OK, so you want to try online dating, but you can't get over the stigma. You're worried that once you start, you won't be able to stop, and you'll be on a one way train to "let's pretend we didn't meet online," town, your biggest fear. Some of your friends have had luck, others have lived out their worst nightmares. You have no idea how you'll fare but you can't seem to decide if you're ready to take that next step and create your own profile.
Well, guess what? You're more concerned with the stigma than everyone else is. Online dating is so popular now, people are asking themselves how people ever met in person in the first place. We're all busy, and we're all spread out, and online dating allows us to connect to people we might otherwise never meet. And if you think you're too much of a romantic for online dating, consider this: The people you meet naturally in the world are only the people you happen to cross paths with. Online dating opens up the pond to the sea. You now have the potential to meet your perfect match, someone you might have never had the chance to cross paths with. What's more romantic than that?
OK, now that you're over the stigma, here are a few things that you should take into consideration before you take the plunge:
People Are Not Their Answers
On some sites, you're asked to fill out a questionnaire. The answers are then used as part of an algorithm to help you find someone who had similar answers. But sometimes our best matches are our opposites and most of the time, people are impossible to peg with a survey. Be opened-minded about people who answer differently than you.
You Can Be A Little Bit Country And A Little Bit Rock And Roll
We all judge each other based on our likes. It's just a natural thing that happens. But in the same way that you can love KUWTK just as much as you love 60 Minutes, your potential match can have the same kinds of dualities. Don't write people off.
Be A Detective
Don't research the hell out of your date before you meet, but do check them out just enough to be safe. You want to make sure that your date works at the place they say they do (LinkedIn), goes by the name they say they do, and has friends to vet their existence (Facebook). You want to make sure their photo is actually theirs (reverse Google Image search). And you want to make sure that they don't have any serious allegations against them (Google News). Maybe that's overkill, but it doesn't hurt to be safe, especially if you're skeptical about online dating. What you don't want to do is spend too much time looking through their pictures and reading about their work. Let them tell you about themselves in their own time.
Have A Thick Skin
Sometimes, you're just not someone's cup of tea, and you need to be OK with that. Some people who use online dating sites have hyper specific standards that they seek, and you just might be an inch too tall, a shade of blond too light or not enough of a science fiction fanatic as your online players are looking for. Not to mention, the distance a screen can make people feel OK treating people in a way they might not in person. Expect to be ignored, ghosted, and harassed. Be prepared to handle it all, no matter how absurd.
Don't Expect Long-Term Commitment
Lots of people sign up to online dating sights under false pretenses. If you're looking for a relationship, be explicit about that, and know that although casual sex is a big theme within these apps, it's not everything. The one thing to bear in mind as you're navigating these apps? Don't make any assumptions. When in doubt, ask! Also, feel free to use your profile as a space to let people know what you're looking for. It's OK to be specific.
Try Multiple Outlets
OK, so you tried Tinder and it wasn't for you. Maybe it's too impersonal, maybe it's too appearance based. Don't give up. Maybe Match or OKCupid are a better fit for you. Try at least three different sites before you give up on online dating. There are SO many out there.
Don't Obsess Over Meet Cutes
So you don't want to tell your future children that mommy and daddy met on a dating app. I totally get it, but times are changing. In another decade, the stigma will be gone and your kids won't care. But if it really bothers you to think that you might someone you really care about online, then don't do it. Keep your eyes open for love in the real world — that's fine, too.
Don't Give Up On Organic Dating
If online dating goes really well for you, power to you! But don't give up on meeting people the old-fashioned way. It's good to stay in the habit of being friendly and it's important for the mind, body and soul to be social, off-line. So even if you're killing it on Tinder, make sure you strike up a conversation with a friendly face at the bar, too.
Images: New Line Cinema; Giphy