Single and Ready to Mi-ldly Freak Out

With online dating becoming more and more commonplace, and with my love life being completely non-existent for the past 3 years or so, I decided to test the waters and join a dating app.

At first I was highly reluctant. I consider myself to be quite introverted and shy, and starting conversations with complete strangers has always been a challenge. In addition, being a young woman and exposing myself to an entire city full of single guys sounded not only intimidating, but also dangerous. Hundreds of questions crowded my mind: What if he just likes every girl he sees? What if he’s a stalker? Or a serial killer? Or both? But the most important question I asked myself:

“Am I ready for this?”

As someone who’s extremely introverted, online dating had never crossed my mind. If anything, I stigmatized it. The idea of just meeting someone through an app instead of meeting them in person seemed so foreign, and a little sketchy. When you meet in person it’s easier to notice details like how they carry themselves or how they act around you and others. Five photos are less don’t have the same effect. Not to mention that many apps are generally used for one night stands and casual flings.

Needless to say, it took a lot of time until I finally decided to take the chance. I had already asked some friends about their opinions on online dating, and most of them said that it doesn’t hurt to try. Awkwardness wouldn’t be a huge problem, especially when living in NYC where the likelihood of running into someone after a disaster date is slim to none. There also aren’t any great expectations of commitment since the other person is just a stranger.

Nevertheless, it IS an intimidating process. In the first 3 minutes of my online dating adventure I started freaking out and proceeded to swipe left for every single guy I saw, even the ones I was mildly attracted to. My newfound courage was immediately replaced with regret, and I kept telling myself that this was a mistake.

But then that regret was replaced by nerves and excitement as I started getting a few matches and even received a message, which led to a casual but pleasant conversation. Though my fears and concerns were not completely eradicated, I was at least calmer than before. And with some more time I became more comfortable with the idea of putting myself out there.

I can’t say that I’m 100% comfortable with dating apps, as it is still a very new experience for me. However, I can say that my initial perceptions of it have changed. Instead of seeing them as tools that simply feed our hookup culture and kill “true love,” I try to view them as love adapting into our era. Some may want one night of intimacy while others may want a long-term relationship. No matter what it is users may want, these apps provide them opportunities for companionship and maybe even “finding the one.” Like anything it’s mostly what you make of it. So if you have been thinking about trying out a dating app but are uncertain, all I can say is be safe about it, but don’t be afraid to take the chance.

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