#MondayOpinion 'It's a Match': Thumbs Down to Dating in the Digital Era

Once again, I tackle the trends of 2017. This time we’re delving into the world of dating. And not just any kind of dating, no-no, but dating in today’s digital era

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

 Vintage dating advice / Photo: Quailbellmagazine.com

Vintage dating advice / Photo: Quailbellmagazine.com

With the rise of online dating and fancy phone apps, people are more inclined to meet the love of their life than ever, yet with their noses glued to their phones. OkCupid, Tinder, and Coffee Meets Bagel (yes, that’s actually a thing) are only a few of the dating platforms currently out there. The gist of all of these apps is that you get to know a bit about the person before you meet in real life, supposedly making dating easier in the modern world. But does it really help us meet our perfect companion, or is digital dating our downfall?

I had to turn to my friends when doing research for this piece. I’m someone who prefers meeting people face-to-face, rather than through the computer screen. Therefore, I think it’s a better way of meeting someone you’ll really like. Sure, it’s frightening at times, but at the end of the day, you’ll be happier because you get genuine responses and reactions from people you talk to IRL. I would much rather go to a bar and chat up a guy, than bother to browse the interwebs for him. On the other hand, many of my friends use Tinder to meet new people and go on dates. Do a bit of swiping to the right and voilà - you have a date! But what was interesting to me was that the reactions on the effectiveness of the app actually varied a lot.

Tinder can make being on the dating scene easier, but that doesn’t necessarily mean meeting people (in real life) is easier. You swipe, you chat a little, you meet up - simple, right? First, there’s the rigorous process of swiping and then having to hold a simple conversation with your match. You’d think that it's making talking easier, because it’s an online service, but you’re wrong. What if you leave your match a nice message… and they simply don’t respond? And you are left wondering what did you mess up this time. How hard can conversing be? Apparently, incredibly tricky. Even if you’ve already showed some signs of affection through liking that person’s carefully curated profile, leaving a neat impression in the first place. For me, it seems like common courtesy to respond when people are talking to you (unless they offend you, but that’s not usually the case). Am I alone in this, hello?

"... My male friends said women tend to ignore messages and ghost. While my female friends said that guys sometimes can’t take a hint when a conversation isn’t going that great."

 Tinder match / Photo: Highsnobiety.com

Tinder match / Photo: Highsnobiety.com

So, let’s say you’ve managed to find a decent person on Tinder who actually replies to you and you end up going on a date. I feel as though there’s a lot of pressure to prove yourself. Or isn’t there? When creating a dating profile, you want to make yourself look as good as possible without seeming fake. Well, what if your date doesn’t like the non-profile version of you? That fear of disappointment is way too real, and people get stood up because of it, which I think is incredibly rude. We try to hide behind our screens and mask our flaws because society suggests we should. It's saying we should be the ideal version of ourselves rather than being real and authentic. Dating platforms may, therefore, create false expectations and raise our standards to a level no prince or princess can reach.

"We try to hide behind our screens and mask our flaws because society suggests we should. It's saying we should be the ideal version of ourselves rather than being real and authentic."

Dating in the Digital Era #Savant

Photo: Sheknows.com

Having sexy pictures on our dating profiles and getting a ton of matches can be confidence-boosting. But at the end of the day, what value does it really add to our lives? It’s important to stay grounded. Nobody likes an arrogant chap who thinks you should go on a date with him because ‘he’s such a catch and everybody adores him’. Besides looking great, you also need to be able to hold up a conversation. Communication is the key to every relationship. Not only is it about having a great chat, but also about being able to express your thoughts in a way that makes your date get to know the real you. As far as conversing goes, I guess the funniest thing I heard while prying my friends about their dating lives is when my male friends said women tend to ignore messages and ghost. While my female friends said that guys sometimes can’t take a hint when a conversation isn’t going that great. Could that be eliminated via real-life interactions? I think so,  and if not eliminated then alleviated at the very least.

But, I must admit, all my friends remained hopeful. Kind of like Snow White when she sings “Someday My Prince Will Come”. Digital dating platforms can make the initial getting-to-know-you process smoother and easier, which, I am told, is the most difficult part. That could be an effective first step of meeting someone new. From what I gathered, people really need to remember their manners and be less rude to one another. Treat others with the same respect that you’d like to receive. Ghosting is not cool, nor is being too persistent. Just be real, people. Because, if people don’t like you for who you really are, then is it worth having them in your life in the first place? I believe that’s something worth considering before you go on a swiping-spree again.

And please remember, kids - stay safe!