I often get asked by my Asian relatives whether I have a boyfriend and if not why not? Is it because I'm too picky or too loud?
My answer has been the same for the past 3 years, a resounding No, I am still single and No I still do not know why I have been single for so long (probably because my eating disorder took up so much energy and most of the activities I committed to were female orientated and individualistic AND the fact I rarely go out out) so yeah that probably explains it.
But most recently, I've had a spur of motivation to get back into the dating game. It is pretty tiring sometimes gets quite boring, having the same conversations with numerous people, having to swipe through people's profiles or to have people not reply to you after several conversations (admittedly I have been guilty of this too). I hate the small talk and the uncertainty of whether I'm just going to have my time wasted. I went on a flurry of dates (literally only a couple with a few people - but this is a lot for me) and was chatting to several people online. It definitely took me out of my normal routine to socialise in the week (definitely an extroverted introvert) and if I'm honest it has been really fun for most of the time and given me and my friends A LOT of entertainment over the last couple of weeks.
So here are 5 things I learnt....
1. App dating is hard
App dating is hard because you're having to make a connection with a stranger and so often I thought it felt a bit forced. You don't have the underlying friendship or solid foundation from which to build anything from and so while some of the dates I've been on have been fun and pleasant, often it's lacked real connection. It's hard to find the balance between going with your gut and giving things time to develop.
2. I compare every prospective date to my closest friends
This is where I think being single for so long has slightly hindered me, I compare all my potential dates to my closest friends, friends who I feel comfortable with and who I can talk to anything about and so the benchmark is set a bit too high. I don't remember what it's like to have those awkward silences or even know what you're supposed to feel in the early stages of dating because I've been single for so long! Probably something to work on then...
3. I am actually quite selfish
As caring as I can be, I've realised that I am also quite selfish. I've gotten so used to my own schedule and my own timetable, selfishly fitting my plans around someone else takes a while to adjust to. I sleep early and wake up early, so late night dates and after work dinners mess with my bed times (I literally have the same bed time as an 10 year old). Changing my schedule is quite a big sacrifice for me as I am just so used to things happening on my own terms with my own company. But for the right person I think I'd definitely be willing to compromise.
4. Games are boring
The whole playing hard to get-esque dating games are so boring. Having to wonder whether someone likes me or wondering why hasn't he text me is just not good enough for me anymore. I've gotten to the stage where although I occasionally overthink and worry, if someone likes me they like me and they are literally not going to give a shit if I put that winky face emoji at the end of my message or not. If they think I text too much or am too 'keen' that's their problem and really not mine.
5. Don't take shit personally
At first, if I didn't get a text back from someone or someone just doesn't seem to be interested, I was personally offended. How dare this person not like me? Why don't they like me? Maybe I'm not attractive enough- all the bullshit pops into my brain. But now I've realised that none of this is personal, it genuinely isn't me it's them (well most of the time...) Someone might not be interested because they've just gotten out of a relationship or they've started going out with one of their best friends, you just do not know what is happening in someone else's life. And again nothing happens TO you it happens FOR you. Every failed date is a funny story or a little lesson.
6. Don't let fear be your guide
Probably the biggest one for me. I have been really hurt in the past and that makes me not really trust people. Boys can be absolute shits sometimes and often I would be thinking about what might happen in the future, getting hurt, being embarrassed and that would stop me from pursuing something. Or I wouldn't want to text them again because that might make me seem to keen. I think just like in anything in life, there's not point acting or not acting from a place of fear. We shouldn't let the fact we might get 'ghosted' or someone might not like us to stop us pursuing someone we like. It might work out or it might not and that's fine, there are PLENTY of fish in the sea (admittedly a lot of them might be fish you really don't want) but STILL there are so many people out there better for us.
The dating game has brought up some really interesting things for me, like the fact my ego likes to be fed (definitely working on this though). It's so interesting how I pine for a text back from someone I don't really want to be involved with but still want him to like me anyway. (WHY?!) Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.... So please excuse me while I crawl back into my little shell, I've used up all my late nights and small talk for a few months.