“Here’s the deal. The systems aren’t broken, the people are broken!” – Kailen Rosenberg’s
Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Dil Mil, Coffee Meets Bagel and many others that are out there, all have one big trait in common – swiping right or left? When did we become so obsessed with swiping? We swipe right if the person on the screen happens to post the “perfect” filtered photo or photos, enhancing your best features and hoping for magic, that your potential match hopefully agrees about your profile and swipes right too! Even if there was a slight chance of swiping right it’s entirely based on your mood on that particular day and if what we are looking at grabs your attention. It’s almost become a game, where you must keep swiping until your thumb becomes sore that it’s about to fall off, but you must not stop playing until you reach your quota of matches. And, if you can’t play the game, you automatically lose and kicked out! Matching with someone is only the first step of this crazy dating scenario, what follows is the actual getting to know each other in the hopes this turns into the “dating” part. NEWSFLASH: Online dating isn’t easy. It’s convenient but there is a difference. We think we want one thing but we actually don’t know what we want at all.
I’m just going to call myself out as the elephant in the room and please don’t get me wrong, I am part of this pool of online daters who are just as confused and frustrated. The good news is it’s not all negative, there are many success stories. Some have found the loves of their life, which has ended in satisfying relationships and to their happily ever after. It is certainly convenient and at times overwhelming due to the many choices at hand, but effective at the same time as you only communicate with individuals who match to your particular type, orientation, lifestyle, location, and etc. These online platforms provide customizable criteria’s to suit your requirements. The flip side to this style of dating is that we are becoming inflexible and unrealistic and the reason for much confusion and frustration.
Some people treat online dating like they’re at an ice cream shop, there are so many flavours and tastes to experience, they become overwhelmed with choices to the point that they don’t know what they want anymore. Many of us are in our early 30s and very much single. Flirting, dating, relationships/friendships, we have no idea where to start or what to do. Whether it’s dating, friendships or any other type of relationship, it has evolved in parallel to the way technology has. It has shaped our expectations and how much importance we put on the way society thinks of us. There is just so much available at our fingertips that settling for anything less is not only scary but unacceptable.
We all know that people don’t necessarily like to go above and beyond their comfort zone – especially for someone else without something in return. This is a large part of why many of us are having a tough time online. It is simple and easy to scroll through profiles and swipe through pictures rather than go to a coffee shop or other local hangout spots and meet face to face for a genuine conversation. It takes something extra, maybe self-esteem (which many are afraid to show) to be able to face the other person authentically.
If you ask any girl or guy currently in the “dating market” will say, they are looking for something serious, but cannot go into much detail about what they are actually looking for. We are in a generation where we focus heavily on social media. We constantly seek satisfaction through what people say and think the number of likes we get from the public on how we look, that if we dare reveal that we are looking for someone to spend the rest of our lives with, it will make us look desperate and vulnerable and potentially scare everyone away. No one wants to hear that you are looking to settle down but instead a semi-serious relationship if the planets align the right way.
We are so scared of not just of putting ourselves out there, but because of so many recent scenarios of relationship hiccups. We are in a generation of skeptics, where many marriages are ending in divorce, many relationships fail before they even get to the “serious” or “semi-serious” stage, and that love doesn’t really exist or real for that matter. Many people would rather keep their distance from love rather than risking it all in the fear of feelings being hurt and to have their heart broken.
We are a generation revolved around our devices. The current typical dating scenario includes: logging into Tinder for example, eventually swiping right (95% is usually left), match with a few people, have a text relationship with them for months, maybe even share a few Snapchat photos and still go without a face to face meet. If you do happen to meet one of your matches in person, the automatic assumption is that they are looking for a hookup. We have become experts in hiding behind our screens, that we would rather fall asleep next to our phones than with someone. Online dating can require very little in terms of information (one of many flaws to this type of dating) to set up an active profile, and with that being said what you see on a screen is sometimes not what you get in real life. This can also be in reverse – where an extremely charming, intelligent and funny guy/girl may not be the most photogenic, that we don’t look twice and swipe past their photos/profiles.
I came across an online publication which included a piece from Kailen Rosenberg’s interview about dating apps. In the interview, there was one question and answer that really resonated with me and sort of hammers a nail in why we may be in our current state of online dating.
The question asked was: What’s your take on online matchmaking services and apps like Tinder and OkCupid?
“Here is the deal. The systems aren’t broken, the people are broken. If you’re wholeheartedly looking for love but you’re connecting with people who are there basically mislead you, that’s heartbreaking and a waste of time. But that happens because people are disconnected from themselves and their egos are too in control and they’re stuck and afraid, and then you’ve got a mismatch of people trying to find each other. So again, I think online is brilliant, an incredible way to meet each other if people showed up authentically and healthy and ready for a relationship”.
With that being said, and as much of a rut we are currently in, if you will, we must embrace and change the way we approach online dating. The good news is, I’m sure like many of you, I have witnessed my fair share of online success love stories. Many stories that have started with similar online beginnings as mentioned above, and have fought against the stereotypes of the online world and found their significant others to create their happily ever after. One particular love story close to home had a similar introduction. When you are constantly going between one app to another and losing faith in the process, it’s definitely refreshing to see your close friends who went through similar experiences and now are married to provide perspective. It gives me/us hope and assurance that it’s not all bad. In conversation with them, they stated that regardless of meeting someone online or in person, what really needs to change is your mindset and be flexible with your expectations. Many of us are guilty of going on date after date with a very strict checklist (no fault of our own, some of us are raised this way to expect perfection) of what we want in a person and what we are unwilling to settle for. I asked my friend, what made them change their mind and give it a chance and/or give each other a chance? Their response: “We are not perfect, so how can we use this checklist to judge and expect others to be perfect before even meeting them and hearing them out”. Be authentic, be humble, be real and true to your heart, and be flexible enough so that when you are looking you don’t miss seeing the person sitting right in front of you and potentially risk losing the love of your life”. You and the other person are trying to achieve the same goal, whether it’s with each other or someone else!
I will close this article with the following quote:
“Don’t date the most beautiful person in the world, date the person who makes your world the most beautiful” – unknown
Written by: Geeta Gosain