Robert Indiana, 1966.
As a preface:
I know how ironic it is to write about this subject matter as I still have Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel installed on my phone, so I am in the same ditch as everyone else who is currently using a or multiple dating app[s] (this excludes people who are in exclusive, non-open relationships who are trying to surreptitiously “open” them without their partners knowing – that’s called cheating, asshole, as I’m sure you’re aware of that).
However, as there is always a “but” in these statements – I, despite some of the discouraging people I’ve encountered so far on these applications, still hold out hope for each and every new face I will meet in the future. Finding someone new has never been so easy today, but finding someone who you like, reciprocates your feeling, have similar values and interests with you, respects you, is attractive enough for you, and is on the same page with you?
We’re more prone to giving up on someone we are acquainted with than ever, because of the notion that there is someone out there who, in all absolutes, is the perfect one out there for every individual. We highlight and occasionally aggrandize the otherwise smaller irritations and simply give up instead of spending some extra time with that person.
There are some diamonds in the rough out there whom I’ve encountered before, but truth be told? The attitude shift that these apps bring to not just us, but to the entire society itself, makes modern dating feel like hell on repeat, which in turn, makes us feel like we’re the loneliest, if not, one of the loneliest people in the world, despite the seemingly vast and endless opportunities.
Robert Indiana, 1998 – 2006.
One of my favorite (and perhaps really popular as well) psychology study is about how an overabundance of choices actually backfires and makes us less motivated and not as content with our final choice. I’m completely summarizing here, but the gist is that what we think we want isn’t necessarily what we need, and when we do finally make the leap, we occasionally find ourselves a bit let down by the results and wonder what could have happened if we picked out something / someone else.
It’s essential to apply this knowledge and awareness not just to dating applications, but to all aspects of life. Don’t flood yourself. Don’t bite off more than you can possibly chew, because you either spit it out or you choke and possibly die.
Even the most minuscule decision, such as going out to a restaurant to eat, can feel daunting with all of the places out there – especially if you don’t have a specific craving that day. We’re so accustomed to our knowledge of what type of food, herbs and spices, and drinks we like and dislike as well as our allergies and dietary restrictions. Theoretically, that should make selection a lot easier, but in reality we’re drowning with options that occasionally make us stagnant due to our own indecisiveness.
With the hustle and bustle being the nature of most of our surrounding nowadays, it’s hard to avoid hesitation and indecision. We’re unknowingly standing at crossroads most of the times for the tiniest issues. We’re making multiple choices as each day ticks by. We’re exposed to more and more, or “the plenty of fish in the sea” mentality, which is great, mind you – I have nothing against it, but at the same time, we’re cherishing each fish a little less.
That is perfectly fine, but not quite when it comes to living, breathing entities.
Each and every single one of us.
I’ve written about how odds are, all of us are insignificantly significant, as we’re all veiled with general indifference, yet we all play the main character in our lives. It’s amazing, quite liberating in an unconventional sense, and having that thought can potentially lift off some of the unnecessary baggage that we’ve carried for way too long.
However, it’s so crucial to remember that we’re all pretty much more or less the same.
Yes, I’m also very aware that there are outliers out there.
You can also narrate the experiences where you’ve been wronged, led on, ghosted, ignored, physically and / or emotionally abused, bullied, cheated on, and the list goes on like they just happened yesterday (and perhaps it did). I’m not discounting of any pain and trauma anyone has ever felt before from his / her perpetrators. I do want to kindly remind you of a saying I have heard, which goes along the lines of how “the opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference / apathy”.
Not to excuse anyone of hurtful actions over here, but somewhere along our paths, we make the wrong decisions as our feelings and emotions overwhelm and take over our control.
We fuck up, minimally and monumentally. We get fucked over by other people, whether it’s direct or blindside. We choose to either grow from the pain they bring, or stay the same – only to potentially face it over and over again.
I know, it’s extremely irritating to see how we should treat these events and pains as a learning experience, because we tend to think of why that person gets to get away with it, free from hurt and any sort of repercussions.
Trust me, karma will come and kick their asses swiftly and unknowingly one day.
Plus, those who are capable of doing such things to you will also do that to others until they start taking a good, harsh look at themselves and start to take accountability for their actions. In order for that to happen, something has to trigger them, and unfortunately for you if you are holding out any sort of hope…it’s not going to be you.
Let it go.
So, how do we, as individuals, try to change the trend? How do we make dating applications suck less?
The key to changing the trend of the dating app is to be fully aware of this overabundance mentality in society nowadays. We’re less patient as we’re attuned to desire instant gratification. We’re more sensitive to even the smallest issues and we tend to give up on people easily these days.
Don’t be that way.
Don’t be the person who mindlessly swipes left and right all day.
Don’t be that person who doesn’t give a shit.
Stay engaged and give someone enough benefit of the doubt before you determine whether or not you want this person to stay in your life. Yes, you.
If you can adamantly say that you’ve done all that and someone still disrespects you? Shame on that person, and not you, as you have given that person the trust, honesty, and respect that any basic human being deserves.
Do not take it personally when someone displays a disrespectful behavior. That is entirely on that person. Remember, you do not have possession or control over other people’s words and actions except for your own.
When this happens, cut off contact.
Perhaps you need to make a final statement; perhaps you need to block and delete that person. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it should never be perceived as cowardly to express your feelings (despite who you are) as long as you are doing it in a healthy manner. Do it once, and should that person continue his / her actions, disengage and move on.
Should that person come back or try to, evaluate carefully and see how you feel about the reopening of the dialogue between you two. Do not jump in just because of “lingering feelings”, or you will get hurt even more this time. See if there is genuine change before casting that person an opportunity for a second chance.
The key here is to stop sitting still and hoping for a change – be an actual part of it. Stop being a passive spectator of your own life. Stay vigilant of the people who just simply want something out of you should their intentions not align to your beliefs. That is your right. Keep your chin up, stay honest and respectful while keeping and remembering your standards and boundaries.
And that is truly how the whole dynamic transforms – one by one.
PS: This is my 70th post! Who would’ve thought? A year ago I haven’t even thought about owning a blog, and now I’ve created this little space in the vast cyber world. Incredible.