When you decide to make on an online dating profile it's usually for one of three reasons: 1) You're genuinely adventurous and looking to meet someone you wouldn't normally bump into in your everyday circuit, 2) You're bored and or curious to see what's out there to swipe left or right on, 3) You're frustrated enough with your romantic life -or lack thereof- that you're ready to find exactly what you're looking for in 500 characters or less of someone's Tinder bio.
Navigating the upper bracket of dating as a young adult can be interesting, especially as courtship practices evolve with the times. Growing up parallel to the rise of technology, we have the luxury of being able to leapfrog over the mental hurdles of approaching someone we find attractive.
For those of us who struggle with social anxiety, online dating can seem like our best bet in overcoming the obstacles to finding our perfect match. Logging onto Bumble and telling someone we like them from behind a screen and a digital incarnation of our best selves removes a lot of the pressures surrounding first impressions. However, the absence of concern about presentation doesn't magically get rid of all the other social obligations that come with dating apps.
If you have a hard time putting yourself out there and gather up the courage to make a profile on a dating app, just know that was the easy part.
The scariest thing about online dating isn't that you'll get cat-fished or meet a psycho -although those should probably be pretty high on your list of concerns, but that's beside the point right now. The scary part starts right after you've set up your account, you've gone through the app walk-through, and you're set free to start swiping.
Reality sets in and you realize that rejection isn't nearly as nerve-wracking as committing to swiping your finger and letting a real-life person on your screen know that you, another actual person, are interested in them. What if they like you back? How do convey your charm, and sarcasm through monotone text in direct messages? What if you meet up in person and it's just all wrong?
The seemingly low-stakes of dating apps dissipates the moment you remember that it's still real life.
First date jitters and nerves are a thing regardless of if the relationship started as a match on Tinder or in a study group for your philosophy class. It provides a way for you to choose who you think may be a good match for you and go from there. A word of advice to socially anxious introverts looking to branch out is this: do it, and don't panic! Dating apps are still a great way to ease into the dating world, so long as you remember that the end goal is to get out into the world and your find S/O.