"Dating is hard" is something I hear all the time. And I get it. Meeting a new person, trying to get through small talk, and hoping to make a lasting connection can be extremely daunting and scary. But we do it to find our person — the one we're meant to be with and who makes us want to be better. So all the other stuff — the awkward beginnings, the swiping left and right, the bad dates — is worth it, right?
In theory, dating apps seem like the perfect solution to help with not only finding the one, but also finding the "perfect" one. You can choose whatever physical qualities and values you look for and swipe until you find it. However, I think they've made it even harder to find someone, let alone date them.
It's easy to match with a lot of people, but it's even easier to keep swiping for a "better" option rather than focusing on one person.
Yes, they provide lots of options for you to choose from, and it allows you to vet a person before actually having to go out with them, but sometimes, too many choices can be a bad thing. I personally find myself getting bored with people I match with and vice versa. It's easy to match with a lot of people and start talking to them, but it's even easier to keep swiping for an even "better" option rather than focusing on one person and trying to build something with them.
The first date I ever went on was with a guy I met through OkCupid, and I thought it went really well for a first date. We talked for almost three hours, flirting back and forth with one another. I didn't mind that he didn't kiss me at the end of it, and I started to think that dating apps maybe weren't as bad as I thought. That is until he unmatched and ghosted me without explanation. It really messed with my self-esteem for awhile, but I eventually realized that this was part of dating in the age of apps. We can be with someone great now, but the possibility that someone better could be out there can be thrilling to some. Only, it's detrimental in the long run. Nobody should ever settle, but always looking for more can make you miss out on something (or someone) that's right in front of you.
I think a lot about the fact that I'm almost 24 years old and have only gone on that one real date. It makes me afraid that I'm destined to be alone. Growing up, I was never the girl guys thought to ask out. They would ask me to help them ask out my friends and that was it. I always thought I would really start to date in college and meet the love of my life, like my parents did. I was raised to be independent and comfortable in my own skin without the validation of other people, but I still couldn't help but dream about finally meeting my person in college. But the reality is I went through all four years without going on any dates because, like a lot of others, I didn't take risks. I missed out on connecting with some really great people because I wanted to find someone perfect, when the truth is that nobody's perfect.
When you're face to face with someone, yeah, you might be attracted to their physical qualities, but the emotional connection you build with that person, whether it's instant or over time, is something no dating app can replicate. There's something thrilling and exciting about meeting a new person for the first time without any expectations or thoughts of the other 12 people you matched with that day. Sometimes I feel like dating apps discourage us from taking those risks — saying hi to someone in a coffee shop, asking for directions on the train, or just jumping right in and asking someone out because they caught your eye — because people are so buried in their phones. But are we really living if we don't take a leap of faith once in awhile?
Dating apps are great for a lot of people. I know people who have found their person because of them. But I just wish sometimes that dating wasn't so consumed by them, because human connections — at least the ones I wish to have — can't be manufactured by technology, no matter how advanced we're able to develop it.