My first week on this online dating app I find myself a bit overwhelmed. I’m getting a bunch of messages and it dawns on me that behind each of these messages is another human being searching for a connection. I have a brief moment of panic, fast forwarding to the future, into conversations and situations where I have to reject someone or get rejected, decide that this was a bad decision, I can just live on my own forever right? At least I have my cat, that won’t be so bad, will it? It’s better than getting hurt again… Why am I even trying?
And then I take a freaking breath and realise this is only online dating, I CTFD and I’m reminded of the words of Bill Hicks, “Oh sorry, I was taking life seriously”.
I decide to just take it all at my own pace, and try to convince the people-pleasing side of myself that it’s okay, I don’t have to reply to every single message and fix whoever is on the other side. So I do, I go through the messages, read through the profiles (and okay yes, look at the pictures) and start talking to some people.
One guy, let’s call him animallover, seems to tick all the imaginary boxes I have arbitrarily decided I need ticked, and he seems normal so I reply to his message and, as just like that, I have officially started my online dating journey.
We exchange pleasantries, talk about the weather, work, xmas holidays, pets, studying etc. At some point I mention that I have an adopted cat and that I love her to bits. This was enough information for him to come to the conclusion that I “seem like a nice person, if you have heart for animals in my opinion” and then goes on a quick rant about animals are equal to humans and he doesn’t understand people who believe any differently. Which is fine, I’m no PETA protester, but I love animals as much as the next person.
I quickly realise that I’m the only one keeping the conversation flowing… It’s more like an interview than a conversation, where I ask a bunch of questions and he just gives a bunch of answers, perhaps he’s holding his questions till the end? Next minute, he sends me this:
I’d really like to catch up with you, I think we would have a lot to talk about.
Then continues to say that he hates awkward silences and is super shy when meeting new people. So this makes sense, but I am a firm believer in fake it till you make it. I think few people are truly super confident and anxiety-free when it comes to dating, but the thought of spending time with animallover in person – trying to hold the conversation together – fills me with a feeling of dread and I realise that this is probably not going anywhere. I decide to overlook the fact that all his answers are statements and that he asks no questions for now and chalk it up to him being shy and having poor social skills, and I try to continue the conversation a bit longer. But in the end, it’s too painful and I just stop replying. Sorry animallover, I’m sure you’ll find a girl who is happy to be the only one talking, but that girl isn’t me…
I’m sure throughout this process I’ll learn a lot about myself – what I’m willing to deal with, where my boundaries are, what it is I’m actually looking for. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me…