Just when you think you understand people, you realize how little you actually know; that, in a nutshell, is my assessment of online dating. Once upon a time, I truly believed I got it, as I believed I knew what people were looking for. In those days, I thought that crafting witty and personalized statements was the way to go, so I spent a considerable amount of time sifting through profiles, looking for details and commonalities to comment on, with the hope of receiving a thoughtful reply; but, I usually received nothing, or at best, a half-hearted response So, all of this begs the question: Outside of getting laid, what is the point of online dating? Do people really, ever, form meaningful relationships through dating apps? If the answer is yes, then it has to be a small portion of the app population.
You may be thinking, well, there’s definitely something wrong with his approach, and I would absolutely agree with you; there surely is! Someone I know was so certain of the futility of my approach that she warned me against what she perceived as my trying too hard. Her suggestion: Just say “Hi, How are you?” In her perspective, crafting personalized messages equated with desperation, so a brief opener would suffice. And, for her it worked!… or so she thought. After her realization, and her shift in perspective, she landed multiple dates, with people she was highly interested in. However, unbeknownst to her, she began attracting a particular type of man, the one who loved the chase and didn’t care too much about the person behind it. So, date after date went nowhere, and she was rejected each time the dynamic became too intimate for the fellas involved; they were out like thieves in the night, never to be heard from, or seen, agin.
Eventually, both her and I concluded that most people on dating apps don’t actually want anything meaningful, and most don’t even know what they want from the get-go; that’s why they’re there: to convince themselves that they’re actively looking for a genuine connection, while pretending to foster intimacy. Unfortunately, there was a time when I was one of them; and, it’s helped me understand why some of my more confusing rejections occurred. Whether your messages are too personal or not personal enough, it seems difficult to get a grasp on exactly what the other person is looking for, because people are a confusing, and contradicting, bunch, unable to make sense of their own wants and desires.
Over time, I’ve noticed that it’s been easier to get dates when interacting with people at networking events, parties, birthdays, and weddings. At least then, the other person (most of the time) isn’t deluding themselves into thinking they want to date while being terrified of vulnerability; if they aren’t interested, you’ll know, and you won’t need to be ghosted after seemingly successful dates to find out. I don’t think I’ll ever master, or even understand, dating apps; but, I am certain that most of the people on them don’t actually want to date. Look out for the signs, because there are usually plenty of them. If someone informs you of their long, and difficult history with dating, accept it; if they tell you how hard it is to open up to others, listen; if a person has a track record of serial dating, and/or perpetual short-term relationships, acknowledge it; and, if something seems too good to be true, as when someone becomes effusive and seemingly obsessed with how wonderful you are before really knowing you, it is.
So, on this August 5th of 2018, I’m deciding to give up on online dating for good. This is my official goodbye letter to the confusing and tumultuous world of dating apps and the emotionally unavailable individuals on them. It’s a goodbye to an old self who deluded himself into thinking that he wanted intimacy when it terrified him. I’m sure the industry will keep growing, as there are plenty of people who’ll continue to look for hook-ups; but as it pertains to me, I’m doing away with the culture of socially awkward people who don’t seem to consider, or mind, how their actions affect others. I am ghosting online dating, and I can bet that I’ll be a lot happier for doing so.