’s the only place to shop. I disagree, but I go anywhere because my dating game isn’t strong these days.
I throw a bunch of stuff in my cart that looks “good for me,” sheepishly add in a couple of “guilty pleasures,” then head to check out.
And that’s where things go horribly wrong.
I start to spin. I think about all the work involved in taking what I just threw into my cart and making a meal out of it. Making a meal takes time I’m not sure I have. I don’t even really like to cook. What if I go through all the work of preparing and cooking the damn thing and then I don’t even want to eat it?
I abandon the cart and run.
All those guilty treats left unexplored and I’m back to square one…wondering if I’m missing out on something and simultaneously telling myself I’m not that hungry anyway.
Am I the only one? Do dating apps not freak anyone else out?
I just can’t get behind them. I have dozens of friends who have met online. I know others who have met their wives/husbands through them. But I can’t seem to convince myself they’re right for me.
First off, there’s the whole thing I have about being judged by my “cover.” Men are assessing whether I’m worth a swipe by looking at my age, carefully curated pictures, and what kind of vibe I put off solely based on whatever witty captions I’ve come up with for the online prompts: “I’ll brag about you to my friends if (fill in the blank) and “Two truths and a lie about me.”
I’m rolling my eyes as I write this.
Secondly, I’m horrible at making small talk with people I don’t know. Once I match with someone, I don’t know where to go after exchanging the usual banter over what we each do for work, commenting on each other’s profile pics, and asking what both of us are doing on this app anyway.
This is where I fail to close the deal.
Should the guy be bold enough to ask me to meet up after we’ve gotten to know each other a bit, and I respond that I’d love to, there is never any follow-through.
So the question is: should we be on the dating apps at all if we aren’t really looking to meet someone?
If you’re considering going online to meet someone or are currently on a dating app but not making any effort to meet up in person, these are five questions you should be asking yourself:
1. Do I really want to be dating? This is the most basic question to ask yourself. It would seem obvious that well yea, of course I want to be dating if I put myself on a dating app. But do you really want it? Are you online out of boredom or loneliness? Maybe like me, you feel a bit pressured by well-meaning friends who think you should put yourself out there more. Knowing if you’re ready to date or even want to should be the first question you ask yourself.
2. What am I really looking for? Are you searching for a long-term relationship or just looking for sex? Maybe you just want the occasional weekend date or someone to hang out with every so often. Whatever you’re looking for it’s worth it to tailor your dating profile so it communicates that. There is nothing wrong with answering the prompt, “You should not go out with me if…” with “you’re looking for something serious.”
3. Do I have time to invest in getting to know someone? Online dating takes time. You’ve got to look through profiles, swipe right, swipe left, match up, get to know someone through texting, and then be available to meet up with the person. Most times we’re talking to multiple people on an app, which takes up even more time. Really know if you have the time/interest in investing in all this. If not, it may not be the right time to be on a dating app.
4. Am I on here for the right reasons? If you’re online trying to get over someone you just broke up with or are looking for a revenge f*ck, you should keep in mind that there are people online that are ready to be in a relationship and looking for something more serious. Many people on dating apps invest a lot of time and energy trying to match with someone who wants the same things they do, so be mindful of this if you’re simply DTF. There’s another app for that called Tinder!
5. Am I committed to actually dating someone I meet online? This seems like a given if we’ve chosen to put ourselves online, but I can’t tell you how many people I know who use dating apps for casual chats/sexting and never have any intention of going out on an actual date. Others of us just like window shopping with no intention of buying. Again, knowing what you’re looking for can help you figure out whether you’re ready to be online or it’s just not for you.
As for me, I’ve realized I’m ready to date, but meeting someone through an app just isn’t my thing. I’m done abandoning perfectly good shopping carts and think I might be better off hanging out in front of a food truck, socializing with people in line, and seeing if I get lucky that way!