Online dating can often turn out to be quite misleading. You take a risk every time you meet someone and while you are expecting to meet your ideal person, a lot of the times you just don’t click. I hear people say all the time that they are old fashioned but yet have no time to meet people the ‘normal way’. Yet I think there are many opportunities to meet people regardless of your busy schedule. Even if you do meet someone from an online site/app, you still have to make time for them if things do progress well in time. So, I guess what I am trying to investigate is that are you really too busy or are you just lacking the courage? I think that answers the question. I think it is also a plausible explanation that as a society we have become so accustomed to texting someone rather than talking on the phone or just knocking on their door, that approaching a person in real life has become a real challenge. Because we have relied so much on these online outlets, we really have started to interpret and relate texting with being shown affection, but the truth is, affection shows very differently in person.

As we all try to work around the pressure of up-keeping with our full-time jobs or full-time studies, it is obvious that a huge outlet to dating stems from social media or online dating apps/websites. Not that there is anything wrong with meeting people online. Perhaps it is more convenient for those that would like to be understood via a bio. Expressing ourselves can be very hard at times, so writing it out is deemed to be more straightforward. Or maybe it is an appropriate outlet for those that feel as if they have no time in their busy schedule and see no potentials at their place of work. But I believe that we now have optimal options available to us to be able to re-connect with people on a face-to-face or ‘real life’ basis, rather than leaving us to rely on an app or a website (that sometimes even milks us of money) to meet that special someone.

I believe that one of the many down sides of social media dating is that people tend to portray a life and a character that does not reflect the lifestyle they lead in real life. I think many times people are rather impressed with a photo or the way people come off through a text and tend to get attracted to that. Sure, a person could seem well-refined and put together from behind a screen, but you never know what you will get once you meet that person. I have a friend who always tells me if I am active on Tinder or Bumble to text less in order to talk about more, in person. While I found that that was a great idea, regardless of how invested I was first date or not, I realized that even on a first date, people will not show you their true colours. This is not to say that all people whom use these apps as a way of communicating and meeting new people are crazy and deranged (maybe that’s just me). It’s to say that anyone you will meet will most likely want to put their best foot forward. There are things that you will not know or discover until later on. Luckily, I’m an open book so my matches have been blessed. I will show you the crazy within me almost immediately, and I’m not shy about it.

Another important factor to consider is that when you are on a dating website, you will not know based on a photo whether that person engages in some unhealthy habits. I am talking alcohol abuse, drug abuse or even worse, if that person is prone to being physically abusive and or has had a criminal past. However, when you are in a social setting sometimes we can pick up on the different energies that people carry. Unlike a photo or a text, seeing a person in real life in a social setting may help you form a much more informed decision. For example, if you spot that same person you matched with on a dating app at a bar and he or she reeks of booze and is so sloppy that everybody knows it; realistically speaking, you would stay miles away. Ideally, you would not want to date someone that portrays and elicits that type of behaviour, but when you matched with them this is something that was left in the dark. You could not see that this person had an alcohol problem. You could not see that this person was an infamous player.

This is why I think we should be less focused on online outlets and rely more on real life opportunities to meet people. We may use excuses such as being too busy or being too shy, but why not step outside of our comfort zone and push ourselves? If you have had no luck in person, maybe it is because you need to exercise your social skills a little bit. My point is, no matter where you are, spark up a conversation with the cutie from Starbucks or make a clever joke to your bartender. Putting out that type of positive energy will only attract same in return. Even if the one conversation does not lead to a date, talking to someone new and learning something new from them can put you in a better mood (better mood=confidence boost; confidence=attractive). Conversation is easy, so long as you make the effort to say something! Don’t be afraid to show who you are. Be confident that there is someone who right now would love to talk to you. It is so attractive when someone is a conversation starter.

Conversation can be even more so easily achieved in social environments such as socialite restaurants, attending networking events or joining your local soccer team. Does happy hour at your local restaurant ring any bells? Everyone loves happy hour, mostly because it means cheap drinks and potential lunch time flirting. Imagine the opportunities, you have singles left and right. You know why they are there and standing with a drink in their hand: they are open to meeting new people. They want to engage in conversation. What many of these type of places have in common is that you will be surrounded by strangers, the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone is limitless.

Before I close off my computer, I would just like to mention that I don’t believe that online dating should not ever be pursued or explored. I have met many interesting characters that have taught me some important lessons. However, from these experiences I now do feel that the online dating experience does take away from the centuries old way of meeting people and it does give you the control to come off as a very different person for example via text or even via photos. The courting process of it is very different. Online, you have already made yourself very available to the other person. Whereas in a real life setting, you can always leave a little mystery when you meet someone new. This allows the other person to chase you and be intrigued by you. It allows things to flow more naturally, is what I am trying to say. Whether you choose to meet someone online or contribute to conversations in social gatherings, just remember who you are and always stand your ground. Be well-informed, don’t be afraid to ask questions or investigate a little bit- social media is a great tool for this. Even when meeting someone randomly in person, someone may come off a certain way but in fact they could be hiding a lot more than you know. Stay cautious but don’t be afraid to get to know new people in the real life world. Exercise your social skills and you will see that it makes a huge difference in your confidence to approach people in person rather than putting your faith in your Tinder match.

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