(Here is a song for you to listen to while reading this: This Modern Love, by Bloc Party)
Yesyes, my instagram post to go with this is of bananas* but if you read my statement, bananas have many uses! Such as helping to get rid of cramps and also for sex ed purposes because who hasn’t seen something where there is a banana and a condom in a sex ed class in real life/on TV? Both of these things are useful in navigating through the world of modern dating because we all get cramps and we should all wrap it up.
SO. Let’s break the stigma that is around the embarrassment of online dating. We all do it. We all pretend we don’t do it. But here’s the down low, in Coffee Meets Bagel you can see the stats section shows you how many of YOUR friends are using the app and I 100% do not believe CMB’s “average” statistic it gives as a comparison when seeing how many people I know that are supposedly actively using the app.
30 vs 88?! Are you kidding me?? I try to keep my Facebook friend count low, I don’t add people randomly that I met just once, I can actively remember everyone on my friend list and why/how I know them. Seeing that there are 88 of my friends who are equally in the dating struggle life but keeping it hushhush is a bit shocking. You know why we all keep it hushhush? Because it’s the goddamn WORST. It messes with your perception of self, your self esteem, and your self control. I mean, it could just be me, maybe I’m just freaking awful at dating. Like… I wouldn’t be shocked at all, I am an overly trusting human being that likes to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But I really think it’s the system of how dating apps work that really give the wrong ideas about what to expect.
I have spent the better part of this year swiping left, hitting pass, ignoring creepy messages, unmatching people, and ultimately deactivating any given app for a few weeks before I mosey on back and reactivate to see what’s going on. I’m usually quite selective on who I decide to match with or swipe right on; I try to read everything someone has written before looking at their pictures, and then try to decide if they’re going to be worth my time or not. But even with reading what people write there are always the people that are not at all the way they portray themselves. The thing that’s even worse is that these apps don’t necessarily look the same on both sides and some have different algorithms based on your gender. Some apps have different stigmas that go with them (aka Tinder is for hooking up, CMB frequently leads to making friends, and OKC is just a shitshow of people looking for polygamy). Yet, despite stereotypes associated with the various apps, you always hear the success stories of people and think “oh, maybe I can be one of those people!” but then you accidentally match with someone on Tinder the day before you could have matched them on CMB and the entire series of interactions are different than they could have been because of the expectation of the hookup culture. *cue scoff and eye roll so hard that your eyes literally fall out of your head*
Why have I chosen this as my topic for WW? Because the results of online dating greatly affect the way we perceive ourselves. This is a HUGE deal in regards to self esteem, self respect, and your overall outlook on life. When we are feeling good, we like ourselves more (typically) and tend to be happier in our day-to-day interactions. Our day-to-day interactions can create many different types of ripple effects and you never know where some interaction can take you. Based on this alone, the results of online dating are, in fact, more important than we think they are. Just look at my friend average! 88 people! There are 88 out of my ~500 Facebook friends who are super freaking lost in this sea of terrible dating. That’s SO many when you take into consideration the portion of my friend list that is family, people that I know that are already married and their significant others, and people who have made Facebook accounts for their dogs…
So what’s the deal? Regardless of what we’re each looking for (casual, short term, long term, whatever) we all hate the feeling of rejection, right? Of course! That goes for far more than the world of dating. I’d hate to find out that I didn’t get a job because someone else who applied maybe submitted their resume 1 month before me, but it happens all the time. So, when you are successful in browsing through the hordes of pictures and blurbs and find someone that you can have a conversation with for longer than 3 exchanges or can handle being around that person for longer than 30 minutes you’re like *score, finally, maybe there is a chance!* and you continue to talk to that person and continue to hang out and then the ambiguity of what anything is continues forever because who are you to complicate the good thing you’ve got going by saying “heeeeyyy… so what is this?” But listen, if you’re hanging out with the same dude for multiple weeks in a row and see each other at least once every week we can all agree that’s more than nothing, like that is much more involved because you’re carving out that time to see someone that is essentially a stranger to you every week. If a hang out extends beyond 2-3 hours, that is also more than nothing. These things aren’t casual in this day in age where we are all doing 5,000 things all the time. So what is this terrible life of dating where we are all referring to each meet up as a HANG OUT? Like what is this bullshit? Enter the situationship. WTF is a situationship you ask? Exactly… it is this weird ambiguous land of being in a situation with someone that has some strings attached because you let yourselves have some semblance of emotional attachment and is something kind of more than casual hook ups because of the extra level of involvement of trying to be in the other person’s life but not really being overbearing. (This Cosmopolitan article has a pretty good explanation of this phenomenon.)
THIS SHIT SUUUUCKS. We can all agree on that. I have found myself in multiple of these situations because, as I mentioned earlier, I just automatically assume everyone is innately wholesome and good and that their profiles accurately describe who they are. I have seen plenty of people straight up say that they are assholes on their blurbs and I genuinely thank those people for being honest with themselves and saying what they are, saves those of us looking for wholesome people some time.
Anyway, this has been a huge tangent from bananas and I will end it with saying that there is no reason to let someone else’s opinion of you or how someone treats you affect your sense of self. I recently had a lovely encounter with a hidden inconsiderate asshole and was pretty bummed out for a few hours and then realized that “wait, he was a major dick in the way he went about this and everything he just said was utter bullshit.” The way someone treats you is a bigger reflection on who they are than who you are! You always deserve respect and if you aren’t getting that then let whoever that person is go in peace because they don’t deserve your time. Get a banana. Get that potassium and vitamin B6. Kick butt. Go for a run. (ah-HA! I got back to my topic!)