Dating in the age of Tinder

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I can recall the first time that I was asked on a date. I got off the phone with B and my father, of all people said, so “you’re going on a date, eh?”

I looked at him, befuddled at best, shocked because I had always been raised to spend time with guys as friends and so this just seemed like any other time.

My dad was right, I was wrong and the legacy that every one knows someone likes me before I do, has never ended. There have only been a minuscule amount of times in my life where a guy I have dated has been super clear on his intentions right from the beginning. Most of the time it’s guess work at best.

I suck at knowing when someone is interested in me. I am convinced that most people are in the same position. It is always easier to look into someone else’s situation and see the wooing, the longing, the interest. Our own insecurities usually blocking the signs and signals of our would-be wooer.

Dating is scary because we have to give up a bit of ourselves in order to get to know someone else. We ask ourselves if they’re really interested, polite or just looking for another friend.

You would think that the rise of dating/hook up apps and online dating sites would give way to the confusion. In some ways, yes, the confusion has dissipated. I swipe right, you swipe right, we match. oh wait, we unmatch? The opposite has actually happened. It has given rise to more choice, more lack of commitment and too many ways to get out. More ways to say “…oh that was not a date, we’re just friends.” All the ways to contact each other has only given us more options to avoid actually saying “hey, I like you” to that one person we have actually had our eye on.

Dating is scary, allowing someone close is even more scary. Afraid they may not accept all of us, who we are, what we believe, what we want in life.

You know what?

That’s okay. No app or dating site can tell you the future. Mostly it just tells you how good of a selfie-taker a person is, or how much they say they love the gym.

Telling someone you like them and want to get to know them only opens a door, to a path…one that you may both want to get out of or maybe one that you will stay on forever.

Speaking for our generation, we need to stop wanting to know the end result before the experiment has begun. We need to stop trying to look through the peep hole before the door is opened. We need to remember that if we are open to getting to know someone, open to learning, open to being non-judgemental and self-sacrificial, then suddenly dating becomes less a risk and more of an adventure. We need to stop living for what other people may think of our dating choices, stop showing off every moment, go back to the letter writing, the secret moments, the ability to enjoy the really scrumptious, slightly terrifying moments before the first time you hold hands or kiss. We need to learn to build on solid ground rather than on empty promises and lack of integrity. We need to choose rather than react.

Maybe you will meet your next great romance in the boardroom, at a party, in an app or just through friends, but let’s start being less scared of getting hurt and more willing to decide that the simple of act of getting to know another human being better is enough of a reward in itself.

Dating is a time where we get to learn about each other, discover a person who has been raised differently, sometimes in a different land, see if being together is something that makes you both better.

We are all intriguing individuals, with stories, dreams, and adventures behind and before us. Dare to open the door (tell someone you’re interested) and see what adventure may be ahead.

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