Dating apps should be a lifesaver for people like me, homebodies who rarely leave the house and have a hard time meeting people. I’m never going to take a trip to the club and bump into someone while dancing. I’m never going to order a drink for a stranger across the bar. Dating apps give me a chance to interact with people who spark my interest — which should make dating easier.
Except it does not change much. Not really. I might swipe right on someone who has swiped right on me. I might start (or at least continue) a cute conversation over the attached messenger. I might even gather up the courage to swap phone numbers so we can talk without the app.
However, I’m still a homebody. I’m still nervous around new people. It doesn’t matter how comfortable I become with someone over the phone — because I am probably going to find an excuse to avoid meeting up with them in person.
When I use dating apps, the ‘relationship’ normally doesn’t get passed the texting phase. I get too nervous about what might happen on our first official date. I overthink. I jump to the worst case scenario. I worry we will have nothing to talk about face-to-face. I worry they will find me unattractive in person. I worry they will stand me up. I worry they will try to move too fast.
I psych myself out by considering every angle, every potential scenario, and end up missing out on the opportunity to get to know someone who could have been good for me.
Dating apps should make the dating process a little easier. They should make me feel comfortable because there isn’t any eye contact, there isn’t any rush to respond right away, there isn’t any pressure. I should be relieved the other person cannot see my blushing face or hear the stutter in my voice.
Unfortunately, I have a knack for creating problems where there aren’t any. Dating apps give me the time and the tools to overanalyze every little thing. I have the time to write out a reply ten times before figuring out which one to send. I have the time to reread replies and bios, trying to figure out whether there are any secret hints scattered throughout. I have the time to search the background of pictures, keeping an eye out for red flags. Instead of listening to my gut, I will spend too much time dissecting the person on the other side of the screen — even though I am probably reading them all wrong.
Dating apps are supposed to be easier, more comfortable, and more convenient than meeting someone the traditional way, but both ways are embarrassing and awkward for me. Whether I am flirting with someone over the phone or face-to-face for the first time, I am still the same person. A person who has a hard time with relationships. A person who has a hard time overcoming her fears and opening her heart.