It's been a while since I've posted, having spent a few weekends on more leisurely activities (not that I dislike writing, it's just a bit time consuming). I've started dating someone out of town recently and I've been trying to balance time between work, professional development and my own personal life. What's interesting, though, is how I met this person.
I've been focusing a lot on the implications of technological advances in our society - how it has changed social dynamics, interpersonal norms and the very basis of communication in our lifetimes. Technology has created new online-relationships and communities, such as the ever popular EDM (Electronic Dance Music) groups I subscribe to on Facebook, the sub-reddits I follow to find forward-fashion trends and the digital marketing and advertising twitter users I follow for work and professional development. Finally, there's the ever-lucrative online dating world - which brings us back to my newfound relationship.
Yes. We met online. I'm not ashamed, although I might have been a few years ago. Cultural norms are changing as time progresses. No longer having the time to go out and hit on women, and also wanting to meet entirely new people outside of my social circle, I took the plunge and tried a dating service known as Coffee Meets Bagel. Not quite an investment as dating sites like Match.com, nor as sleazy as Tinder, it worked out quite well. Matching you with others who have mutual friends, it wasn't as creepy as meeting a total stranger, but gave you the opportunity to date outside the circle. Best of all, it's free.
Online dating, when it works, is great. I work long hours, have an active social life, do some writing and now teaching regularly at General Assembly. I just don't have the time to meet new people. I've reached a point where I no longer care to make new friends outside of work. Networking for professional reasons is already a process onto itself and my new "less is more" mentality prohibits me from wanting to spend any more time than necessary on such ventures. Maybe one day I'll decide to take a breather and stop my New Yorker mentality of moving forward as rapidly as possible, but, for now, I'm going to need the advantages that online dating provides.
It's the best possible filter you can ever use. It removes the necessities of subtlety. I don't have to worry about how someone feels when I ask how old they are, what they do or what school they went to. Not a fan of Tulane graduates? Just hit pass. With enough background information and some Google searching, you have all the information you need to decide whether or not you even want to be matched. From there, it's all up to the whims of the other sex as they decide the same things. And, quite frankly, if you're not getting matched, maybe it's time to brighten up your photos or use some Photoshop to your advantage. That, or maybe you just need to leave the retail industry and find a real job.
I find myself to be quite witty, intelligent and articulate. I write well, too. These are not traits people admire at nightclubs. It's hard to tell a joke with music blasting, while maintaining a seductively engaging smile at the same time. It just doesn't work that way. I also think I'm quite shy. My friends may disagree, but I assure you, my outward confidence is a well-rehearsed façade. When I write, I think differently and I imagine more creatively. I also articulate far better when given the time to think. Online dating is perfect for guys like me. If you find yourself lacking in things to express, or if you always sound stupid, try thinking beforehand. It'll do wonders for you.
Sure, there are liars out there. People will try to lie their way into meeting you. You can lie too, but it will be a waste of time. If you want to find "the one," tell the truth. You're not going to want to date someone who's interested in a fake version of you. I'd probably gloss over some finer details (remember, never show them your crazy until it's too late for them to back out), but, for the most part, I think it's important to be truthful. It'll also help you to reevaluate yourself and your goals. If you think it's embarrassing to list your daily hobbies, then maybe its' time you find new ones.
It's going to take some time. You're not going to find the perfect person without some experimenting. As a marketer, I do a lot of A/B testing at work. I did on my online profile, too. And finally, don't knock it until you've tried it. It may not be for everyone, but to some people out there, it changed their lives. I think it might have for me too.