Dating apps don't give you a lot of space to introduce yourself. You've basically got a tweet-length box and a few pictures to make an impression on someone, knowing that they'll be judging you only on what you provide. It's like, "Hi, nice to meet you, I'm this sentence and these four pictures and nothing more." Sure, it's concise, it expedites the process and keeps things light, but it's also completely limiting.
It's impossible not to get a little neurotic over your dating profiles. It will make even the sanest and most lax person stress out. And if we're being honest, it's not about the app, and it's not about our potential dates — it's about having to define ourselves without the length of a memoir and a Hallmark movie to get all the points across. While we might be confident, well-rounded, professional young women, we're still learning about ourselves every day and learning about how complex we are. So creating an online dating profile forces us to judge ourselves in a way we're trying to unlearn how to do.
We all know by now that someone can be a die-hard country music fan but also practice Wicca and collect lizards and be a republican. We've already learned that of the identifiers and qualifiers we used when we were younger to stereotype people and fit them into pretty little boxes are unjust and inaccurate. And yet, creating a dating profile makes us regress and judge people by the things they do rather than the people they are. If you've ever felt overwhelmed by the process of creating an online dating profile, these are probably a few neurotic thoughts that have run through your mind, too.
Do I Actually Look Like This?
Just in the same way that we're scared of being catfished, we're scared of doing the catfishing. You want to pick a nice picture of yourself but at the same time you don't want to meet someone and watch their face fall as they realize you don't look like your picture. You will totally spend a lot of time stressing over which pictures are the most accurate representations of yourself.
Is This How A Friend Would Describe Me?
It's always good to run your profile by a friend. It can be hard to describe yourself because your ego is working both for and against you. If you can't imagine your friend saying these things about you, maybe reconsider. Trying to sound "cool" or "normal" is the fastest way to sound contrived and awkward.
What If Someone From Work Finds Me?
It might happen. It totally might happen and it will be awkward for a moment, until you remember that you're both on there. It takes two to Tinder. So once you get past the part where you're embarrassed to make eye contact for a day or two, you'll both be totally over it. It's not a big deal. Everyone dates. It's nothing to be ashamed of. With this is mind, be mindful of how you present yourself. Maybe don't pick that photo with the fat joint?
What Are My Standards?
When you start to online date, you suddenly have to start creating hard standards for yourself that you would otherwise never consider. Because there are so many people to get through, you have to create a system of standards for yourself. It might stress you out to figure it out. Whether it's neon sunglasses, a DJ job title or the ownership of a reptile, you'll quickly learn what you will and won't swipe right for.
What If I Don't Get Any Matches?
It's a fair fear. We often go back and forth between over-confidence and insecurity. But these apps have enough people on them by now that they're a fairly good representation of a whole society. You won't be everyone's cup of tea, just in the same way that you have preferences of your own. But you will find a match.
Am I Going To Get Murdered?
Yes, we all wonder every now and then if we're about to inspire the next murder case on Law & Order. We've been warned our whole lives about not meeting strangers online and now we're doing it on purpose. It's good to have a healthy dose of fear, just to keep your wits about you. But thinking everyone you meet is going to Patrick Bateman you is overkill. Pun intended.