Online dating: what we’re missing out

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Hello fellow post(during)-covid single darlings!

Don’t worry, we’re all in the same box and I am sure we have all at least once thought of (or even did) enter the mystical and freakin messy world of online dating. We might have thought of going ahead with it for the following reasons:

I’m sure each and one of us downloaded a dating app for at least one reason of the ones mentioned above. (In my case I’ve been through all especially after work when I’m dead tired — yeah. Happens when you love your work so much so you end up overworking)

I’m sure each and one of us has been at least on one horrible date which made us delete our apps and tell ourselves “I’m done with online dating! From today I will become the most sociable creature ever! I will do whatever it takes!”

Yeah. Sometimes one extreme leads us to the other extreme. But after taking some time to reflect on these extremes we do realise what works for us and what doesn’t. Sometimes allowing ourselves to live all our desires helps us to figure out who we are, what suits us and what doesn’t.

And yeah, talking about extremes — the quote above? I said that after a horrible online date.

So what did I do? I went to a bar’s men toilet and ended up socialising there.

Was it extreme? Indeed.

Did I learn a lot about dating from a toilet conversation?

You bet!

After my two extreme interactions I started overanalysing:

And I came up with a major difference between online & offline dating which blew my mind:

The anticipation, the flirting phase, the not-knowing — is completely absent in online dates.

The lady Iadmire with all my heart, Esther Perel, author and psychotherapist — in one of her speeches described that sometimes we take greater pleasure in the anticipation of something happening than the event actually carrying out. Let’s take some examples:

So to come back to the story, I enjoyed the toilet conversation 100x more than my dating app date.

Why?

There was anticipation, no expectation for something to happen and the “I don’t know if you like me but I will keep flirting and see what happens”.

Let’s analyse the “components” of my story:

The Person I spoke to

I can honestly tell that the person I went on a date with was way more physically attractive than the toilet guy. But I truly felt more eros in the toilet convo — I couldn’t even compare the two.

Context

Guy1 — Date guy:

We met after exchanging a few texts on the dating app. When we met we felt more awkward than a fish on dry soil/ Mr. Bean dressed as a Latin dancer at the Rio festival/ A dog who is constipated etc.

We both knew that we “matched” but we met to figure out if we get along — this was a great source of confusion for me as I could already feel the expectation from the other side from me to:

Meeting as a result of an “online match” created an expectation which killed all the interest in me to even be friends with this person. A true friend doesn’t expect you to do things against your will. Would you like a date who is not a true friend? Don’t think so.

Ok, enough said. Let’s get to toilet guy.

Guy2 — toilet guy

I’m quieuing to pee in a gender mixed toilet. I enter, I exit so I end up waiting for my friend. I feel super bored so I make a joke to a guy quieuing about how a toilet is like the Niagara falls. Dad joke. I know. But I loved it! And he laughed so we started chatting about how the pandemic felt for us.

How did I feel? Great! I loved the interaction, I loved the honesty, the genuine aspect of the conversation — I loved how it happened in the most improbable place: a toilet.

Did I feel attraction? Not really, but I enjoyed the flirt!

What do we miss out on in online dates?

The biggest thing I realised was that online dating jumps over possibly the nicest part of relationships:

Online dating jumps over these stages and puts you and a girl/ guy in a box and tells you:

“Great! You like each other’s faces based on the idealised version of yourselves you created on your Bumble account! Now see if you connect on an emotional level - Bye! Me fui”

If you ask me? For me that just doesn’t work.

On dating apps we spend hours to select the perfect image of us — we polish our profiles like it was a dating-CV. We write only the coolest things about ourselves:

But do we ever write something which makes us human?

and so on

Why do we not share these stories?

Because we’re afraid of rejection.

We base our whole dating life on this fear — so we polish our presented personalities online in a way which makes us seem “cool” just to “get the guy”/”get the girl”.

Then when we meet we say “I agree” to everything that our date says — who might actually be Donald Trump and you agree to all the random crap which comes out of their mouth.

We base our happiness on what other people think about us.

Until we get into that fake-forged-relationship and we realise that we lost ourselves.

You lost yourself the moment you polished your dating profile and the moment you filtered what’s right & wrong amongst your feelings.

So you might be asking: What does this have to do with toilet-conversations Hanna?

You know what? We’re the most vulnerable in the moment when we’re human together: in the bathroom, jogging, working together, doing something together. In these moments people can see us in our raw states — there’s nothing polished. Nothing filtered. No expectation.

In my case, the relationships I cherished the most took time, they were a slow climb and they were born out of nowhere.

I wasn’t seeking. I was just living and being my true self. That’s when the right people will love you for you.

Not the Tinder-profile version of you.

Drop the seeking.

Make a joke,

pick up a flower,

enjoy the sun,

and speak to random strangers.

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Hanna

Reflections, psychology, art, UX, UI Design & everything in between. 🌿 www.hazza.design