The world of online dating: What do we really know?
Between mid December 2021 and mid Jan 2022, I “dabbled” in online dating. Here’s what I took away from my brief one month experience.
To start off, I realised that there are many kinds of people out there in the world.
In my previous article, I noted that it is safer to assume that people on dating sites are indeed seeking love. But in reality, that assumption does not necessarily hold. I have seen profiles that are just looking for friends, looking for a “unicorn” in their relationship, or merely looking for a short term sexual relationship. It can be a frustrating realisation, but we cannot control how people utilise those dating apps.
Besides that, when browsing through so many profiles, we tend to become more superficial in our judgement.
On many aspects, online dating is very much like job seeking. Your first impression is your resume, and with that, hiring managers decide if you may potentially be a good candidate for the role in the company. We want to find the perfect partner and thus, we set high expectations. We compare way too many profiles and nitpick on photos and words. We want the best, but there is also a paradox of choice. With an abundance of choices, people tend to find it harder to make a good decision.
As cringe as it sounds, having people swiping right on me did give me a confidence boost and a dose of serotonin.
It’s that feeling of “oh, I still have market value”. But that feeling doesn’t last. Soon afterwards, I realise that those likes mean nothing if the other party doesn’t reach out and connect with me. Likes are merely a gimmick to keep users coming back to the platforms. It’s like using Instagram, it’s so easy to just give a like, but it takes much more initiative and courage to send a direct message.
On the other hand, I also realised that I felt a pressure to present myself as an interesting person.
Or, try to present (only) the more interesting parts of myself. It’s similar to LinkedIn, but take out the career motivations and put in some vested interests for romance. I wanted to impress, or at least, not bore the other person. Sometimes, I doubted if I was being authentic by only presenting the “cooler” parts of me. I do enjoy trekking, but I don’t trek regularly, does that still make it a real hobby of mine? On most days, I am either attending class or working on my assignments, it’s quite a mundane schedule. In retrospect, I think this pressure can be attributed to the multiple layers of filtering in online dating.
Lastly, since the next stage after a mutual right swipe is texting, our texting skills are brought to a test too.
How frequent do you exchange texts? Are you sharing too much or too little? Is there an appropriate texting window? Often times, it is hard to gauge if people are genuinely interested in you. And yes, ghosting is real! If it happens to you, understand that you can’t help it, and you certainly shouldn’t blame yourself.
To conclude, I still believe that online dating is a great way to meet more people outside of our current social circle, but we have to aware of dynamics present in the online dating scene.
Thank you for reading!