My friends have been asking me how I’m able to navigate these apps without being a basket case. There are quite a few contributing factors. The first being that I’ve always gravitated towards ‘internet dating’. I used to be a very shy and unconfident young lady. This is before the time of dating apps; think Yahoo! chatrooms and sites like Blackplanet and Meetmeinto for those of you old enough to recall.
Although I was confident with my personality, I wasn’t always so confident with my outward appearance.
Connecting with potential suitors online worked for me on two levels. First it was far easier to let my fingers do the talking than it was to speak to men (boys) in person. Second, I gained confidence in the process by feeling that these boys fell for my personality, making me less worried about how physically unattractive I felt when I met them in person. Long story short, although I still get a bit nervous at the initial meeting, I’m seasoned in the process of chatting with a stranger and dealing with the whole ‘blind date’ scenario.
Hiding behind my computer screen afforded me the annonimity to communicate with those I would otherwise shy away from, which I see as a benefit to apps like Tinder & Bumble. But hiding behind a computer screen also allows for a few things that make connection challenging and increase your chances of feeling rejected:
Similar to the case with internet bullying, when people communicate from behind their monitors, they’re less sensitive to the fact that there’s an actual person on the other end of their wireless connection. It makes it easier for them (and you) to do some of those abhorent things they probably wouldn’t dare do in person (like ghosting).
Following the point above, you (or they) become disposable. Because no substantial investment has been made by either party and it’s so easy to swipe and connect with someone else, many times the connection with you has a lower perceived value.
This is not to say that everyone on these apps operates by this philosophy, but this is the reality of the world of easy access and instant gratification that we all live in.
So how does one remain resilient in the face of potential and actual rejection?
- Take it for what it is. Matthew Hussey has a really awesome YouTube channel focused around dating advice for women. He mentions something that we tend to do when we first meet and are getting to know a guy. Let’s say we know 30% of what there is to know about him (first I’m paraphrasing from memory so don’t take this as a direct quote from Matthew, second 30% is a huge exaggeration – you don’t know that much about this dude). Now let’s also say you like all of the 30% that you know about him (also an inflation). We then have a tendency to make up the remaining 70% in our minds so that this guy becomes the perfect guy in our imagination. Maybe he could be at some point but there’s no way you could possibly know it yet. Thank you Matthew! When we do this, we’re making it far more difficult on ourselves to manage damage control if this doesn’t end well. So do yourself a favour, take it for what it is, don’t make up what it’s not and enjoy the present.
- Only like him as much as he likes you; another great piece of wisdom from Matthew. Obviously you can’t really help how much you like him, but you can help how much you show him that you like him. I’m the last person to tell you not to go after what you want as I tend to do just that with everything, including men, but I’m working on tempering my aggressiveness. I think you need to give a little, but you need to find the balance between push and pull. For example, on Bumble the woman has to send the first message. All good, I usually start with some kind of open ended question about something in their profile. The goal is to spark a conversation. However if it continues for let’s say three or four exchanges and I’m the only one asking the questions then I will send a message that’s just a comment and no question. If he’s truly interested, he will find a way to communicate and continue the conversation. The same goes for off the app. You shouldn’t be the one calling, messaging, setting up the dates all the time. You need to allow him the opportunity to show you that he’s interested in you too (or not interested – see #3).
- You have to learn to be patient. I know how much it sucks waiting for him to call or text. I look at it this way, people are usually on their best behaviour at the beginning – if it starts off with you always reaching out to him, it’s probably always going to be that way. If you’re cool with that, great; but if you’re not then you’re going to have to learn how to wait for him to reach out to you too. If he doesn’t, know that your worth someone who will and move on. Next!
- Trust but be cautious. I try to be honest and upfront as much as possible, even when doing so may be difficult for the other person to receive. This works fine in isolation, but because I am this way, I find myself operating under the assumption that the person I’m speaking to does the same. Don’t look at me like that, I know how silly it sounds and I’m working on it. You have to remember that as much as this is a real person you’re speaking to, they’re also probably presenting their best selves to you – you know, like the highlight reels also known as Facebook and Instagram. You really don’t know what this person has been through, what they are going through now and how that will affect their behaviour towards you. In short, try not to take it personally, in all likelihood the issue is not with you at all.
- Try again. Sure, what happened with that last guy wasn’t fun. You got your feelings hurt a bit, but just because that’s what happened in that situation doesn’t mean that’s what will happen with the next one. So put your big girl pants on, learn from the experience and work at remaining open. If you’re not ready to try again, take a break – guaranteed the guys will still be there when you get back.