In 2017, more young adults are meeting their significant others on Bumble than at the bar; Ghosting and Haunting are words commonly used to refer to your disappearing or reappearing love interest(s); and with social media, posts can become a one-up game between exes rather than a place to share genuine content.
So how does a twenty-something with honest intentions navigate the tricky world of dating in the digital age?
Before I start on a spiel of giving love-guru advice, let me throw out a very important disclaimer: I don’t have all the answers. Actually, I may have close to none of the answers. If there’s anything I’ve learned from dating over the years, it’s that dating is complicated. Everyone has their own agenda, and as much as we’d like for every single person to have their dating intentions plastered on their forehead, they just don’t (although fingers crossed for this being a thing one day). The dating game is a learning experience that we’re all trying to figure out. So without further ado, here are seven of my quick lessons for navigating the age of digital dating:
7. Your Gut is a Pretty Good Indicator For Revealing Someone’s Intentions
Every time I’ve been in a situation that turned out sucky, I could have spotted it coming near the start. That undeniable feeling that something is off or that someone isn’t being totally honest is your body’s way of telling you to pause and reassess the situation before diving any deeper. Through our shiny, filtered social media accounts and the limited language of texting, it can be hard to dissect who the person on the other end of your phone screen truly is. But your gut has a way of knowing things before your brain does. Trust it.
6. Some People are just S***ty Texters
I still don’t fully understand this phenomenon given the importance cell phones have in our lives, but it’s true. Some people aren’t looking at their phones 24/7 or haven’t yet mastered proper emoji etiquette. If your love interest is consistently awesome in-person, boring, choppy texts aren’t the end of the world.
5. Inconsistency Will Never Lead to a Safe, Secure Relationship
That being said, it’s not OK for someone to be gaga over you one minute and ice cold the next. In my experience, this person is either playing you or unsure about you. If you’re 100% about your feelings for someone, you should never justify putting up with hot and cold behavior. It can weigh on your psyche over time and honestly, it just ain’t cool.
4. People Will Avoid Difficult Conversations for as Long as They can… When in Doubt, Ask
No one wants to tell you they don’t like you, aren’t interested in the same thing you are, or just generally aren’t feeling your vibes. If you’re confused as hell about a person’s mixed signals (which, as mentioned before, is not a great sign), just ask them how they feel. Literally, verbatim:
“Hey, I noticed you’ve been acting off and being inconsistent with me. Why’s that?”
I know you probably just cringed reading that, but think about it: If this person is really into you, should asking them how they feel about you cause them to dip and run away? No! And if they’re not feeling you, wouldn’t it be easier on everyone to just get the truth out there? Yes! You could move on with your life knowing you were 100% genuine in your intentions and actions, and they could look for someone/something that better suits them. Just be honest – it makes the game a whole lot easier.
3. But Wait The Appropriate Amount of Time
If you’ve been on one date and are demanding someone tell you their true intentions, they’re probably going to think you’re nuts. It takes a decent amount of time for people to feel each other out and see if the relationship has any true potential. Try not to get too caught up in the specific details of a relationship until you’ve been spending questionable amounts of time together. For example: if you’ve both met all of each other’s friends, have a toothbrush at each other’s apartments, and spend more time together in sweatpants than in real clothes, a “What’s going on?” conversation is probably warranted.
2. Dating Apps are Fun, But they’re Not For Everyone
I download and delete dating apps from my phone every now and then. Why? Because sometimes I’m all for meeting new people and putting myself out there. And other times, I’m totally cool with my single life and making myself my number one priority. Being single is more than OK – it can be pretty fun! So don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you or like you’re missing out if you aren’t active on every dating app.
1. Don’t Date for the Sake of Dating
Piggybacking off of tip number two… I’ve seen so many girls fresh out of relationships that go on an immediate quest for Mr. Right. Not only is it highly unlikely that you will find your perfect match fresh out of another relationship, but it’s also very unhealthy. After a breakup, you need to allow yourself adequate time to mourn and move on. If not, you’ll bring a whole mess of problems into your next relationship. Do yourself and your next significant other a favor and wait it out. The dating game isn’t a race, and your time will come when you’re ready and able to give a new relationship the respect and attention it deserves.