Frustrated with online dating? Tired of being ghosted and/or having to ghost others? Fed up with all the lacklustre connections? Happily committed but curious about the world of online dating/secretly love reading TinderNightmare stories and can’t get enough?! Welcome, you’ve come to the right place.
You are now reading my latest attempt of keeping myself sane post dates in the hopes that I won’t have to resort to looking up old Miss Cleo videos to get advice on my love life (if you don’t know who Miss Cleo is you’re too young for this blog bro….if you’re still not sure if you’re too young, and didn’t get the “too young bro” reference, then you’re definitely too young). Now, I’ve been in and out of the dating game for some time now and have learnt a lot during that time. Unfortunately I, like many others, become frustrated when I find myself back at the starting line. In the past I would take time to step back from dating altogether, and then proceed to spend the next 6 months convincing myself to get back in to the game. Ultimately I’ve come to realize that this approach is ineffective (no shit, Sherlock). It means I’m closing myself off to possibilities, and if I’m closed off, I won’t be receptive to what might be coming my way (how’s that for a Hallmark card). In other words the purpose of this blog is to channel my frustrations (and hopefully that of others) so that we can remain open to possibilities. The goal here is to find true love, in a world where catching feelings is the equivalent to the plague, yet we all somehow have a secret list of #baegoals we hope to achieve.
Throughout my dating journey, I have used various dating apps. Tinder, Match, eHarmony, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, you name it, I’ve probably tried it. Dating apps are a double-edged sword. A bitter-sweet experience. Our most useful tool and yet our biggest problem. Dating apps makes meeting people easy. Too easy. Just a few swipes, and I get to talk to someone new, who also swiped right on me, which means they also think I’m cute! Hooray for ego boosts! Talking to someone new is always exciting – especially when you’re still feeling the effects of the ego boost. Suddenly you’re desirable, witty, charming, the most interesting person, and so is the person you’re talking to! Time to start scratching at the surface to find out if there’s a deeper connection there, but wait, there’s a new match! Now you have someone new to talk to. Forget the rapport you’ve built with that first person, it’s irrelevant, because there’s someone newer and more exciting to talk to! Time to start scratching the surface again! Hark! New matches! New surfaces to scratch! Scratch, scratch new match, I’m coming for your heart! Time to drop that cheesy pick-up line I heard on the radio and wait for a reply.
Are you getting the picture yet? Can you envision the cycle? Maybe I should just draw it out… Nah, you’re an adult, use your imagination. It’s important to note that this is a two way street. The people you’re talking to are also doing the same thing. Now you’re asking yourself, so what does this mean? Why do I care? Who the fuck is this person and why am I still reading the shitty blog of someone who’s too lazy to draw a picture for me?
It means we’ve developed the habit of shallow conversations and interactions. We’ve grown so accustomed to only ever scratching the surface, and wading through the shallow end, that we don’t know how to go deeper when we need to (not that kind of deep, you pervert). Have you ever been on a date scrambling to think of things to talk about in order to fill the awkward silence? Ever asked yourself what the fuck people in relationships talk about all day? Seriously. What the actual fuck do couples talk about all day? I see my brother texting his girlfriend all the time. ALL.THE.TIME. HOW DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY TO EACH OTHER?! What could have possibly happened in the last 2 minutes between your text messages that you felt the need to articulate it in yet another text message?! I’m out here texting people about the fucking weather like I’m some sort of fucking expert. You want to know what’s next in my arsenal of topics?! The fucking traffic on my drive home and how “good” my day was.
Speaking of texting, it also doesn’t help that we’re a generation of texters and communicating on our own time. We would rather text than talk to someone on the phone. Talking on the phone is awkward, and God forbid they don’t answer when you call. What if you have to leave a voicemail?! Even in my professional life I need to rehearse what I might have to leave on a voicemail so that I’m not cringing for an hour afterwards, and even then I fuck it up and I’m left questioning my life choices. Texting is easier, I can think about what I want to say and there are fewer inhibitions. There’s a degree of anonymity. I don’t have to deal with any immediate repercussions or reaction. Confessing secrets to a screen is more comforting than voicing them out-loud to a person. It’s also easier to have engaging conversations when you have time to think about what you want to say before having to commit to it. In the end it means when we finally do meet, it’s awkward. Suddenly the screen buffer is gone and we’re no longer strangers. We’re grasping at topics, being forced to respond in real-time, can’t google things to sound smarter, or refer back to your social media profiles (because we’re also all huge fucking creepers). Now I’m that jackass on the date filling up the awkward silence saying “thats cool….coolcoolcooliocool…,” until I can think of something else to say.
What was once engaging and exciting via text message suddenly fizzles out in person. Granted, things can fizzle out for a number of reasons: there was no real connection, the person gives you a weird vibe, they might turn out to not be as nice/ cute/ tall/ funny/ interesting as you thought, or you weren’t even that interested in the person to begin with because you have a few other matches on the go that you’re scratching at, and really you just thought, “YOLO, why not, let’s see where this match goes,” but really you’re more interested in tinder match #53 – he has the most adorable puppy and if you’re good he might just let you play with it and pet it (I’m talking about an actual puppy, perverts). Either way we’re back at square one, swiping, scratching, talking about the weather, swiping some more, talking about how “good” our day was, trying to swim deeper but ultimately bailing for new waters while still in the shallow end, all in the pursuit of the elusive “it” (not the clown, I swear).
Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Dating sucks. Dating is hard enough with or without dating apps. I’m also here to tell you that dating apps are not your friend. They end up becoming something you use when you’re bored, and the more you use them while bored the deeper you will fall into the never-ending cycle of surface scratching, and the more elusive “it” will become.
So buckle up young grasshopper, I’m your Sensei, and I’m about to drop some dating truth bombs.
P.s. follow me on Instagram @the.dating.diary or Twitter @thedatingdiaryj