As is the case for many women in their mid twenties these days, I am single and fabulous… living that independent lady life. Like Beyonce…
Oh wait, she’s married.
Amy Schumer? Oh, she’s in a relationship, too? Lena Dunham? Meryl Streep? Tina Fey? Alright… fictional characters work for me- LIZ LEMON.
However, after 4 years of focusing largely on my own goals and taking myself on dinner dates, I recently decided to be more open minded toward the idea of dating. I’m not trying to marry the next dude that walks through the door, but, for the first time in a long time, I feel that maybe having another person to hang out with (fine… and make out with) could make me happy.
BOY DID I THINK WRONG.
Okay, okay… I can’t really say that with 100% confidence, and I’m not running back to my Jane Austen collection to drink and die alone just yet.
BUT, I do think that the dating world is a scary and confusing place that no one should have to navigate on their own! There are so many forms of social media and communication through which to experience rejection; you really need someone to have your back and help you translate that strand of 8 emojis and zero English words that you just received. Thankfully I have several work friends, sisters, and one notable best friend who are all more than willing to listen to my stream of consciousness rants about dating on a pretty much daily basis.
And also, Aziz Ansari, who is a sharp and hilarious comedian, wrote a book about dating in the technology age and how much it sucks. So, fellow singles, it helps to know that we are not alone in the struggle! A real live famous person wrote a book just for us! And he pretty much nailed his observations, too. If you haven’t read Modern Romance you should definitely check it out, no matter what your romantic situation (okay that’s my one plug of the book- it’s really insightful)
A few of my favorite Aziz observations, mixed with my own opinions, are as follows:
1) We have SO MANY choices with online dating tools (including Tinder, Bumble, and even Facebook), that it’s hard to commit to one person!
Translation: Basically, too many fish in the sea means that we spend all day looking for the best place to cast our line, and end up with zero fish to show for it at the end of the day! (Look at me whipping out a fishing analogy like I even know what fishing is).
Solution: Swipe right more! Stop looking for the greatest fish you’ve ever seen and just jump in and grab one, if it sucks after closer inspection, throw it back and try again (don’t kill it and eat it… it’s not that kind of fishing analogy). This whole notion of “you’re getting too old to date someone you couldn’t see yourself marrying” is BS. Just pick one person from wherever you meet people, go on a date, and, if it’s not worth a second date, hopefully you got some good food out of the deal. Try again with someone else!
2) With many popular forms of communication that aren’t actual face-to-face talking, we forget that there’s a human on the other end of that text/e-mail/DM/dickpic (please NO everyone)!
Translation: Technology is a wall that we hide behind because we are big fat cowards! You can get away with not responding for hours (or ever) instead of just breaking it off, or you can send nasty pictures that no one wants to see and never have to show your face again.
Solution: Be a respectful texter!! If you were having a conversation in real life (or irl if you’re twelve), you wouldn’t go make homemade fettuccine and read the paper for 3 hours before answering someone’s question. Sometimes things happen that delay a response, but for the most part, you know you saw the text- just respond. You don’t want to hang out because you are not interested? I’m sure the girl or guy on the other end would love to know that and stop wasting their time! Simply say “no thanks, I don’t want to,” and stop making people guess how you’re feeling! Even if it hurts them to hear it, be honest, respond in a reasonable time, and move on with your life.
3) Finally, in the same vein of communication, without having to talk on the phone or see someone in person as often, it very easily becomes unclear if you are dating, talking, hanging out, or just randomly texting a wrong number on a daily basis.
(If you’d like a rabbit hole of wrong number text responses).
Translation: ARE WE DATING OR WHAT??????
Solution: It’s okay to talk about feelings sometimes. You like someone? Tell them that! You want to hang out? Ask them to do an activity at a specific time and date so that they know you actually want to see them! Then follow through- making time for someone in your busy routine isn’t always easy, but it goes a long way! I don’t know when it became “clingy” to tell someone that you enjoy spending time with them. No, you don’t need to whisper that you love them under your breath on the first date, but give the other person some positive reinforcement from time to time! If you have no intention of ever getting serious with the person, make it clear that all you want is friendship- I know it seems uncomfortable, but it will save you both in the long run!
So… dating is tough. There are a lot of unknowns- some that have always existed in the world of romance, and some that have developed with technology. But at the end of the day, if you can be yourself, communicate honestly, and keep an open mind when it comes to meeting new people, you will make it out alive! You may not meet your forever partner right away, if that is your intention, but you will be happy that you are putting yourself out into the world and seeing how you are received. And, if you want to run back to your happy, single place every once in awhile, go for it! There are no rules: you are not too old or too young, too skinny or too fat, too ugly or too pretty to be alone right now and figure out what you want, or to get out there and date the hell out of some people…