How to Stop Hating Online Dating
Spoiler — I met my boyfriend on Bumble. There was no rom-com storyline of how we met. We liked each other’s faces … We matched … We got a drink … We liked each other’s personalities … We kept seeing each other … Things escalated … And here we are.
I was never one of those people that detested online dating. I truly believed it could work! I have a lot of friends that are very happily partnered because of an app. I just felt like … I don’t know, it wasn’t for me. I meet a lot of people naturally … I’m always out … And every strong connection I had prior to HP was someone I had met “in the wild.” In addition to that, I always felt like I never presented well on dating apps. Though I like how I look, I recognize I look different. I’m not white. I have a weird name. And my ethnicity has always been a little bit of an insecurity for me in the dating world. And the reality is, we all have our insecurities … And online dating shines a big, bright, piercing light on them. Whether it’s your height, your weight, your income, your looks, your hairline, your build, your teeth … Online dating can make even the most beautiful, coolest of people feel undeserving, undesirable, and unwanted.
But after my dating hiatus (you can read all about that here and here), I decided to give online dating another shot … And I’m happy I did. I don’t know if I would have ever met HP otherwise. We live on opposite sides of the city, have very different schedules, and linger in different hoods. If it wasn’t for that little app that makes us all question our worth and sanity, I don’t know if our paths would have ever crossed.
When I met HP, neither of us were actually looking for anything serious. He had recently come out of a longterm relationship and I was having far too much fun getting lost on mountains and shutting down bars with my girlfriends. But then we met … And after our second date, both of us deleted the apps, and things have been … Pretty promising :)
So how do you go (and how did I go) from hating online dating to actually having a blast with it? Well let me tell you.
- Let go of the rom-com you’ve built in your head. This is the first and most important step. This may be more of a female thing but I still have so many friends that will say things like “I just feel like I’m going to meet my soulmate at __insert trashy bar__” or “Maybe we’ll reach for the same avocado at Whole Foods and fall in love”. Not to say these scenarios aren’t possible. Anything is possible. Let’s just consider them the exception rather than the rule. Remember — The way you meet someone doesn’t have to be the most romantic part of the storyline. Watch all the Hallmark movies your heart desires … Just don’t let them dictate your perception of reality.
- Be interesting. Take a moment and ask yourself if YOU think your life is interesting and fulfilling. Be honest. If the answer is no, why would anyone else think it is? If all you’re doing is working and going to bars on weekends, do more. Do better. Learn something new … Build something … Take some solo trips … Be so interested in your own life that other people can’t help but be a little curious.
- Be interested. This is a big one. After my first date with HP, he texted me saying that he enjoyed the conversation and that I “asked really good questions”. Little did he know I was in a life coaching training program at the time and the power of good questioning was front and center that week :) Most of us tend to view dating as a chore. I definitely did pre-hiatus. I would go out and expect someone to blow me away with their charm and charisma and cool life stories. And if they didn’t (which was often the case), I was out and onto the next. But the thing is, everyone is interesting if you give them the time, space, and opportunity to share their story. Be less judgmental and more curious and I promise every conversation will be so much richer.
- Recruit your hype crew. The week before I broke my dating hiatus and re-entered the “arena”, I was visiting one of my girlfriends who had just moved to California. She had gotten out of a relationship earlier in the year and was having the time of her life being newly single and dating again. As I listened to her experiences and heard her and her other single friends swapping stories and comparing notes, I couldn’t help but feel a little inspired and motivated to try again. They were genuinely having fun … And I wanted that experience too. Moral of the story — Stop talking to your cynical friends about dating and talk to people who will hype you up and encourage your journey. It makes the whole process so much more enjoyable.
- Text less. Have just enough conversation to confirm that the person isn’t a psychopath and go out for a drink or coffee or whatever your first date preference is immediately. The more time you spend texting before the actual date, the more opportunities you have to find something wrong with them. We’ve all had that experience where we match with someone we think is cool … And then we text for too long … And then they say something stupid … And then we cancel the date and write them off completely. Text less, date more. And if you go on the date and they still say a bunch of stupid things in person, at least you have a funny story to share with your hype crew.
- Take the pressure off. If you haven’t read the book “It’s Just a F**cking Date”, I can’t recommend it enough. First off, it’s hilarious. Second, there’s some good wisdom in there. The reality is that most dates won’t turn into anything … Take the pressure off yourself and the other person and let your intention simply be to have a good time and learn about a new human. If it doesn’t work out with that person, it’s OKAY. It just means you’re one step closer to finding the person it does work out with. My Godfather once told me — “You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” Kiss away, my friends! But just kiss. Don’t give it up so easily … We’ll talk about that in another post.
- Take a break … But not for too long. If you’re unenthusiastic about dating, then don’t do it! There’s no point in wasting your time and wasting someone else’s time if you’re just going to show up and be miserable. Instead, focus on Step 2 and get interested in your own life again. Just don’t stay out of the arena for too long … There’s a lot of good people out there and you deserve to find one.
If you’re reading this … And if you’re one of those people that swore off online dating after a bad experience or don’t think it’s for you for whatever other reason … I hope you give it another chance. You never know who might stumble into your life and change it in the best possible way.
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