Online dating gives you access to a huge bevy of people you’d never cross paths with and it’s amazing. On the flip side, online dating gives you access to a huge bevy of people you’d never cross paths with and it can be a shitshow. It’s a numbers game, they’re not all gonna be golden tickets! I think that sharing a little bit of common ground and establishing some fresh dating rules could make the whole thing a LOT more fun. If dating happened in a more open, honest, compassionate and vulnerable space (like if we all agreed those traits would not make women “Crazy & Needy” and would not make men “Emo & Weak”) we’d waste so much less time and get to the good part (connection?!) faster. With real communication the inherent up and down of dating could be more enlightening, educational and have less potential to be confusing and hurtful. From my own experience in dating for the last 10 years or so at the dawn and rise of online dating I’ve compiled a few tips, some of them may be challenges:)
5 Online Dating Tips For the Mindful Person
1. SWIPE/MATCH WITH INTENTION: I know Tinder can feel like a game (woowee I’m on a streak!) and OKCupid can satisfy the basic need to have someone to communicate with. But there are some REAL live people on the other side! Know why you’re online dating, know why they are online dating and for gods sake be honest and truly listen. Meet up only if your intentions match. We can always dream that someone we’re physically attracted to may change over time and want what we want but it makes for a much better chance at connection if you meet someone where they are at, not where you want them to be. If you just want to Netflix and Chill but aren’t looking to enjoy the Farmer’s Market or go out dancing, it’s ok, but be honest. If you are looking to get married, it’s ok! But again, be honest and maybe don’t swipe right on the person looking for casual sex. If we’re all clearer about our intentions for dating, there will be a lot less mismatching and broken expectations and a lot more connection and fun.
2. MEET IN PERSON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: After meeting online, take things to date planning as soon as you know you’d like to meet that person. We ALL know that texting can go wrong, fast. If you’re texting or worse yet, emailing at an extended length before meeting in person, there’s a big chance that:
a. Through printed word alone something is taken out of context and things are ended before even meeting in real life (you know, with the added benefit of 93% of your full expressive potential).
b. Things become so intimate over printed word alone that you feel the intensity of an emotional investment you weren't prepare to handle with a total stranger.
The point of online dating is to introduce us to someone to DATE. It’s not to spend more time on our phones. Don’t breadcrumb someone just to stave off boredom or to have an option on the table at all times. To clarify, bread crumbing is leading someone on with just enough communication with no intention of ever meeting them or moving things further. If everyone is open and honest from the git we’ll spend a lot less time feeling confused/exasperated or sheepish/manipulative.
3. MATCH THE SETTING WITH YOUR INTENTION: I am loving The Coffee Date. You usually have somewhere to go after and my day clothes are cuter than the few Friday Night Out outfits I’ve been rotating. I use coffee dates for people who I’m not sure what category I’d lump them in. Sometimes I just want to meet people who sound interesting but I’m not attracted or vice versa lol. It’s low pressure, CHEAP and honestly if someone can’t handle the rawness of a sober date I know they are probably not for me. You probably aren’t going to get laid after a coffee date but you probably will be more in tune with how you feel about that person because the hazy sheen of alcohol and late night revelry will be removed.
The Evening Date on the other hand is sexy and fun! I’m loving date night in Seattle, couples are out and about, you can feel the current of unsureness and possibility wafting around. I save evening dates for people I’d consider going home with. When you just have a picture and a few sentences to go with though, alcohol can blur the lines of truth. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all create a fantasy of who that person is going to be on the other side of the computer. Rarely are they that person for better or worse. This can be more easily ignored with alcohol! The problem I’m facing lately is wanting to continue hanging out, partying and flirting but not wanting to drink or spend any more money. Inevitably this leaves some badly lit 24 hour dinner or a closing coffee shop to continue in. Or our houses. And once were in each others houses that mood decidedly shifts to a more sexual nature. This is a place where I’ve both enjoyed casual sex AND regretted it. Make sure only go home with someone you can discuss your boundaries, fears and desires with BEFORE clothes start flying off. It takes a lot of balls to be that vulnerable, heck it can be more intimate than the sex itself! But in this day and age we all owe it to ourselves to quiet the hormones and hornyness and support and nurture a shift toward healthier sex. This can happen with an open minded and respectful dialogue between two consenting adults.
4. SPEAK UP: For the love of all things holy, know that it is ok, amazing and BRAVE to discuss your desires, fears and boundaries at any stage of a relationship. If you went into the date with one intention (I just need to get laid tonight, it could be anybody!) and that intention changes (I don’t want to have sex with this person but I’d like to make out) you’ve got to speak up. In dating, nobody is locked into anything! Don’t let outdated gender roles and expectations scare you off from being open, honest and vulnerable. Don’t ever assume someone can read your mind/vibe and know exactly where you are at. Guessing how someone feels is ludicrous and infuriating, as mother’s say to toddlers “Use your words.” I think the worst that could happen is someone thinks you’re crazy or lame (In which case, THANK YOU for making my decision to walk the other way more clear and easy). The best that can happen is you cultivate the power to speak your truth no matter how other people might think about you. It takes practice but it encourages others in your dating sphere to do the same and thats huge.
5. NO GHOSTING. EVER. PERIOD. LIKE DON’T DO IT. Ghosting is when you flat out ignore someone that you’ve met because you’re too scared to hurt someone’s feelings (aka be real and possibly endure them saying someone mean about YOU). Ghosting is mean, rude, cruel and a total fucking fail on the journey to being a better person. In my personal opinion, if you’re going to let someone know you’re not interested after one or two dates texting is fine, after 3-5 dates, you should call, and after that consider meeting in person (unless you feel this person could put you in danger). The bottom line is you should have the compassion and courtesy to speak your truth to a person you’ve spent time with, regardless of how they will react. In 95% of the instances I’ve done it the person has been pleasant and even grateful. In 5% they’ve gotten nasty and blown up (dodged a bullet!). I’ve survived. In 100% of the the times I’ve been ghosted it hurt. In 100% of the times someone told me they weren’t interested it stung but I’m so grateful and respect that person more. You are not required to provide a reason although, if said with tact, truth and compassion could be a relief for someone and may even provide a powerful learning experience for both of you. Fight the good fight to end ghosting. It may sting for a second but it’s better than obsessing/aching for awhile. And if you get a text that someone isn’t interested in moving forward (A TOTAL OPTION IN DATING, DUH!) then be classy about accepting that. It took some bravery to do that and now you can move onto a much better match.
HAPPY DATING EVERYONE!!!!