Dating. I’m 21 and at this point in my life, my dating record is sad, if not tragic. When I went to college, I was confronted with the world of Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, but I was not prepared. Online dating has become the preferred method of my generation, with many of my friends meeting their longtime partners on apps. On TV, you see guys going up to girls in bars and introducing themselves. In real life, many people meet on an app, then meet up at a bar. Apps have taken over how we meet people and how we begin our relationships. Online dating is not for everyone, but I don’t think that it’s for me. As I’m in Paris, I decided maybe online dating would help me meet new people. While it was fun at the beginning, after a few rough experiences, I’ve stopped online dating.
Let me provide some context about where it went wrong. In February, I went on a date that I thought went really well. It was a simple first date, nothing too big or important, but thinking that you’re hitting it off is always a good feeling, then ghosting comes into play. Let me quickly define ghosting for all those who don’t know.
Hopefully, reading the definition, you’re rolling your eyes. It’s a very trivial and childish form of ending relationships, yet it has become increasingly popular. With the rise of online dating, people can simply disappear, often leaving the person on the other end of the phone wondering to themselves what they did wrong. It’s is a hurtful tactic of ending a relationship and for someone who doesn’t have the confidence of Beyoncé, it really knocked me down a peg.
While I didn’t spend two weeks mourning the possibility of the relationship by eating my favorite Ben & Jerry’s, I did a lot of soul-searching. I’ve always been a dating skeptic, my friends will all agree that I’m not the most trusting person. I became wary and uneasy about dating other men after being ghosted. A system that was supposed to make dating easier failed me and I lost trust in it. The system failed me. It made me feel like I wasn’t even worthy of a “hey, I don’t like you like that, bye” text. When did this become the norm?
I haven’t been an active participant in the dating pool very long. I didn’t date in high school. Meaning no dates to prom/homecoming/school functions/etc.. I wasn’t the ugly duckling, I was just quiet and stayed to myself. I didn’t have the normal experience, which stunted my ability to date openly when dropped into the pool of college dating. While you may be reading and saying, you’re gorgeous, you don’t need male validation, it never hurts, when in good intentions. Online dating is a sea full of validation, some good and bad. While there are some who have poor intentions, the majority are just looking to meet someone. For sex, for a date, for a one night stand, for a forever relationship.
Do you know how many people think online dating is hard? Just search online dating on Twitter. There’s everything from memes to full-blown articles about how everyone HATES online dating.Don’t get me wrong, apps like Tinder can be great. I know many people who use online dating to great success, but there is a large population with a hatred for the apps. People use Facetune to change how they look or hide their personality to make someone like them. Nothing wrong with being perfect. There is a problem in changing how you look in order to deceive someone to make them like you more. It’s a game of faces and aesthetics, which allows for so many preconceived notions to come into play. Online dating has made it possible to discard someone in 2 seconds and with the swipe of a thumb. While I don’t plan on going into how online dating and race are intertwined, NPR, The Odyssey, and Glamour have all written about this issue. Online dating is a game, but a game of preference.
Everyone says that my generation doesn’t know how to talk to each other. They aren’t wrong. We don’t know how to have conversations and introduce ourselves in person, so we online date to make it easier. Does it help? Sometimes. Does it make people warier of each other and their intentions? For sure. While you also have to prepare for vulgar, sexist messages, online dating removes a lot of the in-person aspect of dating. While this is good at the beginning, you can’t hide behind a computer forever. Personally, I know that I don’t have the confidence to go up to a guy and talk to them, unless I’m really really drunk. Sorry, mom. Luckily, this does not happen very often. I get this advice quite often from friends who tell me to go to a bar and find someone new after getting stood up. Impossible. Not impossible, but improbable. It takes me forever to agree to go out on a date as I hesitate to question if someone likes me for me or for a one-night stand.
Online dating has not helped my confidence and I don’t think it will, which is why I got off of the apps. The hesitation around dating has not diminished and for anyone who feels the same, I think you’ll agree when I say online dating exacerbates these feelings. You have to have a certain level of confidence to use online dating apps. Apps use AI and algorithms to show us who they think we will like. Apps aren’t people, apps aren’t real. We have to get comfortable being uncomfortable, whether that means facing our fears or deleting the apps.
For two and a half months after that one date, I deleted all the apps. No swiping left or right, no editing cute bios, nada. I stopped online dating cold turkey. While I did not go on a single date throughout that period, I got to focus on me. I focused on myself and made sure that I was in the right headspace to date. Earlier this month, I got back on the apps and just ended a something before it started. I did manage to end things without ghosting *cough*. Jokes aside, ghosting is dumb, don’t do it. Subsequently, all online dating apps have been deleted off my phone. Online dating hasn’t come to my dating rescue and I’m doubtful it ever will. Quitting online dating apps has allowed me to figure out what I want out of a relationship. Through this knowledge, I can continue in my non-app related dating life and grow into a better dater, hopefully with more success in the future.