Chances are we have all been there. Whether by pure curiosity, in spirit of Hilary Duff’s music video, or from that one friend who swears it’s all the rage. What your girlfriends probably don’t tell you about Tinder, or other online match making apps like Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel, is that it’s not such a daunting mystery after all. In fact the idea of talking to strangers isn’t too out there at all from the traditional.
First things first, what or who are you looking for out of this experience? Like all dating situations, always approach the situation with an open mind. Do not go in expecting a guy you talk to, wanting the same things as you. That being said, if you do want something a bit more serious or to meet someone who is looking for a potential relationship then keep two rules in mind: do not over edit yourself, and do not expect, be open.
Over editing is so something everyone does in offline and online dating. The constant thought process of what the other person is thinking about you is an ever present and loud narrative in the forefront of the mind. The reality of dating offline or online though is the person you’re going to find that spark with is going to be someone who shares those weird quirks that you try your hardest to edit out. Think more about what you want to find in the other person and less about what the other person is going to see in you. Don’t overthink your profile, put up the photos you and your friends like the most, and do not try too hard. As much as all singles hate to be told this: Just be yourself.
The next rule is something that can also be applied to offline dating but it is crucial to online dating. When using Tinder or other online dating apps, it’s really easy to get swipe happy. We’re all guilt of swiping left on every profile that doesn’t look like our dream guy. As much as it is entertaining sitting around with your girlfriends looking at each other’s matches there is something that none of your girlfriends will tell you:
They all swipe right on a lot more fellas than they will admit to.
Yes, it’s all fun and games when you are talking about how many matches you got and looking at all the cuties you’re messaging with, but just like offline dating you cannot go off of looks alone. After all, part of the fun of dating is seeing who you catch that spark with, and it will always surprise you who that person may turn out to be. It may be with the guy who can always make you laugh, the guy who you can stay up till 3:00am talking about absolutely everything with, or a guy that could even end up becoming your best friend. Swipe right for a shot at conversation and chemistry, not just your idea of the perfect guy. Your perfect guy at the end of the day will be nothing you expected and more than you ever imagined.
Like offline dating, your online dating mindset shouldn’t be much different. If you think about it your goals and concerns about dating online should be rather the same as meeting a guy on a night out at a bar, coffee shop, or the club. You will never be able to tell who someone is based on your first impression of them whether it’s a profile, or a conversation at the bar. The common complaint about Tinder or online dating apps is that ‘everyone’s there to just looking to hook up’ or ‘they could be talking to other girls’, but the truth is the same concerns apply just as much to offline dating.
Just because a guy approaches you on a night out doesn’t mean he didn’t do the same to a girl at the bar down the street. The truth is you are never going to know what you’re getting yourself into offline or online but that’s dating. The fear of the unknown or the possibly weird and awkward date should not keep you from venturing into the world of possibilities.
Pick up your phone, keep your chin up, and your mind open to the possibility of meeting a different definition of ‘your perfect guy’. Often we imagine the ideal date being someone who is everything you expected you wanted in a guy wrapped up and edited into a pretty package.
Like the lovely and fictional, Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Somewhere out there is another little freak who will love us and understand us and kiss our three heads and make it all better.” This could not be more true when it comes to online and offline dating. You just need to know who you looking for, and that’s someone who you can be your absolute unedited self with.