Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Too Many Fish: My guide to online dating

When I was first introduced to online dating in 2010, I found it extremely odd and overwhelming. Just as anyone who is introduced to something completely new may feel... right? Up until then, I had only met potential partners in person, through mutual friends or in school. I created my 1st online dating profile on OkCupid followed by Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, Happn, Tinder, and most recently, Hinge. Despite creating my first profile 7 years ago, I didn't actually go on any dates until February of last year. lol 

Online dating has always been an overwhelming experience for me, because I usually find myself with too many choices. Majority of the time I feel like a warthog carcass being pulled in every which way by lions. After having a little over a year of experience, I've learned a thing or two on how to efficiently navigate the online dating scene. So if you're feeling like I once did,  here are my tips for getting the most out of your online dating experience!

1. Be ready
If you're not ready to meet someone, don't put yourself in the position to lead someone on. If you've recently had your heart broken or there's any other circumstance causing you to be emotionally unavailable, don't make the mistake of wasting a genuinely good person's time. I'm dead serious about this! If you're nowhere near ready, delete your dating apps NOW!

I've been guilty of this myself. After a terrible breakup in 2010, I took my 1st shot at online dating only to freak out and ghost as soon as the other person suggested to meet in person. 

To all the guys that I lead on because I wanted my emotional needs met, but had no intention of ever meeting you in person, I'm deeply sorry. I sincerely hope you found someone amazing, who is worthy of the time and attention you gave to me. 

2. Be open
I personally hate the swipe culture. We are all more than our face and body. Take the time to fill out your profile and read the profiles of others. Don't just swipe left and right! Amazing individuals fly under the radar all the time. Take a chance on that person who didn't immediately catch your eye, but made you smile after reading through their profile. How many times in life have you developed a crush on someone that you weren't immediately attracted to? Don't close yourself off to finding a real connection with someone just because they're not particularly photogenic. If they don't know how to take a selfie, it might actually be a good thing!

3. Know what you want & don't settle for less
As I stated previously, with online dating apps, there are TOO MANY fish in the sea. After a few dates, you should already be getting a pretty good vibe from the other individual. But before over investing yourself, be sure to clearly draw your boundaries. It's important to know what you want and to put your expectations on the table. I'm not talking about any superficial deal-breakers by the way. If your must-haves include guys over 6 ft tall with a full head of hair and a six figure salary, do yourself a favor and re-read number 2! 

It's okay to have non-negotiable qualities that you want in a partner. When you're ready to invest a lot of your time into another person, you should have standards. 

Here are mine:
- Shares similar values and beliefs
- Is there for me when I need them, even when it's inconvenient 
- Considers me when making decisions, no matter how big or small
- Has a growth mindset, always trying to work on themselves and be better than the person they were yesterday
- Challenges me to be my best and inspires me to go after what I want
- Respects me, how I live my life, and everything I stand for, including my thoughts, ambitions, opinions, family and friends
- Is trustworthy. I feel safe being completely open and honest with them, even when addressing tough issues

Having strong boundaries and standards will save you a lot of time and energy. Don't be afraid to cut a date short if need be! Respect and love yourself enough to walk away from a situation or a person that will only cause drama over time. I've ended dates early and ordered a Lyft quite a few times now, and I'm not ashamed of that. 

Are you currently online dating? What have you learned? What are your tips for success? Leave me a comment - I'd love to know!