Online Dating. Is it just a waste of time?

A few weeks ago, I decided to give online dating another try. My first online dating experience was in 2015, not too long after a  painful breakup with an ex. They say that the best way to get over a man is to get under another one and so I wanted to test the theory.

While I was not looking to get ‘under’ another man, I felt the need to create new experiences and meet new people. I had tried going out with my single girlfriends and partying it up but that didn’t really seem to yield the desired result. I wasn’t meeting the kind of men that I wanted to date or get to know better and I was too shy to chat up the ones that piqued my interest.

Then I discovered Tinder and it seemed like the answer to my dating prayers. I believe everyone has heard of Tinder and, if you haven’t then I don’t  know where you’ve been. Certainly not on this planet!

Tinder is a free dating app that you install on your mobile phone. Swipe left if you’re not interested and swipe right if you are. If someone you like also swipes right on your photo, the app notifies you and you can begin instant messaging. Pretty cool, huh?

I swiped left more times than I swiped right. It was like flipping through the pages of a magazine. I would flip so fast that I would sometimes flip past guys I liked the look of.

When I did swipe right, I matched with some of the best looking candidates on there – because let’s face it, Tinder doesn’t care about your personality, not at first swipe anyway.

Despite these matches, good-looking ones too I might add, I was never asked out on a date. It was like having a million pounds in your bank account and being told that you can never spend it. What’s the point of online dating if you don’t go out on dates? It’s called online dating for a reason, not online chatting. I mean sure you need to get to know the person first, but if you like the look of them and you have good banter it only makes sense that the next step is to meet up.

Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy the experience so much. It felt like a waste of time. I eventually found that sex was the language spoken on Tinder. It’not called the “hookup app” for nothing.  I recall being asked once by a European guy I matched with if I was into “swinging” I shared his ludicrous message with my colleagues at work at the time and we had a laugh about it but most of them were creeped out. I immediately unmatched.

I had some interesting conversations on Tinder but that was about it.  After a month, I was bored of swiping left and right and decided to uninstall the app.  Some people make solid connections on Tinder but it just didn’t seem to work for me.

I’ll stick to meeting people the old-fashioned way, I told myself after my first failed attempt at online dating.

The stigma behind online dating

I can’t speak for the whole world but I know that in developing countries like Nigeria and South Africa, there is some stigma attached to online dating. “Online dating is for socially awkward losers who aren’t comfortable with themselves.” “Online dating is for desperate people”. These are some of the assumptions that people make of online daters.

Couples who may even have met their partners through an online dating site are reluctant to admit as much for fear of judgement. Well, I say screw the judgemental lot. Finding love online is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s the not finding love that you ought to be ashamed of.  I kid! But in all sincerity, I think finding love online is the progressive thing to do.

We’re in a digital age where people shop online, connect with friends and family online, apply for jobs online, why the heck can’t we also find love online?

I’m generally quite reclusive and don’t go out much. A former boss once said to me, “How are you going to meet someone new when you’re always hiding away in your house?” I laughed it off then but she did have a point.

Online dating is for people like me, aka recluse. It is also for people who have a busy schedule and don’t have time for a social life and so on

What I learnt from online dating

Tinder isn’t the only online dating platform that I’ve tried out. My second online dating experience was on Zoosk. Similarly, I was registered on the site for a period of a month. It was a complete and utter waste of my time and money. Zoosk is the first and only online dating platform that I’ve paid to be registered on. There is the option to pay on Tinder as well but I’ve opted for the free version the two times I’ve used the app.

I parted with some Rands on Zoosk and I am somewhat resentful even till this day.  I didn’t connect with anyone I found remotely interesting. It probably did not help that my profile picture on Zoosk was that of a rose, and my username was ‘sweet and sassy’ or that I have high standards.  After my experience on Zoosk, I was scarred and I vowed never to do online dating again.

I reneged on my promise a month ago, when I downloaded the Tinder app again. They say third time is the charm and so I wanted to give this online dating thing another shot. Here are 5 things I learnt from my experience dating online.

  1. Give it a shot

    Don’t try too hard but do put yourself out there a little more than you normally would. Don’t wait for the guy to say hi first, make the first move, be charming. I took my own advice and made the first move with one of my matches. I complimented his style and even though his response was curt, I was not intimidated and turned on the charm even more. My persistence paid off and we ended up having really good conversations. Moral of the story, T-R-Y.

  2. Picture Perfect

    This point should actually come first. Guys are visual creatures so you have to make sure your picture hints at your best asset. On a platform like Tinder where the first picture the guy sees determines if he’ll swipe left or right, you want to make sure you give him room to pause.

    I’ve used 4 different pictures since I’ve been back on Tinder. My first picture which is casual but smiley did the best on Tinder. At some point, I had over 100 likes and each time I swiped right, 8 out of 10 times, it was a match.

My second picture which I thought was a little more spicy and senorita-like wasn’t as popular or well received by the fellas. I guess guys don’t like full frontal, non-smiling pictures because, for this one, I received only about 10 likes. I even got to a point where I was swiping right for people I wasn’t interested in, to the point where I exceeded the number of times I could swipe right in a day. I did this primarily to gauge if I would get more matches if I was less picky.  It didn’t seem to make much of a difference.  No matter how pretty of an image you think it is, at least smize (smile with your eyes).

My third picture was a bit more sexy featuring my best asset – my legs – if I do say so myself. This got more hits than look 2 but less than look 1. My matches of a different race all seemed to want to “hook up”. They weren’t looking for anything meaningful. One guy even went as far as to tell me as much. I unmatched immediately. The black brothers were a lot more subtle about their intentions.

My fourth and last picture was African inspired with Ankara printed neckpieces and head scarf with denim shorts. This also did okay but not as well as my first picture. For this picture, I get an average of 25 likes a day.

3.  Not everyone you match with will want to date you

Not everyone you match or engage with wants to date you.  I think some are bored and looking for female attention. Some also approach these dating sites with caution either because they have been burned or are married which brings me to my next point.

4. Appearances can be deceptive

Brad Pitt’s character in the movie Burn After Reading said this. It was one of the funniest scenes in the movie. It is true, appearances can be deceptive. Your Tinder match may not be who he says he is. If you watch Catfish on MTV, you’ll know what I’m talking about. What’s more, he may even be in a relationship or married with kids. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

5. Mix and mingle IRL

Online dating shouldn’t be your only tool for dating. I can tell you that I’ve never dated someone I met online. Any guy I’ve dated I tend to meet IRL (in real life). So while you may be able to flirt with a stranger from the comfort of your home, it’s probably better to go out there every once in a while and try to mingle. Don’t get me wrong, it works for some but just not for all. It did not work for me at all.

My personal experience has led me to the conclusion that online dating is a waste of time.  Maybe I was too picky, maybe I wasn’t open enough to the experience. I don’t care to delve too deep into the whys. All I know is, I am done with online dating. Waste of time, waste of data.

I can honestly say that I would rather find love the old-fashioned way – by going out and meeting new people. Friends of friends are one of the best ways to meet new people. If you’re serious about meeting “the one”, maybe try online dating but make sure you’re trying out other avenues. Afterall, if you’re looking for your dream job, you won’t just send your CV to one company and hope for the best. You do your research, speak to friends and family members too because if you want the perfect job, you have to explore all your options. I see dating the same way.

I’m all about embracing being single so if there’s anything I want to say to conclude this post, it is that you shouldn’t get bogged down with finding love. Date, don’t date. Be single or married, the most important thing is self-love and acceptance.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share your online dating experience with me in the comment section or on email.

Tinder It’s a Match template courtesy of  Etsy.

Burn After Reading GIF – Pinterest.

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